May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month. It’s peak season for people with asthma and allergies. Therefore, it is the ideal time to educate our patients about these diseases.
Asthma and Allergies Awareness
Approximately 25 million people in the U.S. have asthma. Almost 7 million of these are children. In 2010, almost 13 million individuals reported having an asthma attack.
Taking action early, which in many cases may be preventative action, can improve the quality of life of asthma and allergy sufferers. In addition, you can reduce time and money spent on medical intervention.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in your airways, which can make it difficult to breathe.
Common triggers for asthma include the following:
- dust mites
- extreme weather changes
What Are Allergies?
Allergies occur when your body’s immune system sees a substance (allergens) as harmful and overreacts to it. Allergens can include the following:
- drugs (medicine)
- insects that sting (e.g., bees, wasps) or bite (e.g., ticks, mosquitoes)
- household pests (e.g., cockroaches, dust mites)
- pets (e.g., dogs, cats)
Signs and Symptoms of Asthma and Allergies
Symptoms of asthma include the following:
- shortness of breath
- tightness in the chest
Severe asthma symptoms can be with itching of the eyes and face, but soon progress to swelling. This can cause breathing difficulties, cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Further symptoms of asthma include confusion and dizziness.
Symptoms of allergies can vary in severity and include the following:
- skin rash
- itchy and watery eyes
- difficulty in breathing
Treatment for Allergies and Asthma
If you suspect you may have allergies, contact your doctor here at Brashear Family Medical. We will perform tests to identify your allergens. Then, we can utilize immunotherapy for allergies and asthma.
Immunotherapy for Allergies and Asthma
Immunotherapy is a treatment to train your immune system not to overreact. This is typically the course of action we take for environmental allergens such as pollen.
The most common and most effective form of immunotherapy is allergy shots. This is the only treatment available that actually changes the immune system, which makes it possible to prevent the development of new allergies and asthma.
Allergy tablets are another form of immunotherapy. These offer a way to treat certain allergies without shots. Similar to shots, tablets reduce symptoms of allergies by helping the body build resistance to the effects of an allergy. However, tablets only treat one type of allergy and don’t prevent the development of new allergies and asthma.
For more information about immunotherapy for allergies and asthma, contact us here at Brashear Family Medical with the link below!