Seasonal allergies are very common and are becoming more common every year. Current estimates show that up to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children suffer from the condition, and over a third of those who suffer with allergies also have asthma. These numbers are stunning, especially when one considers that asthma can be made worse by allergy attacks.
Seasonal allergies are usually experienced at the changing of the seasons, most often in the spring and fall. The condition is colloquially referred to as “hay fever,” even though it usually does not carry a fever. The name comes from the hay harvesting season during which the condition is worst.
These allergies cause the body to produce histamine which creates symptoms similar to those of the common cold: sneezing, coughing, runny nose, sinus pressure, watery eyes and the like. While allergy symptoms are generally milder than those of a cold, they can create problems with fatigue and breathing.
When we breathe, air passes through our nose and airways into the bronchial tubes, where air sacs deliver oxygen to the blood and help to expel carbon dioxide. When an asthma attack occurs, these airways become swollen and inflamed. This causes them to tighten and produce mucus that makes it hard to breathe.
Allergies cause irritation to the breathing passages, creating extra inflammation that can make asthma attacks even worse than normal. Those who have allergies and asthma find that at certain times of the year, the illness can become even worse, to the point where it can become dangerous.
For many, lifestyle changes are necessary to address the issue. Since allergies are caused by grass, plants, pollen and other outdoor environmental factors, it is important to avoid triggers at this time of the year. Keep the doors and windows to your home and car closed. On days where the pollen count is high (air quality action days), avoid going outside as much as possible. If you have to go out, make sure you shower and change clothes when you come back indoors.
Of course, seeing a doctor is an essential part of treating both asthma and allergies. A doctor can diagnose and address the condition, advising the patient on antihistamines to control allergy symptoms which will not react badly with asthma medication.
While allergies can often be treated with over-the-counter medications, remember that mixing meds is rarely a wise idea. In fact, mixing medications can cause sometimes deadly complications. Only a qualified Atlanta ENT doctor can advise or prescribe medications to treat both asthma and allergies which will cooperate and not worsen problems.
If you suffer from both asthma and allergies, never try to treat the conditions yourself with over the counter medications. Always get a consultation from your doctor to be sure that the medications you take will help, rather than hurt, your condition. If you suffer from these problems, check out our allergies page and give us a call for a consult