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May: National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

UnknownIn the last blog we sent out, we wanted to highlight some of the health issues for the month of May.  This week’s highlights are asthma and allergies.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is characterized as the inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes.

Sometimes asthma symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with asthma medicine. Other times, symptoms continue to get worse.

When symptoms get more intense and/or more symptoms occur, you’re having an asthma attack. Asthma attacks also are called flareups or exacerbations (eg-zas-er-BA-shuns).

Treating symptoms when you first notice them is important. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.

People who have asthma experience symptoms such as intense coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, pain or pressure but the symptoms vary for with every person.

What are Allergies?

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself.

Normally, the immune system would only react if a harmful substance, such as bacteria, attacks the body. For people with allergies, their immune systems are working too hard and react even when relatively harmless substances, such as pollen, are present. The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life threatening situations.

Allergens can stimulate an immune response when you breathe in or touch the allergen, or by ingestion of food or beverage, or from injections of medication.

Common allergies include eczema, hives, hay fever, and asthma. You can get an allergic reactions from food, pet dander, airborne pollen, and the venom of stinging insects, such as wasps and bees.

When you have an allergic reaction there may be a combination of the following allergy symptoms:

  • sneezing
  • wheezing
  • nasal congestion
  • coughing
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • runny nose
  • itchy throat
  • stomach ache
  • itchy skin
  • hives
  • fatigue
  • irritability

Weather plays an important part for many allergy sufferers.

How to Prevent Asthma or Allergies

The best way to prevent an asthma episode, or attack, is to follow your treatment plan. Learn your triggers and avoid them. Take your allergy and asthma medicines when you should. Use your quick-acting medicine as soon as you start to notice symptoms.

Many people live normal lives with asthma if it’s properly managed. With a good treatment plan and guidance from your doctor, you can still do much of what you enjoy. For example, many professional athletes have asthma.

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid your allergens. It sounds so easy, but you can’t always avoid them. For example, it’s not possible to avoid all outdoor activities if you’re allergic to bees and wasps. But there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of being stung and you can carry the medicine you will need if you are stung. It is important to prepare and have an allergy action plan.

Don’t let allergies interfere with your day-to-day activities at home, work or school.  You can live a normal life despite having allergies. See your allergist for treatment and guidance. Take steps to avoid your allergens. Keep medicine with you at all times so you can treat an allergic reaction. Use our tips to help you manage your daily life with allergies.

For more information about asthma and allergies visit these websites:

http://www.aafa.org

https://www.pollen.com/allergy/what-is-allergy

http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/what-is-asthma

Thank you for reading our blog and we hope that allergies and asthma no longer stops you from having a great day and an even better summer!