A global campaign of the World Allergy Organization (WAO), the World Allergy Week is celebrated from June 5 to June 11 to raise awareness of the impact of allergic diseases in our societies and this year, its theme is bronchial asthma and allergic respiratory diseases. As per reports, 2 per cent of adults and 6 per cent of children in India suffer from asthma and the disease can be influenced by various factors including genetics, environment, diet and infections.
Other than all these factors, sensitivity to allergens has a critical role in disease development, severity and treatment as studies have revealed that exposure to allergens such as animal dander, house dust mites, pollen, fungi or cockroaches is a major risk factor for infection. the disease. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Vivek Choudhari, MBBS MS-ENT at Karnika Ear Hospital, Nose, Throat and Dental in Pune’s Chakan and medical advisor to Entod Pharmaceuticals shared, “People with allergic asthma are hypersensitive to certain allergens and once the substances enter causing an allergen to the body, the immune system detects it as a threat and begins to overreact.”
He added, “As a result, the muscles around the airways contract, become inflamed and normal breathing is affected. Often, a patient can experience several types of allergies and successful treatment including cleaning, education, and reduced exposure to allergens.”
Common allergens that lead to allergic asthma
Allergens can be found everywhere including outdoor and indoor environments. Because these allergens can trigger asthma symptoms quickly, it’s important to be aware of common allergens that can trigger illness. Dr. Vivek Choudary has listed the allergens that one should be aware of:
1. House dust mites – House dust mites are usually found in microscopic size in products such as pillows, mattresses, bedding, and stuffed toys. Humidity and warmth are major factors affecting their growth and they usually eat skin scales or fungi. Studies have shown that during childhood, exposure to dust mites can be considered a vital factor in developing asthma.
2. Pets – Dogs and cats commonly kept as pets around the world can be a significant source of allergens indoors. Allergens are mostly found in hair, saliva, and dander and can spread easily in the air. These allergens can stick to clothes and spread to various places.
3. cockroach – Cockroach allergens are a major problem in city homes and a leading cause of asthma. Asthma can be caused by cockroach feces, body parts, and saliva.
4. Pollen – Pollen not only triggers asthma symptoms but exacerbates them in allergy-prone individuals. The function of pollen is to carry the male gametes and transfer them to the female reproductive organ of the flower through the dispersal of insects or the wind.
Allergic asthma symptoms
Similar to different types of asthma, allergic asthma may cause the same symptoms, but the only difference lies in the trigger. According to Dr. Vivek Choudhary, some of the symptoms of allergic asthma include:
3. Rapid breathing
4. Shortness of breath
5. Chest tightness
People with asthma, who also have sensitive skin or hay fever, may experience:
2. Itchy skin
3. Itchy eyes
4. Runny nose
6. watery eyes
Tips to reduce or eliminate allergens
“Avoiding allergens is one of the best ways for asthmatics to reduce exposure to potentially allergens,” said Dr. Vivek Choudhary. He revealed some useful tips for himself:
1. Avoid dust mites – Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in carpets, mattresses, and fabrics. To avoid dust mites, it is important to wrap mattresses and pillows with allergy-resistant covers. It’s also important to make sure that bedding and bedding accessories are washed weekly in hot water. Areas where dust can collect such as upholstered furniture, heavy curtains, etc. should be properly cleaned every week.
2. The bathroom and kitchen must be kept clean and dry- To prevent the growth of molds and cockroaches, the bathrooms and kitchen should be kept clean, and if necessary, contact a pest control company.
3. While the pollen count is high, stay indoors – When the pollen count is high, it is always best to stay indoors and use an air conditioner with a clean air filter.
4. Humidity indoors must be monitored – If the moisture content inside the home is more than 40 percent, it is always advisable to use an air conditioner or dehumidifier. As a result, the indoor air will keep dry and prevent the growth of house dust, mold and cockroaches.
5. Restrict pets from entering the bedroom – Keep pets out of the bedrooms and provide them with a safe and clean place outside the home.
Although there is no cure for asthma yet, there are plenty of medications and treatments that can enhance a patient’s overall quality of life. Also, one should avoid areas or substances that could trigger a reaction.