Breathing allergies affect your daily life, but early detection can limit the impact and help you breathe easy. Learning the early signs and symptoms of an allergy to mold, dust, pollen or other airborne irritants helps you recognize when to call an experienced pulmonary doctor for testing and treatment.
The Development Of Respiratory Allergies
Respiratory allergies develop when your body reacts to specific irritants in the air. Not everyone reacts the same way to the same substances. Some common triggers for breathing-related allergies include mold, dust mites, pollen and pet dander.
Sometimes allergy symptoms are seasonal, so you may notice that they only develop at certain times of year. Situational allergies might develop only when you’re in the presence of the trigger, so you may notice breathing problems when around pets, for example, but the symptoms go away once you leave the room or the pet owner’s home.
Your allergy could be quite different from a friend’s allergic reaction, so don’t rely on someone else’s symptoms to diagnose or rule out your own allergies. Some people have seasonal allergies in the fall or spring, while others might experience allergy symptoms year-round. Symptoms might exist at a consistent low level throughout the day or get worse when you go outside or move indoors, depending on the particular allergen setting off a reaction.
Common Early Symptoms Of Breathing Allergies
Allergies that affect your breathing sometimes start with subtle symptoms. You might mistake allergies for a mild cold at first. In general, the initial signs of a breathing allergy include a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. Mucus forms in the airways in response to the presence of allergens and makes it harder to breathe. In some cases, not all symptoms occur at first, and your symptoms may get more serious over time.
Other non-breathing-related symptoms might accompany the breathing allergy symptoms. Allergens in the air that get into your nose and mouth often get into your eyes, too. Itchy eyes that occur along with your breathing difficulties are often a sign that an environmental allergen is involved.
If allergy symptoms go untreated, you might develop a severe, life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Allergies might also be associated with asthma or other breathing disorders.
Differentiating The Symptoms Of Allergies And Asthma
The symptoms of asthma and breathing allergies often overlap, so you might need testing to determine the exact source of your breathing difficulties. Allergens are also a common trigger for asthma episodes. This happens when the allergen moves from your nose and throat down to your lungs and sets off an asthma attack. In fact, allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma, and most people with asthma have at least one breathing allergy as well.
Signs that your breathing difficulties might be related to asthma and not just a result of allergies include coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightening and wheezing, which is characterized by a whistling sound when you breathe. Symptoms of asthma range from mild to severe, and the milder forms are easy to confuse with allergies.
Allergy Testing After Experiencing Symptoms
If your symptoms indicate that you might have a breathing allergy, testing can help determine the specific triggers. Allergy testing at Respacare doesn’t involve any needles or invasive procedures, and there’s no need for a specialist referral to get tested. Once you know your allergy triggers, you can develop avoidance techniques and get treatment to help reduce the symptoms.
Respacare has two convenient locations, in Bridgewater and Flemington, New Jersey, where you can get allergy testing to find the source of your breathing allergy symptoms. For more information about allergy testing and treatment, contact Respacare at 732-356-9950 to set up an appointment.