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Medications for allergic asthma

More than 50% of all adults and 90% of children suffer from asthma that is allergy induced. In recent years the incidents of that form of asthma has grown almost geometrically. The scientists are not sure why (among the reasons they suspect increased exposure of children to some common allergens and vaccination of the children). If you have allergy induced asthma - you have to know your allergen and the treatment.

What is allergy induced asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung condition in which the bronchial tubes or the lungs become inflamed and clogged with thick mucous. That condition is characterized by difficulty in breathing. Allergy is a disorder of the immune system, that is characterized by allergic reaction to a certain environmental substances (originally harmless one, but to which the body is sensitive), called an allergen.

When someone is exposed to an allergen the body may produce “histamines”, which cause inflammation and irritation. This is the reaction of the immune system in order to protect the body and get rid of the allergen. In case of allergy induced asthma, the histamines go to work on lungs or the bronchial passages, thus making it difficult for the allergic person to breathe. By the way, it is not the problem to get the air in (into the lungs), but actually to move the air out. So, the old, oxygen-less air is inside the lungs. When the sufferers become frightened – it all becomes even worse, as the breathing is now tenser.

Causes

When you have an allergy (to any substance) – you are at risk for allergic asthma. In allergy sufferers the histamine reactions caused by allergens can increase the possibility of causing asthma. Allergens are various, but the most common are airborne. You should know your allergen in order to prevent or even avoid and treat allergic asthma. Among them are:

·   Pollen

·  Animal dander

· Dust and dust mites

·   Food allergies (such as peanuts, eggs, corn and milk)

·   Cigarette

·   Fragrances

·  Wood smoke

·  Smog

·   Gasoline

·   Paint fumes and some others

Symptoms

During an asthma attack, the airways become irritated and inflamed and react by narrowing and constructing. This causes increased resistance to airflow, and obstructing the flow of the air passages to and from the lungs. The symptoms are numerous; some of them may indicate on early stage of allergic asthma, some of them may already be the symptoms of full blown asthmatic attacks.

Early warning symptoms:

·   sleeping problems,

·   dark circles under eyes,

·   breathing difficulties (such as shortness of breath),

·   breathing changes,

·  itching in the throat,

·   wheezing,

·    sneezing,

·   unproductive cough,

·   moodiness,

·   headaches

·    intolerance to exercise

Symptoms of the possible asthma attack:

·    severe coughing,

·   wheezing,

·    shortness of breath or tightness in the chest,

·   difficulty talking or concentrating,

·    rapid breathing or slower than usual breathing,

·    shortness of breath at a walk,

·   the person hunches shoulders,

·    you notice retractions - the neck area and between or below the ribs moves inward with breathing,

·     you notice cyanosis - a gray or bluish tint to the skin, beginning around the mouth

Symptoms may not be very noticeable, but they may become very clear prior stormy weather (it may be connected with the humidity of the air) or snowy weather (due to colder, dry air).

If you have or notice these symptoms, it is important to call you doctor and get them emergency medical treatment.

Treatment Tips

1.  Avoid your allergen (or at least try to reduce exposure). This is the first and the easiest what you can and should do. The good news is that this advice seems to be as effective as the second one.

2.  Have your emergency inhaler for situations of severe asthma attack. Make sure you get the prescribed dosage.

3.  Start singing. Singing lessons and being involved in choir can help people with breathing problems (so can yoga and swimming).

4.  Have a good relationship with your medical provider. Tell about any changes you have in your physical condition.

Medications for allergy induced asthma

1.   Immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy is using allergy-desensitization shots. This method is very good for you if you have allergic asthma that can't be easily controlled by avoiding triggers. The doctor first finds out you allergen (with the help of the skin test) and then gives you a series of therapeutic injections containing small doses of those allergens. You start from having shots once a week for a few months, then once a month for a period of three to five years. After that you are supposed to lose your sensitivity to the allergens. It is effective, but not for everybody. Allergic reaction to the shot is possible.

2.  Anti-IgE monoclonal antibodies.

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If you have allergies, your immune system produces allergy-causing IgE antibodies to attack substances that generally cause no harm and to protect the body. It is really hard to control if you have an allergic asthma. Omalizumab (Xolair) blocks the action of these antibodies, thus reducing the number of asthma attacks you may experience. Xolair is delivered by injection every two to four weeks. It is used in children over 12 years old and adults with moderate to severe asthma caused by an allergy. Among side effects are the risk of severe reaction within two hours of receiving the shot, blood-clotting problems, and a possible link to cancer. Do not use it in if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The best way to control your allergic asthma (as well as any asthma) is to be monitored by the doctor. Doctor’s flexible therapy based on changes in symptoms is the best way for success.

Valentyna Ant.


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