What does a respiratory allergy look like?

Along with allergic asthma, there is a range of airborne allergens that commonly cause respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, tightness in your chest and difficulty breathing. Allergies occur in the upper respiratory system and go hand-in-hand with nasal congestion, sinus pain, and nasal drip, which can cause airway irritation and coughing. Of course, there are other conditions such as sleep apnoea, gastric reflux, and COPD, which may cause these symptoms.

What is the relationship between asthma and allergies?

Allergies and asthma are commonly co-morbid conditions, with roughly 90% of children and 60% of adults with asthma having allergies trigger their asthma. Respiratory allergies occur when the immune system has a negative reaction to some sort of airborne substance such as dust, pollen, pet dander or mould spores.

When should an allergy be taken seriously?

Any restriction of the airways caused by an allergy or asthma attack is a serious matter and can be life-threatening. In addition, anaphylactic shock is an allergic reaction which encompasses respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath accompanied by hives, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and rapid heartbeat. Although the initial symptoms may seem mild, anaphylaxis is an acute, life-threatening allergic reaction which can quickly turn severe.

How can allergies be treated?

Firstly, your physician will try to identify the cause for the allergic reaction or the trigger for the asthma attack. From there he may tailor treatment to your specific allergen. Medications may be necessary to control allergies while quick-relief inhalers (bronchodilators) may be prescribed for future asthma attacks. If anaphylactic shock was induced by exposure to a particular allergen like food, you would be instructed to avoid this allergen in the future.

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