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Asthma and Allergy

Airway Allergy and Asthma

From time to time, we have heard from parents that their children contracted airway allergy and they were in search of treatment methods, thinking that asthma is the same as airway allergy. From a medical point of view, airway allergy, like runny nose and headache, is only a symptom of a disease. It may be caused by asthma or from other sources as well. For asthma, its symptoms include airway allergy, persistent cough, chest tightness and so on. We need a doctor to make a thorough diagnosis.

Many parents do not have a proper understanding of asthma. Some believe that asthmatic children will always wheeze when breathing. But this is not the defining symptom. Some patients only have persistent cough; or they cough throughout the night or keep coughing after waking up. If your children have these symptoms only, please take them to a doctor for further examination.

Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma

Asthma and allergic rhinitis are two common allergic diseases among children. How are they related? Cough or breathing problems are often caused by post-nasal drip. While many children experience these, often their parents think it is a minor cold and miss the opportunity to get their children treated promptly for asthma or allergic rhinitis.

80% Asthma Patients Have allergic rhinitis

The medical sector has proposed the concept of ‘one airway, one disease’. Both asthma and allergic rhinitis are airway problems and are closely related. Among asthma patients, 80% of them suffer from allergic rhinitis; and those with allergic rhinitis are more prone to develop asthma. If only one problem is dealt with at a given time, the treatment may not be as effective as it should be.

For example, persistent allergic rhinitis will lower the patient’s immunity against virus. On the other hand, if asthma patients breathe in allergens infected by virus, they may develop viral bronchitis, worsening their condition. In view of this, the World Health Organization has compiled a guideline stating that we need to treat allergic rhinitis first if we want to prevent asthma.

Genetic factors and allergens in the environment may lead to allergic rhinitis and asthma. Patients need to find out what the triggers are and avoid them. If needed, they may use prescribed medicine such as antihistamine, or for asthma patients, drugs to relieve symptoms of stuffy nose or nasal spray. These will help improve their condition and gradually reduce the number of attacks.