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How to distinguish between Allergic rhinitis or an early sign of Asthma

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

Allergies are common. One may develop inflammation, sneezing, or a host of other symptoms all at once, making your life more miserable. 

But sometimes allergies can cause even more havoc — in the form of asthma as it is usually linked to allergic rhinitis.

Allergist/immunologist Ronald Purcell, MD, explained three main points you should know about this condition.

Asthma vs allergic rhinitis

Environmental allergens can strike your airway in different ways:

  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) grabs your nose and sinuses causing sneezing, congestion, and an itchy nose and eyes.
  • Asthma primarily attacks your lungs causing coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath or rapid breathing.

But when you have allergic asthma – trouble breathing, it will cause both sets of symptoms at once.

In children, symptoms could be more subtle, says Dr. Purcell. 

Kids may complain about getting too tired to play, but parents should give special attention to wheezing or coughing.

If the other kids are running around playing, and your child wants to sit on the sidelines, he or she may be having trouble breathing.

Environment plays an important role

While many allergens can cause allergic asthma, they all have one thing in common: They’re in the environment, not in your food or your medication.

Pet dander, dust mites, cockroaches, mold and pollen can all trigger allergic asthma.

If pollen or mold triggers the condition, it may occur only seasonally.

If your pets or the dust mites on your bedding trigger it, you may suffer year-round, he notes.

Minimize exposure

Allergy testing can help find out what’s triggering your allergies.

Once you know you have allergic asthma, identifying and avoiding its triggers will help you control your symptoms. 

When possible, take measures to prevent or minimize exposure.

The same methods won’t work for all allergy triggers. 

For example, “dust mites are not airborne — but cat and dog dander is,” he says.

To reduce allergens in your home, Dr. Purcell recommends:

  • Using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to reduce airborne triggers.
  • Minimizing or eliminating pet exposure.
  • Using special dust mite covers on bedding and aiming for indoor humidity levels of 35 percent to minimize dust mite exposure.
  • Eliminating food sources for cockroaches by using sealed food containers and regularly cleaning kitchen floors and surfaces.
  • Changing clothes and showering after you come inside if you’re allergic to pollen, and closing doors and windows when pollen counts are high.

Although mold is more of an outdoor allergen, it can develop indoors (almost always because of a water leak). 

Addressing the water leak, then using a diluted bleach solution or a commercial cleaning product is usually sufficient.

Extensive mold intrusion may require a professional mold removal service.

Image Credit: Getty

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