For people who have both allergies and asthma, the two conditions are often closely linked. In this post, we review the nature of this connection as well as the benefits of undergoing allergy testing.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies describe the body’s response to allergens, which are normally-harmless substances that the immune system overreacts to. During an allergic reaction, the immune system produces antibodies known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which tells the cells to release the chemical histamine. Histamine causes inflammation and increased mucus production.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung condition characterized by symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest pain and cough. Triggers can cause a person’s airways to swell and produce extra mucus. This condition is managed with inhalers and steroids.
How Are Allergies & Asthma Linked?
Symptoms of both allergies and asthma may be triggered by exposure to allergens. This is known as allergic asthma.
How Can Allergy Tests Help?
If you have allergic asthma or suspect you might, there are many benefits to getting an allergy test.
What Allergy Tests Look For
Allergy tests look for the presence of IgE in the body and can determine what allergens, if any, trigger the production of IgE. For people with asthma, testing will usually look for IgE in response to inhaled allergens such as animal dander, mold and dust mites.
How Allergy Test Results Are Used
Allergy test results, in conjunction with records of asthma symptoms, may be used to diagnose allergic asthma.
If you test positive for a particular allergen, you should try to practice avoidance of that substance. For example, if you’re allergic to pollen, you should avoid Newberry city parks during peak pollen times. If you’re allergic to pet dander, you should bathe your pets weekly and keep them out of your bedroom.
If practicing avoidance is not effective, talk to an allergist about your options. They may recommend a combination of medications and immunotherapy.
When & Why Are Allergy Tests Recommended?
Allergy tests are recommended for anybody with persistent or intermittent asthma.
Allergen-specific exposure reduction recommendations are an essential part of childhood asthma management. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Carolina Pines ENT today.