Having allergies with asthma is a very common and unfavourable combination. Allergic asthma (asthma attacks caused by exposure to allergens) is the most common type of asthma in children, and accounts for about half of asthma cases in adults. These can happen with a large number of allergies that are usually harmless on their own. Even seasonal allergies like hay fever. But unfortunately it extends beyond the itchy eyes and throat, and goes into wheezing and having trouble breathing.
There are the common allergens that you’re likely to expect that cause allergic asthma: dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, etc. Then there are also triggers that can make allergic asthma worse or cause an asthma attack even without there being an allergic reaction first. Some are actually quite unexpected. They can include cold air, exercise, perfume and fireworks, which can make it seem fairly difficult to avoid.
However, there are steps you can take to avoid breathing in the allergens. These include:
- When pollen counts are high, stay inside as much as you can and keep your windows closed.
- Reduce the amount of dust mites in your home by washing your bedding regularly with hot water, removing items where dust can gather like wall to wall carpeting and heavy curtains.
- Slow down the growth of moulds, dust mites and cockroaches by drying out the air. Keep the moisture below 40% using a dehumidifier.
- Check for pet allergies and rehome your pets if necessary.
- Prevent the inhalation of pollen and mould while outside by wearing a mask and being careful when doing work outside.
If you think you might have asthma, contact your doctor or call 111 right away. There are many things that mimic the symptoms of an asthma attack, including panic attacks, so it’s important to be safe.
Keep reading to find out the answers to patients’ most frequently asked questions about allergic asthma.