Allergies and Asthma: Breathing Easy

Allergies and Asthma: Breathing Easy

 An asthma attack feels different from an allergic reaction, and both can be frustrating to endure. Equally frustrating is that allergies and asthma often have similar triggers, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. 

Until something triggers an attack, asthma often doesn’t feel like anything. It can be difficult to detect asthma when no triggers are present. An asthma attack often causes the following symptoms: 

  • chest tightness 
  • coughing and wheezing
  • difficulty breathing 
  • shortness of breath

Allergic reactions can have similar symptoms, but there are often other signs as well, such as: 

  • dry, sore or itchy throat
  • itchy or stuffy nose 
  • red, swollen or watery eyes 
  • sneezing

How Asthma and Allergies Are Connected

It’s possible to have allergies if you have asthma; in fact, it’s very common. Pollen is a common trigger for both conditions. In people with asthma and allergies, pollen can exacerbate asthmatic symptoms and potentially cause an asthma attack. 

With that in mind, not everyone with asthma will have allergies, and not everyone with allergies will have asthma. It’s important to work closely with a primary care provider to distinguish your symptoms and make a plan for effective treatment options. 

Asthma vs. Allergic Asthma: What’s the Difference? 

The main difference between asthma and allergic asthma is the cause of symptoms. Asthma can be triggered by a lot of things, including exercise, stress, and infections like the flu. But when asthma triggers include common allergens, such as pollen, dust or dander, it’s considered allergic asthma. 

How to Manage Allergies and Asthma

Whether you’re struggling with asthma, allergies or both, the best way to alleviate your symptoms is to avoid allergens and asthma triggers. If pollen triggers your asthma or allergies, here are some ways you can avoid reactions during spring allergy season. 

  • Cut your grass short. 
  • Don’t dry clothes outdoors, if possible; pollen can stick to them while they’re hanging on the line. 
  • Keep windows closed throughout the day to prevent pollen from entering your home. 
  • Monitor pollen counts and stay indoors whenever possible on higher pollen count days. 
  • Take a shower and wash your hair after going outside to rinse off any remaining pollen. 
  • Work with a primary care provider to figure out if additional allergy medication is necessary, or if you need to update your asthma action plan.  

Our primary care providers are here to address your concerns. Learn more about our available services or schedule an appointment today.