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Allergies or Asthma: Is There a Difference?

Did you know that about 17 to 18 million people suffer from asthma in the U.S.? And of those, about half are allergic. This is because the reaction that causes asthma is very similar to what causes allergies. 

At Wasatch Peak Family Practice, it’s important to us that you’re well-informed about your health. So, our doctors have created this guide to help you learn about the similarities and differences between allergies and asthma

Allergies vs. asthma 

Allergies and asthma are similar, in that they’re both characterized by reactions to outside substances, like pollen, dust, or dander. The difference between allergies and asthma lies in the location of the reaction. If the reaction happens in your nose, then you’ll experience congestion and sneezing. If the reaction happens in your lungs then you’ll experience an asthma attack like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. 

There is no clear indicator of why some people experience allergies and why some experience asthma. Though, researchers believe that a genetic predisposition determines which you’ll have. Additionally, those with continuous allergies, like hay fever, are at risk for developing asthma, so it’s important to get your allergies treated early.

Treating allergies vs. treating asthma 

In both cases, it’s important to recognize what triggers the reactions. If you have asthma, you may be triggered by dust, pet dander, or mold. Similar things can trigger allergies, and may change with the seasons. 

Allergies can be treated with allergy shots. These shots treat allergies by gradually lessening your immune-system response to certain allergic triggers. The shots work by using a method of treatment known as immunotherapy, which introduces a small dose of allergens into your system over time. This helps your immune system build up a tolerance to the allergens over time, thereby lessening symptoms. 

Asthma can be treated with medications that are administered through an inhaler, which takes the medication directly into your lungs and airways where the allergic reactions occur. These inhalers are particularly helpful as they are quick acting in cases of emergencies like asthma attacks.   

Get treatment today 

Both allergies and asthma can change as time goes on. Both can either worsen, improve, or even disappear as you age. At Wasatch Peak Family Practice, we understand that every body is different, and we seek to treat the whole individual rather than just your symptoms. We work with you to identify your symptoms and their triggers to formulate the best treatment plan so that you can manage a normal life despite your symptoms. 

Both allergies and asthma can have severe consequences if left untreated. So, you’ll want to seek treatment sooner rather than later. Call us or make an appointment on our website today. 

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