General Health Monday October 31, 2011

Allergies as asthma triggers

Inhaled and food allergies are some of the main triggers for asthma, meaning that for many people with asthma avoiding allergies can be a lifesaver.

What is asthma?

People with asthma have extremely sensitive and inflamed bronchi (the airways that transport air to and from the lungs). Triggers such as allergens can cause the lungs to be irritated, causing muscles around the bronchi to narrow. The narrowing of the muscles around the bronchi also stimulates the production of sticky phlegm, which can cause a person to wheeze and experience a tight feeling in their chest. Sometimes asthma attacks can develop, which can be fatal.

In most people asthma is a long-term condition, however these days it is manageable with the help of treatments.

What allergens are common triggers?

The most common allergies that have been associated with asthma are inhaled allergies; food allergens also have the ability to trigger asthma in people who are sensitive to a particular food.

The most common inhaled allergies are those to mould, animal skin and saliva, dust mites and pollen and the most common foods that trigger allergic reactions are eggs, milk, peanuts, soy wheat, fish, shellfish and fresh fruit. Foods with sulphate have also been known to trigger asthma. These are dried fruits, wines, beer and pickled foods.

Avoiding allergens in your environment

You can try and remove some inhaled allergens from your environment by doing things such as keeping your house clean and clutter free, cleaning air filters regularly, replacing your carpet with something less fibrous, washing your bedding regularly and avoiding contact with pets, for example. Food that causes you to experience allergies should best be completely cut from your diet. You should exercise extra caution when you aren’t eating at home.

If you have asthma, it is a good idea to find out what types of allergies you have to make sure that you try and avoid it at all costs or have the right medication to hand in the instance that you come in contact with a particular allergen. This is where allergy tests can be extremely useful.

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