Respiratory Irritation And How It Relates To Seasonal Allergies
Respiratory Irritation Overview
Spring is almost the most alluring time for many of us, with a mild temperature, flowers blooming, and more outdoor activities. Family and friends organize picnics and outdoor grills to enjoy the weather change after months of staying indoors during the frosts. Unfortunately, people with seasonal allergies would not be that excited. The change in season, especially during spring, summers, and fall, brings about some common allergies caused by the pollen grains in the air from various trees, plants, and weeds.
One of the common symptoms of seasonal allergies is respiratory irritation, which is most probably triggered in people who already suffer from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sinusitis, or a history of asthma. Seasonal allergies cause symptoms in your nose, throat, lungs, sinuses, and ears, causing it to be more difficult to breathe due to various nasal irritation. Let us have an insight into how various respiratory irritation is related to seasonal allergies.
Causes of Respiratory Irritation due to Seasonal Allergies
Some people start getting respiratory irritation when they catch a cold. For some, it may be caused by infections like sinusitis, which can make it hard to breathe through your nose for some weeks until you recover from inflammation and your sinuses begin to drain.
Many others have long-term or chronic respiratory irritations related to COPD. These may include chronic sinusitis, asthma, and allergies due to pollen, dander, dust, food, or cockroaches. Our nasal passage is a pathway of air to enter our lungs. This may also let many viruses and allergens to enter our lungs that may cause various lung disorders.
In the nasal passage, sinus inflammation due to an encounter of pollen in various seasons may trigger respiratory irritation causing asthma attacks. Seasonal allergies are the foremost cause of an asthma attack. In America, more than 50 million people have allergies, and 17 million people have asthma. Often the two are triggered together and can make life miserable without proper treatment and follow up.
Millions of other people may also have respiratory irritation due to emphysema and chronic bronchitis that may also be triggered due to an encounter with pollen in different seasons.
Symptoms of Respiratory Irritation
The common symptoms that would cause respiratory irritation in children or adults may include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Watery or itchy eyes.
- Chest congestion
- Trouble in breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness of chest
Symptoms of respiratory irritation may be mild to severe, depending on the history of the patient.
Tips to Avoid Respiratory Irritation
If someone already suffers from COPD or other respiratory problems, they may get triggered due to seasonal allergies. The best way is to avoid exposure to potential allergens that you may know could aggravate your symptoms. You should be familiar with your triggers and take steps to prevent severe conditions. Here are tips for dealing with seasonal allergies:
- Beware of the pollen count: Some allergy bureau sites provide reports on pollen and mold amounts for your area on specific seasons. You can plan your day accordingly, trying to stay indoors on heavier count days.
- Stay indoors: When you know your allergens, it is a good idea to stay inside at their highest count outdoors.
- Treat your symptoms by getting professional help: talk to your physician or allergist on ways you can prevent the symptoms from occurring in the first place. There are different medications available to help in the prevention of various allergies.
- Purify your environment: A good filtration system can help you purify your indoor air from pollens and various allergy triggers like dust, dander or fur, etc. You can get it installed in your air conditioner while keeping windows and doors closed.
Treatment for Respiratory Irritations Due to Seasonal Allergies
There are various over the counter and prescribed medications that are recommended during a respiratory attack. The treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. These treatments include:
- Bronchodilators: These are medications that help to relax the airways and improve your ability to breathe. They may be in the form of syrups or inhalers.
- Steroids: These help in reducing inflammation development in the airways. Various inhalers and nasal sprays contain steroids that help reduce the symptoms.
- Antibiotics: These help in treating lung infections that may aggravate your COPD. Doctors prescribe antibiotics, depending on the condition of the patient.
- Oxygen therapy: This is getting additional oxygen and can depend on the lack of oxygen in your body recommended for several hours throughout the day.
- Antihistamines: These are taken by the mouth or in the nose. Sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes can be released by using antihistamines. They also help to treat runny nose and nasal stuffiness that will help in breathing better.
- Decongestants: These are taken by the mouth or in the nose, in the form of sprays or drops. They thin the nasal lining, which relieves the stuffiness of the nasal passages providing some relief to respiratory irritation as well.
- Nebulizer: A nebulizer machine is used to treat severe cough symptoms due to respiratory irritation. The liquid medication is inhaled through vapors along with a mask or spacer.
- Immunotherapy There is no complete drug relief for people with allergies. They would be recommended for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a long-term procedure that may help avoid or mitigate the duration of allergic responses by adjusting the immune response to allergens and changing the course of allergic disease.
It has been seen that often people search for medical support only after weeks or months of respiratory irritation. When they continue to take drugs, the infection can take longer to recover. The proper diagnosis is crucial before respiratory irritation can be treated and avoided due to seasonal allergies. We all are different. You cannot be prescribed the same medications on which your friend or family member would have been.
Consult the doctor if you have signs of one or more common respiratory conditions. Prevention and treatments may lead to alleviating and potentially ending respiratory problems.
Written by: Madiha Ather Hashmi (November 23, 2020)
- WebMD (2019). “Breathing Problems: Causes, Tests, and Treatments”. WebMD.
- Lung Health Institute (2020). “Treatment Options for Lung Disease”. Lung Health Institute.
- April Kahn (2019). “Allergic Asthma”. Healthline.
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Last Updated on July 5, 2023