Asthma and Allergies
OverviewAsthma and allergies are common respiratory conditions that continue to affect millions each year. Asthma and allergies are among the most annoying and even disabling common health problems. About 36 million Americans suffer from some kind of allergy, and about 20 million people have asthma.
Asthma is a reaction, usually allergic, characterized by attacks of wheezing and difficult breathing, particularly exhaling. Asthma attacks are brought on by muscular spasm of the passages conveying air to and within the lungs (bronchi). The mucus membranes that line the respiratory passageways may become irritated and secrete massive amounts of mucus which narrows the airways and worsens the asthma attack.
Most asthmatics have allergies to foods, especially milk & dairy, food additives or airborne substances such as dust, pollen and moulds. If you are suffering from allergic asthma, your airways are more sensitive to definite allergens. Onece they enter your body, your immune system starts to overreact. The muscles that surround your airways tighten. The airways get inflamed and over time are flooded with thick mucus.
Asthma SymptomsMost people are well aware of the symptoms of asthma - a wheeze and/or cough accompanied by varying degrees of breathing difficulty. Sometimes, particularly in very young children, there is no audible wheeze just a nagging but exhausting cough. Some children will cough so much that it causes them to vomit. It's important to note that a wheeze doesn't have to be loud to be a problem. Tiredness is also often an underlying symptom - this is caused by reduced oxygen levels and the extra effort needed in trying to breathe, which can also lead to poor sleep. The most common syptoms are:
- Tight chest
- Short of breath
- Quick breathing
Allergens & TriggersSome asthma triggers include:
- Dust, pollen, dry air, air pollution, mould, pets, exercise and weather change
- House air-conditioning, household chemicals, colds & flus, emotions, food, heating, hormones, medications, sex, smoking and stressful events
- Preservatives, especially 220, 221, 222, 223 and 224, food colourings, especially E102 Tartrazine and other food additives
Controlling AsthmaSo what can we do about it or how we can deal with it? Even with all of the latest technologies and advancement in science and medicine, there is still no perfect cure for either. However, here are some effective steps you can take to minimize the disruption that these conditions can cause. Treating asthma it's not merely about using a band-aid solution and ignoring the basic problem. It's about finding out why your body is generating a response and how to stay away from this happening in the first place. It is a general delusion that this problem begins and ends with the lungs only. The health of the body in general, and in particular the immune system, needs to be looked at as the first step in considerate the real nature of asthma.
Tips to Control Allergens that cause Asthma
- Stay inside while pollen counts are high. Maintain the windows closed. If it's warm, use an air conditioner with a smooth air filter out. Do not use an antique air conditioner if it smells musty or mouldy. Don't use an evaporative cooler
- Keep away from dust and dust mites. These microscopic critters stay in fabrics and carpets. Wrap your pillows, mattress, and container spring in allergen-proof covers. Wash your sheets and other bedding once a week in warm water. Remove wall-to-wall carpeting if you can. Cast off regions wherein dirt can gather, like heavy curtains, upholstered furniture, and lumps of apparel. In case your infant has allergic allergies, purchase washer-friendly stuffed toys.
- Manage indoor humidity. Take a look at it with a less expensive meter. If moisture is above 40% in your home, use a dehumidifier. This will dry out the air and slow the growth of moulds, cockroaches and dust mites. Get a pro in to restore any plumbing or roof leaks.
- Check for allergies to pets if you have any. There are no hypo-allergenic cats or puppies. Dusts or sprays that declare to reduce puppy allergens aren't established powerful.
- Keep your kitchen and toilet dry to reduce moulds and cockroaches. If you're allergic to cockroaches or coclrach dust and see signs of them in your home, contact an exterminator to control the pest. Keep you kitchen and make sure there's no food or water for them.
- Be careful when you work outside. Gardening and raking can stir up pollens and mould. Wear a HEPA filter mask while outside to reduce the amount of pollen and mold particles that get into your lungs.
TreatmentTaking steps to control allergens is the best way to reduce your signs and symptoms. However, you may still need pharmaceutical drugs to deal with attacks.
There are numerous correct treatments, but many require a prescription. Those medicines enclude inhaled steroids, which fight irritation, and bronchodilators, which open up your airways. If conventional treatments don't help, Xolair, an injectable medication that reduces IgE tiers may help.