Allergens In The Workplace
There are many substances in the workplace that may cause asthma to develop, or trigger asthma symptoms in someone who already has asthma.
If you experience asthma symptoms at work, and these symptoms improve when you are away from work , you may have what is called work-related or occupational asthma.
Occupational asthma can occur in many types of workplaces, but is most commonly reported where people are working with flour or grains and isocyanates .
Other substances may include wood dust, strong cleaning products, chemicals, or animal allergens.
So What Are The Symptoms You Should Watch Out For
Which signs of asthma you might experience differs from person to person and some are more common than others, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells SELF. Its possible that youll have such a mild reaction to one of your personal asthma triggers that you dont take much note of it. But if the effects get worse, they can turn into an asthma attack, which is a potentially life-threatening exacerbation of asthma symptoms. Thats why its so important to know the common signs of asthma, including the more subtle ones.
These are classic asthma signs you should know:
Shortness of breath: This is an obvious complication that happens when you cant get enough oxygen due to the way your airways and their surrounding muscles are reacting to asthma triggers, Sadia Benzaquen, M.D., a pulmonologist and associate professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells SELF.
Cough: When an irritant gets into your throat or airways, it stimulates nerves that prompt your brain to make the muscles in your chest and abdomen expel air from your lungs with a cough, according to the Mayo Clinic. Since a sensitivity to irritants can cause asthma symptoms, coughing is a hallmark sign of this condition, says Dr. Benzaquen. In fact, its the most common sign of asthma Dr. Parikh has seen people ignore.
Some people may have these less common signs of asthma:
When To See An Allergist
See an allergist if you develop unexplained wheezing that keeps coming back or along with other symptoms, such as rapid breathing or problems taking in air.
If you begin wheezing after being stung by an insect, taking medication or eating something you are allergic to, then get emergency treatment. You should also seek emergency treatment if you have difficulty breathing or your skin turns blue.
If you have mild wheezing that comes with a cold or an upper respiratory infection, you might not need treatment.
Allergic Rhinitis: Clinical Considerations
Allergic diseases affect 10% to 30% of adults and nearly 40% of children and are increasing in prevalence for unknown reasons . Symptoms of allergy are occasionally life-threatening, sometimes debilitating, and frequently very bothersome. In the lungs, allergy is manifested by bronchoconstriction or asthma in the nose, by rhinitis in the skin, by urticaria and in the eyes, by conjunctivitis. Anaphylaxisâthe systemic and life-threatening manifestations of allergyârequires immediate medical attention. For several reasons, this article focuses on allergic rhinitis. First, in contrast to allergic rhinitis, asthma is often treated with systemic corticosteroids, which may themselves cause neuropsychiatric symptoms. Second, because of anatomic proximity, inflammation of the nasal cavities may have a closer relationship with the brain than inflammation of the skin, lungs, or digestive tract. The distinction between asthma and nasal inflammation is somewhat illusory, however, because more than 60% of individuals with rhinitis also have asthma, and allergic rhinitis frequently progresses toward allergic asthma .
When To Seek Help From Your Doctors
If you suffer from allergies and neck pain at the same time, seek care for both ailments. Do not just treat your allergies, hoping that your neck pain will automatically go away. Similarly, do not assume that treatment for your neck pain will improve your allergies. The two problems might be unrelated.
See a general practitioner or an immunologist if:
- Your allergies persist after treatment with over-the-counter medications
- Your allergies interfere with your daily life, such as driving safely or work
Neck pain requires a visit to a pain specialist who can diagnose the underlying problem and offer you the best treatment.
See a pain specialist if:
- Neck pain does not improve with over-the-counter medications
- You have trouble turning your head while driving
- A doctor has diagnosed you with neck problems in the past
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When To Seek Emergency Medical Attention
You usually wont need to call an ambulance or visit an emergency room for burning in your chest.
- squeezing, fullness, pain, burning, or pressure in the middle or left side of your chest
- pain that spreads to your jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, or back
- shortness of breath
40 percent of U.S. adults, its a very common reason for this symptom.
You experience heartburn when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. This is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. A band of muscle at the bottom of your esophagus normally closes when youre not eating to keep food and acid inside your stomach. If it relaxes prematurely, acids can back up into your esophagus.
In heartburn, the burning feeling often begins after youve eaten, or at night. It may get worse when you lie down or bend over. You might also have a sour taste in your mouth.
Here are a few other common conditions that can cause burning sensations in your chest.
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Can Current Therapeutic Regimens Prevent Virus
There is no doubt that the reductions observed in asthma morbidity and mortality observed over the last 20 years are the result of better therapeutic management however, the real question is, are asthma therapeutics effective in virus-induced exacerbations? Large studies have shown that even low-dose inhaled corticosteroids reduce exacerbations and the risk of death from asthma . For example, in comparison to no treatment, 100 g budesonide twice daily resulted in a 60% reduced risk of having a severe exacerbation in the OPTIMA trial . The addition of a long-acting 2-agonist to ICS further reduces the frequency , severity and duration of exacerbations. Studies such as these were not designed to identify the cause of the exacerbation however, as viruses are thought to cause 50% of all exacerbations, it is reasonable to assume that some reduction in the incidence of virus-induced exacerbations would occur. None of these studies specifically identified whether improved asthma management does one or more of the following: 1) reduces the rate of respiratory viral illnesses 2) reduces the rate at which respiratory viral infections trigger a sequence of inflammatory events that will result in an exacerbation or 3) reduces the severity of symptoms or lung function such that the episode does not require exacerbation-defining medical intervention.
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How Do I Manage Allergic Asthma
The main goal of treating allergic asthma is to control the condition. Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop ways to manage allergic asthma. Some things your provider may work with you on include:
- Learning how to identify triggers. Your provider will help you figure out what is triggering your asthma and find ways to either avoid or manage these allergens. Often, these triggers are found in your environment. Once you know what they are, you can manage your interactions with them.
- Finding the best medication for you. Not every medication is a perfect fit. Your provider will work with you to find which medication will control your asthma symptoms without causing negative side effects. There are many types of medications for allergic asthma . Take the time to work with your provider to see what works best for you.
- Developing an action plan. Its important to have a plan in place that helps you know when to take certain medications, what to do if the medications arent working and who to call in those situations.
Common Environmental Risk Factors For Asthma And Depression
Obesity generates a systemic inflammatory milieu that increases the risk of numerous somatic conditions, including both asthma and MDD. Epidemiologic studies suggest that there is an increased prevalence of asthma in obese adults, that this relationship is dose dependent, and that the link is stronger in women . This association may reflect the direct mechanical effects of obesity, immune system alterations, or the effect of hormones such as leptin imposed by excess weight.
Obese individuals also appear to be at increased risk of developing MDD . The etiology of this seemingly bidirectional relationship is unknown but likely involves genetic and environmental influences, including the psychological experience of being overweight, as well as alterations in various hormones and cytokines. Although iatrogenic and clinical disease factors are most often implicated, it is possible that MDD and obesity share common pathogenic factors, including dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, neurotransmitter systems, and/or immune function .
Smoking during Pregnancy
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What Can Cause Asthma Exacerbation
Of these, rhinoviruses account for 60% to 70% of all viral-induced asthma cases, with the majority of remaining cases linked to influenza viruses and RSV. However, it is unclear how these different viral infections trigger asthma.
Most scientists agree that there is not a simple cause-and-effect relationship. What follows are a few hypotheses as to why viral-induced asthma occurs.
What Is Asthma Exacerbation
Asthma attacks or asthma exacerbations can be acute or subacute episodes during which your airways become swollen. When this happens, the muscles around your airways contract excessively, and the cells inside your airways produce disproportionate amounts of mucus. These changes cause your airways to become narrow, making it difficult for you to breathe properly.
The severity of asthma attacks is highly variable, and treatment will depend on how bad your symptoms are and how often you experience them. Minor asthma attacks may often be managed at home, whereas severe asthma exacerbations require urgent medical assistance and can even be life-threatening.
Asthma commonly affects children, but adults can also develop the condition, especially when theyre exposed to specific allergens. Women can be more susceptible to adult-onset asthma during certain stages of life, such as pregnancy, , or menopause.
The symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing when you exhale
- Low readings in a peak flow meter
The symptoms caused by an asthma attack can vary greatly from one patient to the next. Different factors, from the medications youre taking to seasonal allergies, can even cause varying symptoms for the same patient.
The exact causes of an asthma attack cant always be determined, but certain factors can increase your risk of having an asthma exacerbation, such as:
How Is Allergic Rhinitis Treated In Children
Some corticosteroid nasal sprays can be used in children as young as 2 years.
Antihistamine tablets can be used for children with mild allergic rhinitis or young children who will not tolerate nasal sprays. Some can be taken by children as young as 12 months. Only newer antihistamines, which cause less sleepiness, should be given to children.
Montelukast tablets are effective for some children.
Your doctor may recommend other medicines.
Can Allergies Trigger Asthma
Allergies and asthma are closely related conditions. An allergic reaction can trigger an asthma attack for people with asthma, causing allergy-induced asthma or allergic asthma. This makes it crucial for people with asthma to be aware of allergens and how they can spur asthma attacks.
Here, well discuss the link between allergies and asthma and offer tips for managing both conditions.
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What Allergies Cause Asthma
Inhaled allergens. The most important allergens for people with allergic asthma appear to be those asthma triggers that are inhaled. Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs when a person comes in contact with an allergen or a substance that they are sensitive to. Common inhaled allergens include:
- Animal dander
Medical experts recommend that all people with allergies and asthma try to identify possible inhaled allergens that may trigger asthma symptoms.
If you can avoid coming in contact with the substance you are allergic to , you may be able to prevent symptoms of an asthma attack.
Food allergies. Food allergies rarely cause asthma, yet they can cause a severe life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. The condition can lead to symptoms that include trouble breathing, wheezing, an itchy rash, low blood pressure, and vomiting. The most common foods linked with allergic symptoms are:
- Tree nuts
- Shrimp and other shellfish
Food preservatives can also trigger allergic and asthmatic reactions. Additives, such as sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite, are often used in food processing or preparation and may be found in foods such as:
- Dried fruits or vegetables
- Wine and beer
- Bottled lime or lemon juice
- Pickled foods
Managing Your Seasonal Allergies
One of the most important things someone suffering from allergies can do is to identify the triggers. While some people seem to blame one trigger, it is possible that there are actually multiple triggers. It is not uncommon for those who suffer from spring allergies to show symptoms throughout the year. Some ways to avoid triggers include:
- Shower after being outdoors.
- Monitor pollen and mold counts, which are available on TV or in the news.
- Stay inside during peak pollen counts, which is the middle of the day of the afternoon.
- Wear a filter mask when working outdoors.
- Take preventive medication.
You can take other precautions as well, such as bathing and shampooing your hair each day to completely remove the pollen from your hair and skin. You should also wash your bedding in hot soapy water at least once a week.
You may need to wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from pollen. Those with severe allergies might find that a facemask is helpful during times when daily pollen counts are very high. It is also important to avoid line drying your bedding or clothes outdoors if the local pollen counts are high, as pollen can settle on these items.
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Can An Allergy Attack Damage My Lungs
While most allergy sufferers experience a runny nose or itchy eyes when their symptoms act up, some patients may also experience trouble breathing.
In light of the current health pandemic, its important to keep your respiratory system as healthy as possible to prevent any adverse reactions. Keep reading to learn how your allergies can affect your lung capacity and how our specialists at Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia can help treat your symptoms.
Know Your Triggers To Help Manage And Control Symptoms
There is no set cure for asthma it can only be and treated. Once you identify your triggers through a skin or blood test, you can come up with the best plan for managing and controlling your symptoms.
Knowing your triggers and avoiding them can help prevent or control an allergy-induced asthma episode. The AFAA advises people not to leave food or crumbs in living quarters to prevent pests like cockroaches fix leaks to prevent mold wash bedding in hot water and use mattress and pillow covers to protect against dust mites vacuum pet dander and wear a mask when outdoors.
For some with allergic asthma, allergy medications may help avert or alleviate symptoms. If your allergies are extremely severe, you should consider seeing a doctor to discuss a treatment plan that may involve a prescription like . Some over-the-counter options may help those with mild allergy symptoms. These include:
- Saline nasal sprays
To treat an asthma attack, there are both short-term and long-term options for relief. Short-term options seek to relax the narrowing muscles in the airways and ease the flow of air. The goal of long-term medications is to control and reduce inflammation in the airways and make them less sensitive to triggering allergens.
Asthma medications may be inhaled through a nebulizer or an . A is a machine that uses a mask to convert medication into a mist that is more easily inhaled into the lungs.
Additional reporting by Nicol Natale.
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Tightness In Chest And Shortness Of Breath Due To Breathing Problems
Obviously, breathing problems can also lead to symptoms such as chest pain or tightness and difficulty breathing. However, within this group of diseases and pathologies we find very significant differences, both in nature and severity:
- Pleurisy: This occurs when the membrane that covers the lungs is inflamed. It is a condition that causes great pain in the chest, the thoracic area, while it is difficult to breathe and, during these symptoms you will also hear a whistling sound.
- Asthma: It is a fairly common condition characterized by inflammation of the bronchi under certain circumstances. Chest pressure and shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms, the rest you can read in our article on how to tell if you have asthma.
- Pulmonary embolism: It is caused by a blood clot that prevents the passage of blood into the lungs can cause the same symptomatology.
- COPD: It is the acronym for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a condition that mainly affects smokers. It is characterized by pectoral pressure and the sensation of suffocation.
- Pneumonia: As well as other infections, whether viral or bacterial, that affect the respiratory tract and make it difficult to breathe properly can result in the same symptoms.
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