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Allergic Asthma

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  • Allergic Asthma
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

What is allergic asthma(1)?

Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma.

If you suffer from allergic asthma, your airways are extra sensitive to certain allergens. Once they get into your body, your immune system overreacts.

60% of the people with asthma suffer from allergic asthma. For those whose asthma is moderate to severe and uncontrolled, getting the right diagnosis can be hard. This is because people with allergic asthma do not always realize their asthma may be triggered by allergens.

The same allergens that give some people sneezing fits and watery eyes can cause asthma attacks in others. Because allergens are everywhere, it is important that people with allergic asthma know their triggers and learn how to prevent an attack.




What are the symptoms of allergic asthma(1)?

Asthma is a chronic condition inflammation and narrowing of the airways, as well as tightening of the muscles around the airways. This can lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. Allergic asthma is a type of asthma. So, if you have allergic asthma, you may experience these symptoms.

What are the causes for allergic asthma(1)?

Allergens, small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs, including:

  • Wind blown pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
  • Mould spores and fragments
  • Animal dander (from hair, skin, or feathers) and saliva
  • House Dust Mite
  • Cockroach

Keep in mind that allergens are not the only thing that can make your allergic asthma worse. Irritants may still trigger an asthma attack, even though they do not cause an allergic reaction. These include:

  • Smoke from tobacco, a fireplace, candles, incense, or fireworks
  • Air pollution
  • Cold air / Exercise in cold air
  • Strong chemical odors or fumes
  • Perfumes, air fresheners, or other scented products
  • Dusty rooms



How can allergic asthma be diagnosed(1)?

Sometimes getting the diagnosis of allergic asthma takes some time. A good way to find out could be a skin prick test and check for allergies.

Skin prick test

The skin prick test involves:

  • Placing a small amount of substances that may be causing your symptoms on the skin, most often on the forearm, only in exceptional cases, the skin of the prostrate back can be used as an alternative.
  • The skin is then pricked so the allergen goes under the skin’s surface.
  • The health care provider closely watches the skin for swelling and redness or other signs of a reaction. Results are usually seen within 15 to 20 minutes.
House Dust Mite Diagnosis

Additionally a blood test can also be performed to check IgE levels which would be high in patients with allergic asthma.

Lung function tests

To confirm an asthma diagnosis, your doctor may conduct one or more breathing tests known as lung (pulmonary) function tests. These measure many aspects related to your breathing.



What preventive measures can you take(1)?

To control your allergic asthma, you have to avoid breathing in or inhaling the allergens. Here are some tips to get relief:

Stay inside when pollen counts are high.

Keep the windows closed. If it is hot, use an air conditioner with a clean air filter.

Getting diagnosed.

Identifying the allergen could help in controlling the asthma.

Avoid house dust mites

These microscopic critters live in fabrics and carpets. Wrap your pillows, mattress, and box spring in allergen-proof covers. Wash your sheets and other bedding once a week in hot water. Remove wall-to-wall carpeting if you can. Get rid of areas where dust can gather, like heavy curtains, upholstered furniture, and piles of clothing. If your child has allergic asthma, only buy washable stuffed animals.

Control indoor humidity.

Check with an inexpensive meter. If moisture is above 40% in your home, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner. This will dry out the air and slow the growth of moulds, cockroaches, and house dust mites.

Check for pet allergies.

If you have pets, get tested to see if they are causing your problem. Keep them outdoors or find another home for them if you can.

Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean and dry

To prevent mould and cockroaches. If you are allergic to cockroaches, and you see signs of them in your home, contact a pest control company.

Choose air filters wisely.

Large HEPA room air filters remove smoke and other small particles (like pollen) from a room, but only when the fan is on. They do not lower humidity or reduce house dust mites. Electronic air purifiers create ozone, which can cause airway inflammation.

Be careful doing outside work.

Gardening can stir up pollen and mould. Wear a HEPA filter mask while outside to reduce the amount of pollen and mould particles that get into your lungs.

Adherence to treatment.

This is a critical aspect of good asthma control.



What are the treatment options for allergic asthma(1)?

Taking steps to control allergen contact is likely to improve your symptoms. But you may still need medication for allergy and asthma to treat your attacks.

Antihistamines, nasal decongestants, nasal corticosteroid sprays could help. Bronchodilators, drugs that open up your airways may be required.

Allergen immunotherapy could help if asthma does not get controlled with traditional medicines.

Allergen immunotherapy could provide long lasting benefit. You can “train” your immune system not to react exaggerated to an allergen anymore. This is done through a series of allergy shots called immunotherapy. One to two weekly shots expose you to very small doses of the allergen, that causes an allergic reaction. The dose is gradually increased, usually during a three-to six months period. Maintenance shots are needed every four weeks for three to five years. mmunotherapy is usually used when other treatments like antisymptomatic medication are not satisfactory.


  1.; JAMA, December 19, 2001—Vol 286,No. 23
IND/04/17/ALGY/022/EXP 04/19