DOCCS
Asthma Allergy

Asthma Allergy

An allergy is a disorder of the immune system.  It is a reaction that occurs when an allergen, something in the nearby environment, reacts with the patient’s immune system to cause symptoms.

Disease Overview:

The immune system plays a very important role in protecting the body against various diseases; however when this protection mechanism over-reacts to a normal environmental allergen it can produce an allergic reaction, otherwise known as an allergy.  The normal environmental allergen in this case causes production of mast cells and release of histamine, two important immune-system components.  Release of large quantities of histamine can lead to tissue swelling, inflammation, redness, tearing, and itching.  While these responses are usually mild, some patients with overly sensitive immune systems may experience more severe symptoms, and may have trouble getting rid of their symptoms.  Watery, itchy eyes, cough, redness, itchy skin, and even fatigue may all be due to moderate to severe allergies, and can greatly reduce quality of life.

Allergic Asthma:

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that is defined by wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.   Many times asthma is triggered by a reaction or sensitivity to an environmental allergen.  In this case, the immune cells lining patient’s airways are overly sensitive to dust, cigarette smoke, cold air, pollens, animal hair, and/or other small particles in the environment.   Any of these substances may trigger an immune response in a patient’s lungs, resulting in airway inflammation and an episode of asthma.

Symptoms:

The allergic asthma is characterized by following symptoms,

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest tightness

Allergens Which Triggers the Allergic Asthma:

  • Pollen is one of the most important trigger to stimulate allergic asthma.  During pollen-rich seasons, sensitive patients are instructed to be vigilant and prepared for a possible episode of asthma.
  • Mild spores
  • Animal dander
  • Dust
  • Carpet
  • Certain cleaning products

Role of Health Professional in case of Asthma and Allergic Condition:

  • The health professional plays a very important role to provide you detailed instructions about seasonal allergies, and the factors that trigger these allergies.  With a physician’s help you can be aware of all allergens that trigger your symptoms, and how to reduce your exposure to them.
  • Your health professional can also provide you a detailed guideline of how to manage yourself in case of minor allergy or asthma attack, and what to do in case a more severe experience occurs.  If you do experience chest tightness, shortness of breath, and/or wheezing, you should always go to the emergency room unless you have been otherwise instructed by a health professional.
  • In order to receive the best care, it is helpful to bring an allergy journal to your physician’s office—record the times of day, times of year, places, etc which you think may be linked to your allergy or asthma experience, what you were doing when you experienced a reaction, and how that reaction went away.  If you do not yet have a record, don’t worry.  Your physician can assist you in getting started.