For many people, their allergies and asthma are closely linked. We review the connection between these two conditions as well as the benefits of allergy testing below.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to normally-harmless substances known as allergens. When an allergen, such as pollen found at Bee Creek Park, enters the body, the immune system produces antibodies known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE). This in turn tells your body to release the chemical histamine. Histamine triggers increased mucus production and inflammation, in short, causing your allergy symptoms.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung condition. Triggers can cause a person’s airways to become inflamed and produce extra mucus, causing symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough and wheezing. Asthma is usually managed with medications and inhalers.
How Are Allergies & Asthma Linked?
If you have allergies and asthma, your symptoms for both may be triggered by exposure to allergens.
How Can Allergy Tests Help?
There are many benefits to getting an allergy test if you have asthma.
What Allergy Tests Look For
Allergy tests look for the presence of IgE in the body. Some people have IgE for just one type of allergen, but others may have IgE for many allergens. Allergy tests can determine what allergens, if any, trigger the production of IgE.
For those with asthma, testing will usually look for IgE in response to inhaled allergens like animal dander, mold and dust mites.
How Allergy Test Results Are Used
Allergy test results and records of asthma symptoms may be used to diagnose allergic asthma. In many cases, a person with asthma is unaware their symptoms are triggered by particular allergens.
If you test positive for a certain allergen, you should try to avoid that substance as much as possible. For example, if you’re allergic to pollen, you should stay indoors with the windows closed when pollen counts are high. If you’re allergic to animal dander, you should bathe pets regularly and keep them out of bedrooms.
If avoidance is ineffective, you can take medications such as antihistamines and/or undergo immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a long-term option in which small amounts of allergen extracts are introduced into the body so that the immune system can build up a tolerance over time.
When & Why Are Allergy Tests Recommended?
Allergy tests are recommended for anybody with persistent or intermittent asthma.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at Texas ENT & Allergy today.