Overall, more than 60 million Americans suffer from asthma and allergies according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and allergic asthma is the most common type. Each allergy season is all too familiar for those with allergies. With each bloom and breeze, all the common signs and symptoms emerge that can include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose, and in more severe cases, rashes, hives, low blood pressure, and asthma attacks. Read on to learn more about better management of your allergies this season with allergy testing.
Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month and peak season for many allergy sufferers. For the 19 million adults and 6.2 million children that have asthma, allergies are more than just a nuisance, but also a potentially dangerous trigger to other more serious medical events. Having a full understanding of allergic triggers, and having an allergy and asthma plan prescribed by a physician, can help those will allergies navigate the seasons with more confidence.
Understanding Allergies & Asthma
An allergic reaction happens when your body’s immune system flags an otherwise harmless substance (an allergen) as an invader. As a response, it produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that travel to cells that release chemicals to combat these mistakenly “harmful” substances.1
Asthma is a breathing disorder that affects the lungs by causing airway inflammation and recurring episodes of breathing difficulty, sometimes referred to as an asthma attack.5 Asthma symptoms include wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing in the nighttime or early morning.2
The condition affects both adults and children. A disease that can be life-threatening, statistics show that asthma accounted for 4,145 fatalities in 2020 alone. The AAFA notes that most asthma deaths are avoidable with appropriate treatment and care. 3
Allergic Asthma Triggers
For individuals with allergic asthma, the immune system’s production of IgE in response to an allergen can result in swelling of the airways in the lungs, making it harder to breathe and potentially causing an asthma attack. 4 Because of this, an important step to managing both asthma and allergies is being aware of triggers to better avoid, manage, or prepare for exposures.
At the height of allergy season, allergies to tree, grass, and weed pollen are often called seasonal allergies as they occur during certain times of the year, though pollen can linger in air ducts year-round. Additional irritants that may trigger symptoms in people with allergic asthma can include physical activity, respiratory infections, and tobacco smoke.5
When common allergy symptoms become an issue that hampers well-being and everyday activities, IgE blood tests can help determine levels of sensitization to allergic triggers, environmental, animal dander, and food, as an alternative to a standard skin prick test.
BioReference’s ImmunoCAP™ specific IgE testing can provide you and your healthcare provider with crucial information about your allergic triggers. Through a simple blood test, specific IgE testing measures the level of IgE antibodies in response to individual allergens. Armed with this information, healthcare providers are better equipped to create personalized treatment plans and an asthma action plan for patients. Additionally, regional respiratory profiles can help pinpoint allergens specific to your local area, providing additional assistance for targeted therapy.
While there is no cure for allergies or asthma, your healthcare provider can help you keep these conditions under control. Allergy tests are a key component of managing allergic asthma. By understanding your sensitivities, you can avoid exposure and help prevent allergic reactions and subsequent asthma symptoms.6
Patients, click here to download our free Guide to Understanding Your Seasonal Allergies
Providers, click here to download our ImmunoCAP® Specific IGE Testing Overview