There are many similar symptoms of allergies and asthma. Both affect your child’s breathing and both can make them miserable. If you know the differences between the two conditions, you will be able to help your child manage their symptoms.
The differences between allergies and asthma
Allergies happen when the immune system tries to fight off something like pollen, dander, dust, and certain types of food, even if these things do not actually pose a threat. Symptoms vary depending on the trigger but can be easier to treat than asthma by avoiding allergens. They include a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and congestion.
Asthma is a medical condition that is chronic, or long-lasting, and can appear to be similar to allergies. Wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and even chest tightness can happen with both, but not typically with allergies. For asthmatic children, these symptoms are common and can be dangerous. With proper medication and management, asthma can also be handled.
Are allergies associated with asthma attacks?
Both of these conditions seem similar and they can actually be linked when an allergic reaction triggers asthma. If this happens to your child, they probably have allergy-induced asthma. The symptoms are usually the same as normal attacks and the triggers are the same as those that cause an allergic reaction. These include pet dander and pollen.
Preventing allergic reactions is the key to stopping these types of attacks. Spring can be difficult since pollen is almost impossible to avoid, but other triggers can be more easily managed. There are also medications that can be used to treat both allergies and asthma.
Treating allergies and asthma
These medical conditions require different treatments, although some can overlap. Speaking with a pediatrician as soon as you suspect that your child suffers from either issue will help you figure out what treatments they need.
For allergies, there are few types of medications that can be given. These come in many forms including shots, pills, nasal sprays, inhalers, liquids, and skin creams. Antihistamines prevent the chemical histamines that trigger allergic reactions from forming. Corticosteroids offer relief from the inflammation caused by allergies. Mast cell stabilizers also prevent histamines from forming, but they take longer to work. Decongestants treat some of the symptoms of allergies but do not help prevent reactions.
Asthma medications offer both short-term and long-term relief from symptoms. Rescue medications can treat symptoms and stop attacks. These short-term treatments include intravenous corticosteroids and various inhalers. Long-term medications that help prevent asthma attacks include pill-form leukotriene modifiers and inhalers with corticosteroids.
Identifying allergies vs. asthma
There are some ways that you can tell the difference between these two conditions. For example, asthma is often caused by things like pollen or cigarette smoke, while allergies are more often triggered by pollen, dust, or foods. Here are some tips to help you and your pediatrician identify which condition your child may have.
Allergies: The first step in helping your child handle allergies is to find the trigger of their symptoms. If they are sneezing after playing in the grass, they are probably allergic to it. A pediatrician can test for allergies to find the triggers as well. Once allergens have been identified, treatments can be chosen based on your child’s needs.
Asthma: This condition can be harder to identify than allergies. Some children do not have any symptoms until their first asthma attack. Others show signs of allergy-induced asthma or simply have a chronic cough. If your child shows one or more symptoms of this condition, visit the pediatrician as soon as possible. They will be able to provide a successful treatment plan.
Asthma and allergy testing in Amarillo, Texas
If you think your child may suffer from allergies or asthma, a pediatrician can help. Call Dr. John Young and his Team at (806) 354-0404 ext. 330 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services. You can also visit our offices in person at 1500 S. Coulter St., Suite #3 in Amarillo.