May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

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The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has declared the month of May National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

This month is the ideal time to be aware of any food allergy that may affect you or your family. It is also a good time to learn how asthma and allergies can be related. According to the Mayo Clinic, both of these can occur together. Although it is rare for food allergies to cause asthma symptoms, it can happen.

Eight foods are the most common ones to cause food allergies

Peanuts are included in the list of the eight foods that cause the most food allergies. These eight cause between 50 and 90 percent of all of the serious food allergy reactions. Besides peanuts, milk, eggs, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish are common causes of severe food allergic reactions. Most people allergic to these foods have hives, rashes, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea as symptoms of their food allergy. These symptoms are usually present before coughing and wheezing appears. At this time, emergency medical treatment is needed.

Allergic asthma is not always related to food allergies

Asthma can be triggered by substances that also trigger hay fever. It results in tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and wheezing. Some of the common substances that can trigger asthma are pollen, dust mites and pet dander. Sometimes food allergies can cause asthma symptoms as well. The best way to treat allergic asthma is to avoid the substances that trigger it. Staying inside during the worst allergy season and eliminating dust mites and pet dander in your home are helpful steps to take.

How are both allergies and asthma treated?

Currently, there are no cures for a peanut allergy and other food allergies. Avoiding the food is the main way to control the allergy, but this can be difficult to do since foods that you may be allergic to can be hidden with other ingredients. For this reason, it is very important to read ingredients on labels very carefully. Patients who have allergic asthma, the type that is triggered by pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or other environmental substances often benefit from allergy shots. These shots train the immune system not to overreact to substances that trigger asthma.

Make an appointment with your allergist today

If you or your child has an allergy to any food, whether it's to peanuts or one of the other eight common food allergies that cause serious problems for people, it is important to have your medications on hand.

If you have asthma, you need to have an emergency asthma inhaler with you at all times. Something that you eat could trigger an asthma attack. Your allergist will determine which medications you need.

Make sure that your allergy or asthma medicine is not expired

Since May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, it is a great time to check your asthma inhalers and any allergy medication that you have for expiration dates. Be sure to order refills if you are running low or if your medicines are expired.

By GBTrainwreck on Mon, 05-06-13, 16:58

I think it's great to know alternatives and what allergies you have. Just this Saturday I had an asthma attack, or it could have been an allergic reaction, but I have no idea which. I haven't been checked out for allergies in years and it's really important to keep up with these things.

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