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Controlling your Asthma During Allergy Season

You’ve got enough on your plate dealing with asthma, so when allergies flare up, the extra respiratory distress is unwelcome. Yet, sometimes it seems that an asthma attack follows closely after you suffer an allergic response. It’s not an unhappy coincidence, it’s a condition called allergy-induced asthma, which affects about 60% of people with asthma.

Dr. Betsy Horton and the team at Alpha Internal Medicine are asthma specialists, so when you have trouble with the combination of allergies and asthma, it’s a good time to plan a visit to explore your treatment options. Since many substances that create allergic responses can also serve as asthma triggers, understanding each reaction is helpful.

Allergic responses

Based on an overreaction of your immune system, allergies happen when antibodies overreact to normally harmless substances. Ragweed pollen, for example, does nothing to people without sensitivity. If you’re allergic, antibodies bind to the pollen and start a chain reaction that creates allergy symptoms like congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes, issues affecting your upper respiratory system.  

Asthma triggers

When pollen also serves to trigger an asthma response, your lower respiratory system, particularly your lungs, can also make breathing difficult. Your airways swell and narrow while also overproducing mucus. The wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath that’s typical of asthma soon follows.

Pollen isn’t the only airborne irritant that can trigger both allergies and asthma. Common allergens include:

Controlling asthma during allergy season

Allergy-induced asthma can be controlled with a wide range of treatments, though it may take some trial and error to discover the most effective solution for you. Below are some of the common approaches to treatment.

Rescue inhalers

Also called short-acting bronchodilators, this type of inhaler is typically the first prescribed to newly diagnosed asthmatics. The medications open your airways quickly and usually last about four to six hours.

Corticosteroids

Dependence on a rescue inhaler shows that your asthma is still out of control. Inhaled corticosteroids help get your lung performance under control. Usually a once-a-day routine, delivered through a portable device, corticosteroids help minimize inflammation within your lungs. Corticosteroids are also available in oral form, though there are some limitations on their use due to systemic side effects.

Long-acting bronchodilators

These inhalers work alongside inhaled corticosteroids, never as asthma solutions on their own. Effects last 12 hours, and you use these regularly, twice a day. This is another asthma control option that keeps lung function on a steady level, making it easier to ride out the occasional bouts of allergy-induced asthma.

Allergy shots

When you can’t avoid allergy and asthma triggers, immunotherapy may help reduce your allergic reaction to those triggers. Allergy shots present you with a controlled dose of substances that create an allergic response. Over time, this can reduce the intensity of your allergic reaction.

Treating any form of asthma can take time and patience. There are also treatments to reduce the effects of non-allergic asthma triggers, so the right combination of therapy is key for effective control. 

The team at Alpha Internal Medicine is ready to help you. Contact their office at 770-719-5490 or through the appointment request app on this webpage. Dr. Horton and her team will have you breathing easier in no time. 

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