Does your child start coughing and wheezing after running around at Gully Water Splash park? If so, you may be wondering whether they’re exhibiting symptoms of allergies or asthma. Below we review the difference between the two conditions, discuss how they’re related and describe how to tell the difference.
Allergies in Children
Allergies are the result of the immune system overreacting to a normally-harmless foreign substance known as an allergen. When an allergen comes into contact with your body, the immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which causes your cells to release histamine. This chemical is responsible for symptoms such as:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Sinus pain/pressure
- Runny nose
Asthma in Children
Rather than having to do with the immune system, asthma in children involves swelling and inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are the passageways for air to enter the lungs. Signs of an asthma attack, which is one of the leading causes of emergency room trips for children, include:
- Fast, noisy breathing
- Tightness in chest
Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Asthma
Asthma may be intrinsic (non-allergic) or extrinsic (allergic).
Intrinsic asthma can have a wide range of triggers, including respiratory infections, exercise, smoke exposure and stress.
Extrinsic asthma, also known as allergy-induced asthma, is triggered by exposure to allergens. Extrinsic asthma attacks are more common in the spring, summer and fall when there is pollen in the air, though they may occur any time of year.
How to Tell the Difference Between Allergies & Asthma
You may be able to tell whether your child is suffering from allergies or asthma based on what other symptoms they’re exhibiting. However, it could be the case that your child has both at the same time.
Bring your child to Carolina Pines ENT for an official diagnosis. Our allergy and asthma experts can make a diagnosis based on type, severity and frequency of symptoms, medical history and family history. Then they will work with you to develop a treatment plan. For more information about allergies and asthma in children or to schedule an appointment, call Carolina Pines ENT today.