Allergies and asthma are like two peas in a pod, they go hand in hand with each other. They affect both the young and the old alike and for about 90% of asthmatic patients, allergens are the triggers of an asthma attack.
How do allergies and asthma relate?
Allergens are external agents that, when come in contact with certain receptors in your body, cause an immune response. This response is caused because your body thinks of the allergen as an antigen (harmful protein) by the immune system. This results in inflammation of the organ involved. Although allergies are common in many individuals, in some extreme cases they lead to an anaphylactic shock. At this stage the life of the individual is put at risk.
For asthma patients, the receptors are usually found in the airway tract. So when the allergen finds its way into the respiratory tract, either due to inhaling or swallowing, it results an immune response against it. The responses are usually inflammation of airway, and tightening of the muscles. Mucus is also secreted, and this causes difficulty breathing and results in short breaths. The severity of the response usually depends on the individual, and the quantity of allergen that was inhaled.
The most common symptoms of an asthma attack include the following: wheezing, short breaths, coughing and chest tightness.
Some of the most common food allergens are: peanuts, milk, egg, cheese, fish, wheat, and soy.
Other environmental allergens include (thought not limited to) the following: grass and tree pollen, mold, dust, cat and dog dander, dust mites, chemical irritants and perfumes. Different people will respond to allergens differently.
Asthmatic patients are more prone to suffer from allergies and asthma in the spring, when compared to winter. Why? Springtime creates such a plethora of pollen. Pollen is such a common allergen and with so much in the air, asthmatics can have a very difficult time getting through the season.
Sneezing and coughing may not only have the symptoms of an allergy, but also the cause of an asthma attack. While you are sneezing and coughing, your airway becomes more sensitive towards allergens and thus can result in an attack.
How to reduce allergies and asthma?
1. Carpets, mats, bed covers, sofas etc. are a main reason source allergies and asthma inside the house. They all hole a lot of dust that can accumulate in a short period of time. So regular cleaning of these home furnishings can help to prevent the attacks. It is better if you can have laminate, or wood flooring instead of carpet. The does can not accumulate as easily.
2. A dust mask can be very beneficial to have on hand. Use this either while cleaning or moving through any dusty places. You can also use if when you are outside and the pollen count is high.
3. Remove any allergens like pollens, dusts etc. you may have on your body and hair by taking a shower before you go to sleep.
4. Use air purifiers inside your house. This helps to clean the air inside your home.
5. Keep your windows closed and use the air conditioning or heat instead whenever possible. Be sure your ducts are clean.
6. Molds (fungi) are easily formed in bathrooms and kitchens or any damp and humid places like carpets, curtains, mats etc. So clean them regularly also.
Have your asthma medications (inhalers or pills) with you all the time.
Through proper precautions and medication, allergies and asthma can be entirely controlled. So the best way to do that effectively is to identify all your triggers and try to stay as far away from them as possible.