Asthma is a chronic disease that affects about 20 million Americans. Its primary cause is inflamed airways in the lungs. This inflammation makes the airways smaller, which makes it more difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. Asthma is the most common serious disease among children. Nine million children in the United States have asthma.
Signs that you might have asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
Many people have “allergic asthma,” which means that allergens – like dust mites, mold, animal dander, pollen and cockroaches – make their symptoms worse.
Other things that can affect adult asthma include:
- Pregnancy: Uncontrolled asthma can harm the health of a mother and her baby.
- Work situations: Fumes, gases or dust that are inhaled at work can trigger asthma.
- Age: Older people with asthma face unique health challenges.
- Exercise: Some people may have asthma symptoms when they exercise.
- Medications: Medications like aspirin and ibuprofen, or beta-blockers (used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches or glaucoma), may cause an asthma attack in some adults.
Rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose)
- Itchy nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes and ears
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Seasonal allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) is caused by allergens like mold and pollen.
Some people have symptoms of rhinitis no matter what the season. This is called perennial allergic rhinitis. It’s causes can be animal dander, indoor mold, dust mites and cockroaches.
Sinusitis (painful, long-lasting inflammation of the sinuses)
- Green or gray nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Pressure in the face
- A cough that won’t go away
- Chronic fatigue
Sinusitis is most common in winter. It occurs often after the age of 30. It may last for four months or years if not properly treated. Colds are the most common cause of acute sinusitis, but people who have allergies are much more likely to develop sinusitis than people who do not have allergies.
Allergic Skin Conditions
Types of Skin Conditions:
- Hives and angioedema – red, itchy, raised areas of the skin commonly caused by food or drug triggers.
- Contact dermatitis – rash caused by an irritant touching the skin, itchy, red, blistered
- Eczema – often affecting the face, elbows, and knees – red, scaly, itchy rash
All medication have the potential to cause side effects, but only about 5% to 10% of adverse reactions to drugs are allergic.
- Skin rash or hives
- Itchy skin
- Wheezing or other breathing problems
- Swelling of body parts
- Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction
We also help patients with:
Bee Sting Allergy
People with food allergies have an allergic reaction when they come in contact with certain foods. This happens because their immune system overreacts to the proteins in that food. Twelve million people in the United States have food allergies.
Eight kinds of food cause most food allergies:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
Signs of a food allergy include:
- A rash, or red, itchy skin
- Stuffy or itchy nose, sneezing, or itchy and teary eyes
- Vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea
- Angioedema or swelling
Some people with food allergies can have a serious reaction called anaphylaxis. Signs of this kind of reaction include:
- Hoarseness, throat tightness or a lump in the throat
- Wheezing, chest tightness or trouble breathing
- Tingling in the hands or feet, lips or scalp
If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
These are most common in the early spring, starting as early as February and lasting through the spring season (roughly to May). Common trees in this area include elm, hickory, maple, oak, popular, and pine.
Grass pollen is the dominant summer allergen. Grasses tend to pollinate from May to July. Common grasses in this area include Bermuda, June/Kentucky blue, Johnson, orchard, timothy and ryegrass.
Weeds tend to pollinate last, from late summer to early fall (July to October). Some even pollinate in spring. The most common weeds in this area include ragweed, cocklebur, English plantain, lamb’s quarter, mugwort, pigweed, and sheep sorrel.
-General Pollen Avoidance TIPS-
Watch the pollen counts on the new, paper and Internet (http://www.pollen.com). When they are hight make sure you are on top of your medications, and be aware that you are more likely to have an allergy and/or asthma attack. Try to keep your windows closed, run the air conditioning, and make sure your home air filters have been changed recently. If you have been outdoors, change your clothes and wash your hair at night.
Mold (indoor and outdoor)
Molds are microscpoic fungi related to mushrooms. People can be allergic to their spores. Molds are present year-round, and made worse by weather changes, such as wind, rain and temperature changes. They can be found indoor and outdoor. Common airborne molds include alternaria, cladosporium and aspergillus. HEPA air filters and dehumidifiers can be helpful, as well as making sure that basements are not damp. Use a cleaning solution of 5% bleach and some detergent to clean visible mold.
These are microscopic, insect like creatures that live where ever we do. They like carpet, pillows and mattresses, as well as stuffed animals and sofas. Decrease your exposure by weekly vacuuming and washing your sheets in HOT water, and by placing dust mite covers on your mattress and pillow.
People are allergic to cat saliva (not dander) – since cats clean themselves all day their saliva is on the dander. Cat allergen has been found everywhere, including office buildings and in the carpet of homes without cats. Removing the cat from the home is the most effective step to take. Don’t forget to steam clean carpets afterwards. A HEPA filter in your bedroom and the cat’s favorite sleeping area can help.
Follow the same tips as above for cat allergen.
Keep the kitchen counters and floors clear of food and remove garbage promptly. Block areas where roaches can enter the home – doors, windows and cracks/crevices.
Allergy and Asthma Videos
AAAAI experts talk about what they would do if faced with a particular medical problem. Watch these videos from Insider Medicine and get tips on how to better manage your allergies and asthma.