How Allergies Can Exacerbate Asthma

Posted on: 22 April 2020

If you have asthma, then in addition to see your asthma care services professional on a regular basis, you will need to visit an allergy services specialist as well. This is because having allergies can exacerbate your asthma. While many asthmatics grow out of it once they reach adulthood, some are lifelong sufferers. Here are some ways your allergies can worsen the symptoms of your asthma. 

Thick Mucus Production

Allergic reactions often cause a runny nose, nasal congestion, and increased mucus production. This can lead to postnasal drip, which refers to when the mucus in your nasal cavity drips down your throat. If not expelled, it can worsen wheezing in those who have asthma.

Not only can mucus from postnasal drip cause sticky mucus to buildup in your throat, but it can also trigger an inflammatory response in your throat, which can constrict your airway, further exacerbating wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Talk to your asthma specialist or asthma doctor about using a saline nasal spray. This will help thin out thick mucus so that you can clear your sinuses easier when you blow your nose. Saline nasal sprays also help wash away allergens and bacteria from your nasal cavity. 

Infection Risk

When you have allergies, you may be more susceptible to upper and lower respiratory infections. These types of infections can be especially dangerous for people with asthma because respiratory infections can easily progress to bronchitis or pneumonia.

When asthmatics have bronchitis or pneumonia, they are sometimes unable to expel thick mucus plugs from their lungs, which can lead to severe wheezing and shortness of breath. When this happens, your blood oxygen levels may become dangerously low, requiring a hospital visit so that you can receive oxygen therapy and nebulizer treatments.

To help keep lung secretions thin so that they can be easily expelled, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. While water is a good choice, avoid drinking ice cold water because it can cause airway constriction and trigger a severe coughing or wheezing episode.

Be sure to use your inhaler per your doctor's orders because doing so will help reestablish a normal pattern of breathing. In addition, to keep your allergies under control so that they don't trigger an asthma attack, take your antihistamines per your doctor's orders and try to avoid allergy triggers.

If you have allergies and asthma, work with both your allergist and asthma physician to keep your conditions under control. When they are well-managed, you will be less likely to experience a severe allergy-triggered asthma attack or respiratory infection.