We sat down with Dr. Wajih Raqeem, HSHS Medical Group physician and lead hospitalist at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital to discuss seasonal allergies and asthma.
Q. What are some allergy season triggers?
The same substances that trigger your hay fever symptoms, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander, may also cause asthma signs and symptoms. In some people, skin or food allergies can cause asthma symptoms. This is called allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma.
Q. How does allergy season affect people with asthma?
An allergic response occurs when immune system proteins (antibodies) mistakenly identify a harmless substance, such as tree pollen, as an invader. In an attempt to protect your body from the substance, antibodies bind to the allergen.
The chemicals released by your immune system lead to allergy signs and symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes or skin reactions. For some people, this same reaction also affects the lungs and airways, leading to asthma symptoms.
Q. What can people with asthma do to prevent allergy season triggers?
Know the things that trigger your allergy and asthma symptoms and learn how to limit your exposure to them. Work with your doctor to find the best treatment to manage your symptoms, and check in with your doctor on a regular basis.
Because allergy and asthma symptoms can change over time, you may need to adjust your treatment accordingly. Learn the signs that your asthma may be flaring up — and know what to do when it does.
Lastly, it is important for physicians and family members to pay attention to the elderly and young kids. Often, they have super imposed infections and those infections can cause respiratory failure.
If someone is having an asthma attack due to seasonal allergies, head the St. Mary's Emergency Department immediately.
If someone isn't sure if they're experiencing a cold, flu, or allergies, HSHS Medical Group Anytime Care is available 24/7 for any non-emergent conditions. First-time users can use the promo code "allergies" at anytimecare.com, download the mobile app or call 844-391-4747.