Asthma and Allergy Awareness

Due to the close link between asthma and allergy, it can be difficult to manage your asthma if your allergies are not well managed.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease of the airways, the small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs

Common asthmas symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • A feeling of tightness in the chest

Although there is no cure, with good asthma management, people with asthma can lead a normal, active life.

What are allergies?

An allergy occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are usually harmless to most people.  These substances are called allergens, examples of allergens include pollen, mould and dust mites.

When people with allergic tendencies are exposed to allergens, they can develop an immune reaction that leads to allergic inflammation (redness and swelling).  This can cause symptoms in the:

  • Nose and/or – allergic rhinitis/conjunctivitis (hay fever)
  • Skin – eczema, hives
  • Lungs – asthma

How to lessen the symptoms of asthma

The most common allergic triggers of asthma are house dust mites, pets, pollen and mould.  Even though complete allergen avoidance does not cure asthma, reducing exposure may make your asthma symptoms easier to manage.

While allergy avoidance measures may help to reduce exposure to allergen triggers, using your asthma medications as directed by your doctor is a more effective way of dealing with your asthma.

A written asthma action plan is a set of instructions developed with your doctor.  It includes your asthma medicine and how you may need to increase or decrease this depending on your symptoms.  A written action plan will also help you to recognise worsening asthma symptoms and will tell you what to do when this happens.

Your asthma action plan needs to be regularly reviewed by your doctor.

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