Allergy is an increased, excessive reaction of the immune system to certain allergens. Allergens are the protein constituents of the substances that cause hypersensitivity.
Respiratory allergy may affect the whole bronchial system, in which case it is allergic asthma or inflammation of the nasal mucosa and occurs in the form of allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
Causes of respiratory allergy
Doctors basically consider genetic inheritance as responsible for the development of the disease, to which environmental impacts contribute.
With regard to asthma, the incidence of early childhood and adolescents is increasing every year, and in the age group of 50, the symptoms of persistent respiratory allergy (respiratory distress) are more frequent.
In the case of cold illnesses the most important environmental factors are urban and industrial air pollution, smoking parents, close proximity of domestic animals and unhealthy housing conditions.
Occurrence and symptoms
In the background of allergic asthma may be many causes, which require a relatively longer investigation process.
Symptoms of seasonal asthma occur during the specified period of the year. In the background of these, mainly plant pollen should be sought, which are flowering and present in the air for a given period of the year.
Symptoms of perennial asthma exist throughout the year, and most commonly causes are house dust and animal hair.
Occupational asthma is a distinct category in which further three subgroups are distinguished:
- zoological derived: It occurs among who with animal breeding and animals in laboratory;
- botanically derived: spreads among bakers and confectioners because of inhaling the large dust quantity of cereals and flour, as well as tea and coffee dust;
- enzyme origin: its prevalence is largely high among people working with detergents (washing powder), food and pharmaceuticals.
The clinical aspect of asthma can not only change from patient to patient, but also in one patient’s case. In the background of abnormal fluctuations, the airway hypersensitivity is the responsible cause.
The typical symptoms of asthma are unexpectedly heavy breathing following the inhalation of the allergen, accompanied by a feeling of cough and chest tightness.
The typical symptoms of asthma are unexpectedly heavy breathing following the inhalation of the allergen, accompanied by a feeling of cough and chest tightness. During breathing, exhalation is difficult because of the bronchial convulsion.
Allergic rhinitis may also occur seasonally or cause symptoms throughout the year.
Typical symptoms of hay fever are runny nose, sneezing, cough, itchy nose, nasal congestion, heavy breathing, itchy eyes, chest tightness.
The exact case history has a great importance: family diseases, seasonal symptoms, domesticated pets, housing conditions and occupation of the patient are all helpful in establishing the diagnosis.
Diagnosis of asthma in the event of an attack is not difficult because of the prolonged exhalation, the whirling, whistling sound issued by the bronchi. In addition to allergic tests (blood sampling and skin tests), the physician performs respiratory function tests with a spirometer and a peak flow meter.
In an asymptomatic period, allergic asthma is diagnosed with inspiratory provocation tests. In such cases asthma and allergic sensitivity can only be considered separately.
The allergy test from the blood is able to detect the specific antibodies produced by the body against each allergen. The skin test (Prick test) also leads to results.
How can the symptoms be alleviated or eliminated?
A radical but effective remedy to avoid allergens that cause the reaction, which in practica is quite impossible. In case of house dust allergy, it is advisable to remove carpets and other dusters from the apartment – plush toys, cushions, wall protectors.
The drug treatment is intended to prevent allergic attacks, reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. Anti-inflammatory drugs are used as preventative drugs in respiratory allergy (both allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis).