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Asthma and Allergies: How Are They Connected?

Asthma and Allergies

Asthma and allergies are two of the most common chronic diseases, and what people may not realize is that there is a link between the two. Besides making you miserable, the two have a lot in common. Once you know what that link is, you may be able to limit your exposure to the triggers that cause your symptoms to flare up.

Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

While both asthma and allergies cause symptoms like coughing and congestion, they also each have their own symptoms.

Allergies are likely to cause:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Rashes and hives
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Itchy throat

These are symptoms that are not usually associated with asthma. Asthma symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Being out of breath
  • Tightness of chest
  • Late night and early morning coughing.

How One Affects the Other

Allergies can worsen asthma or trigger it. Many of the triggers that cause allergies to flare up, also affect people with asthma. When someone who has asthma comes in contact with allergens such as pollen or pet dandruff it can cause them to have an asthmatic reaction. Asthma can have many different types of triggers such as exercise or infections, however allergic asthma (as it is commonly referred to) is generally onset by exposure to elements that the body is going to produce antibodies to protect you from.

Treatment

While asthma and allergies have a lot in common and are commonly associated with one another, they are rarely treated the same. However, since your body’s reaction to allergens can cause an asthmatic reaction, medication for allergies can help prevent that asthmatic reaction. For example, getting an allergy shot would allow your immune system to build up a tolerance to the allergens, decreasing the amount of allergic reactions you have. This will also decrease your asthma symptoms.

A huge factor in whether or not someone has allergies or asthma is their family history. If you have a family history of asthma or allergies, you are much more likely to also have it.

The best thing you can do is pay attention to what triggers your allergies and/or asthma, so you can limit your exposure to those triggers. You may not realize that your allergy is contributing to your asthmatic condition and vice versa, treating one may help eliminate or lessen the other.  It’s important to stay informed and feel comfortable consulting your physician so you can get both under control.

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