Have you been experiencing hives, hay fever, coughing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath? All these are signs of both allergies and asthma. Dealing with either is no fun day at the park.
Allergies can’t be cured and can show up on your body as annoying rashes. Asthma isn’t curable either and there are a ton of things that can set it off. Each has a different treatment, though.
If you are asking yourself how do I know if I have asthma or allergies, we can give you some idea of which condition you’re looking at.
To help you find out what you need to get treatment for, keep reading to see the various similarities and differences between asthma and allergies.
1. What Are Allergies
Whenever your body is exposed to some sort of threat your immune system kicks in to get rid of it. A problem occurs when your immune system jumps in to fight off something that isn’t a threat.
This is where allergies come from. These symptoms show themselves often in the springtime when pollen shows itself in large quantities.
Common Allergy Symptoms
Other than sneezing, coughing, and other symptoms of hay fever, you could experience rashes that pop up on your skin in the form of hives, eczema, or dermatitis. You may also suffer from conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis is also known as pink eye. It occurs when the conjunctiva of your eye becomes red and irritated.
2. What is Asthma?
Asthma is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. There is a multitude of things that can set off asthma. Some common allergens can do the trick.
If you have non-allergic asthma it can get set off by stress, smoke, airway infections, medications, and changes in air temperature.
Much like allergies, asthma can’t be cured but over time some people start experiencing less intense symptoms. For some, the symptoms only get more intense as they get older.
Common Asthma Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of asthma are close to those you would have if you had hay fever. You’ll experience coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing.
While living with these symptoms can be annoying, as long as you take your medication as you should you’ll be able to control them and live a normal life.
3. Are the Two Linked?
The answer here is yes. For some, the two are linked. You might face a lot of the same symptoms with asthma as you do with allergies.
Some people have what is called allergy-induced asthma. It’s when common allergens such as pollen trigger your asthma.
4. Allergy-Induced Asthma
We talked a little above about non-allergic asthma. Now we’re going to jump into allergy-induced asthma. For the most part, the symptoms that you’ll experience with allergy-induced asthma is pretty much the same as the ones you’ll face with non-allergic asthma.
Wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing are all common symptoms that can be triggered by pollen, pet dander, and dust.
There are medications your doctor can prescribe that can treat both asthma and allergies. It also helps if you figure out what is causing your asthma flare-ups and attempt to avoid them if you can.
How Do I Know If I’m at Risk for Allergy-Induced Asthma?
If you have a family history for allergies then you may end up having allergy asthma. You are also at risk if you tend to fall victim to hay fever and other allergies. Sometimes an asthma flare-up can come right along with it.
5. Asthma Treatment
The good news is that there are plenty of treatments out there for asthma. They differ a little depending on your symptoms.
There are two categories of asthma medicines. Ones that are prescribed for long-term relief, and ones that are prescribed for fast relief.
Long-term relief medications include inhaled corticosteroids and combination inhalers. They won’t act as fast as quick relief solutions but they’ll provide a longer period of relief for chronic asthma symptoms.
Fast relief options include oral corticosteroids and ipratropium. They are designed to provide fast, emergency relief in the event you have an asthma attack.
6. Allergy Treatments
There are a variety of different treatments for allergies from inhalers to creams. Some of the medication types we’re about to list will treat both allergy-induced asthma and allergies.
You’ve got antihistamines that block the chemical in your body responsible for allergic reactions. There are corticosteroids that ease the inflammation that comes with allergies. Decongestants, as the name suggests, get rid of nasal congestion.
like the antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers will block allergy-causing chemicals in your body. Leukotriene modifiers will do the same thing.
Lastly, you can get an allergy shot or shots. It involves giving you small injections of the allergens that trigger your asthma. Over time your body will build up an immunity to it and you won’t be affected as badly.
How Do I Know if I Have Asthma or if It’s Only Allergies?
Do you find yourself asking how do I know if I have asthma or allergies? The two are quite similar. In fact, common allergens can trigger asthma flare-ups. Knowing the similarities and differences between these two conditions can help you in the path to treating it.
We hope that you’re able to use this guide to help you seek out the right treatment to control your symptoms and get on with your daily life.
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