Community Pediatric Asthma Service

Allergies

Asthma and Allergies

Many people who have asthma also have allergies. Allergies can make asthma symptoms worse and cause asthma to be uncontrolled.  Poorly controlled hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis)
can worsen asthma symptoms.

It is very important to carefully identify
and avoid those things you are allergic to.


  1. Can asthma make my allergies worse?

    Definitely! If you are continuously exposed to one of your allergic triggers, your asthma will be more severe, and you will likely require more medicine to control your symptoms. Many people who are exposed to a pet or other allergen continuously will not experience the immediate symptoms (for example hay fever, wheeze), but this does not mean that they are not allergic. This is because constant exposure will contribute to inflammation in the airways of your lungs, and inflammation causes asthma symptoms. This constant exposure also makes it more likely for you to experience more severe symptoms when you are exposed to other triggers (an additive effect). Intermittent exposure to allergic triggers can cause immediate, and occasionally severe asthma symptoms. All allergic triggers that have been identified should be avoided so that your asthma is milder and easier to control on less medicine.

  2. Can certain foods trigger my asthma?

    You bet. Someone who has an allergy to a food (including dairy products), and also has asthma, can develop immediate worsening of asthma symptoms during an allergic reaction to that food. On the other hand, it would be extremely unlikely for food allergies to cause chronic or persistent asthma symptoms. An assessment by a trained allergist is necessary to confirm or rule out any concerns about allergy triggers, including food allergy. A food allergy can be life-threatening (anaphylaxis). An anaphylactic reaction that triggers asthma can be fatal. It is important to talk to an allergist and understand what might trigger anaphylaxis and what to do in case of a reaction.

  3. What is allergy testing?

    Allergy testing is used to identify allergic triggers that may be worsening allergic conditions including asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. Once allergic triggers are identified, steps can be taken to reduce exposure, and help to reduce the severity of symptoms. Most allergists will use a prick skin test to identify allergic triggers, a procedure in which a small drop of allergenic extract is placed on the forearm or back, and the surface of the skin is pricked through the drop. A small hive (a swelling) will appear at the site of a positive test within twenty minutes.

  4. Is eczema an allergy?

    Eczema causes patches of skin to become rough and inflamed. The patches of skin are often itchy and can form small blisters that weep fluid or bleed. Eczema can be an allergic reaction and is common in people with asthma.



What is Allergic Rhinitis?

About 85% of children with asthma also have hay fever. Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis.  Allergic rhinitis causes a swelling in the nose, usually making your nose itch and run. This may happen when you are around dogs, cats, pollen, mold, or dust. It is important to recognize your symptoms and then discuss these with your doctor. 

Do you have these symptoms? 

  • Watery runny nose
  • Nasal obstruction  
  • Sneezing (especially harsh and in a series)
  • Itchy nose
  • Water, red itchy eyes 

More Information:  Don't Forget the NoseRhinitis Options

Asthma and Anaphylaxis

Some children are allergic to certain foods, medicines, insect bites/stings, latex and sometimes even exercise. If they come in contact with these things, they develop the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction. If the symptoms are severe enough, the reaction is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can cause death and must be treated quickly.  Be prepared, download the Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan.

More information: Asthma and Anaphylaxis
 

 


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Material on this website has been designed for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.