When you have been diagnosed with asthma, it can be difficult to tell the difference between allergies and asthma. They share similar triggers, so let’s take a look at the connections between the two.
Learning the Difference Between Allergies and Asthma Symptoms
Allergies and asthma can both be caused by external disturbances such as pollen, dust, pet hair, and other airborne pollutants. However, while the causes might be similar, the symptoms usually look different.
Standard allergies usually showcase themselves through sneezing, itching, sinus problems, coughing, or watery eyes. In other words, most of the symptoms start in the head. On the other hand, asthma begins at the lungs, so exterior allergens will cause difficulty breathing.
An important thing to note is that a stuffy nose will make it difficult to breathe. However, difficulty breathing through your nose is usually an allergy problem, while difficulty filling your lungs with air indicates asthma.
Depending on the type of allergy, symptoms can also include rashes, swelling, nausea, or even seizures.
Can Allergies Turn Into Asthma?
The question is not necessarily, “Can allergies turn into asthma?” but rather, “Can asthma be caused by allergies?” The answer is yes. Although mere allergic symptoms will not “turn into asthma,” many people suffer from a common disease called “allergic asthma.” Allergic asthma is simply asthma that is triggered by skin or food allergies.
If you aren’t sure which one you suffer from, refer to the symptoms above. Remember, asthma is always a lung problem.
What to Do During an Allergic Reaction
Since asthma and allergies are not the same things, it is important that you understand how to handle both reactions. The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor and determine your symptoms, triggers, and level of severity. If your symptoms are fairly non-aggressive, over-the-counter allergy medicine will usually work fine. However, if your symptoms are severe or even deadly, you must have prescribed medication and a plan for handling allergic reactions. If you aren’t sure what triggers your allergies, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Attacking Your Asthma
Basic allergens are not the only asthma triggers out there. Other things, such as exercise, cigarette smoke, stressful situations, and panic attacks, can trigger your asthma. To combat asthma triggers, it is important that you and your doctor work together to develop an asthma action plan. Knowing exactly what medication to take and how to track your symptoms will help you respond to frightening situations quickly.
Common Questions About Allergies & Asthma
1. Can allergies trigger asthma?
Allergies and asthma have many of the same symptoms and triggers. Pollen, dust, and dander can cause coughing, sneezing, and overall breathing difficulties for both asthmatics and those with allergies. Plus, there are people who have allergic asthma, which is when the skin or food allergies cause asthma symptoms.
2. How can asthma allergies be prevented?
A person with asthma allergies must be aware of what triggers their symptoms so they can proactively prevent asthma or allergy attacks. Some of the best tips to control asthmatic allergies are:
- Staying indoors when pollen and ozone counts are high
- Filtering indoor air
- Refraining from exercising in cold weather
- Avoiding strongly scented products
- Limiting exposure to dust and dander
3. Do I have asthma or allergies?
While asthma and allergies do have some similarities, they are different and require different treatments, so it is best to have a doctor diagnose whether a person has asthma or allergies. Some of the basic symptoms of allergies are itchy eyes or nose, hives, and/or cough.
4. How do they test for Allergy Asthma?
To determine if a person has Allergy Asthma, a doctor will need to know the patient’s medical history and perform a physical exam. The doctor may also test for asthma by using a spirometer, a challenge test, a lung test, or a nitric oxide test.
5. Do inhalers help with allergies?
An inhaler can help those who have allergy asthma. These inhalers may be prescribed for daily use or for emergency use when symptoms arise.