How Does A Doctor Diagnose The Cause Of Wheezing
If you visit your doctor with wheezing symptoms, theyll likely begin by giving you a physical exam to rule out possible health conditions. If your doctor finds abnormalities with your lungs and airways, theyll measure how much air moves in and out as you breathe with lung function tests.
Before and after performing pulmonary tests, your doctor will have you take a medication called a bronchodilator that opens up your airways. Theyll use special medical devices that you breathe into to perform the following tests:
- Spirometry. This measures how well your lungs function compared to healthy lungs.
- Peak flow. This test that measures how hard you can breathe out. If your airways are narrowing, this number will be lower than expected.
Additional tests to diagnose the cause of wheezing include:
Your doctor will analyze the results of your tests to arrive at the appropriate diagnosis.
If they suspect you have allergies, your doctor may ask you to keep a detailed diary of the foods you eat, symptoms, and possible allergy triggers other than food. If diagnostic tests suggest you have asthma, your doctor will classify its severity using a symptom-based scale:
Treatment plans for allergies and asthma vary. When addressing wheezing as a symptom of allergies or asthma, it can be minimized with medications or the use of an inhaler.
Can Seasonal Allergies Make You Feel Sick
There is evidence that adults with seasonal allergies have a unique gut microbiomewhich includes the population of bacteria in the digestive systemcompared with those who dont experience seasonal allergies. One such study from 2015 was conducted as part of the American Gut Project and found a low diversity of gut bacteria.
In addition, seasonal allergies are known to cause sinus inflammation, but that isnt the only area that can become inflamed. In fact, Shawn Nasseri, MD, ENT-otolaryngologist based in Los Angeles and co-founder of Euka, notes that during seasonal allergies, foods may be consumed that can cause inflammation in the airways, skin and in our gut.
This means you can stack minor, otherwise inconsequential allergic reactions together with seasonal pollen and allergens that can cause an increase in allergy symptoms, continues Dr. Nasseri. Histamine is released in the body and enters the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause gas, bloating, nausea, stomach pains and diarrhea.
He notes specific foods that can make seasonal allergy symptoms worse may include
A 2014 study published in Clinical and Translational Allergy specifically examined adults whose seasonal allergies included birch pollen they were found to have marked inflammation in the intestine, which was aggravated seasonally.
How To Manage Allergies
- Keep your home, especially your bedroom, as dust-free as possible.
- Bathe pets frequently keep them off your bed and upholstered furniture.
- Close windows in your home and car.
- Limit time outdoors when pollen, molds, or other triggers are high.
- An air purifyer may help, but they receive mixed reviews.
- Shower and wash your hair at the end of the day.
- Try a saline nasal rinse or neti pot.
- Wear clean clothes each day.
- For sneezing, runny nose, post-nasal drainage, and itchy, watery eyes, take an over-the-counter antihistamine.
- For inflamed, irritated eyes, use OTC allergy eye drops. If drops contain a decongestant as noted on the packaging, don’t use them more than four days in a row.
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Keeping A Record Of Your Symptoms
Keep a diary that describes your symptoms and when and where they occur. Your diary could include information about whether your symptoms occur:
- inside your home, outside or both
- for a short time or longer
- at night, during the day or when you wake up
- at a particular time of the year
- after you have been stung or bitten by an insect
- after you have had a particular food or drink
- after you have taken a particular medication, either prescription or over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket
- after you have taken a herbal medicine.
Hay Fever Pollution Hot Weather And Thunderstorms
Lots of people find their hay fever is worse when theres high pollution, especially as hot weather makes pollution worse. Pollution molecules stick to pollen grains, so they hang about in the air longer and are harder to get out of your airways.
Thunderstorms can also cause your symptoms to get worse or flare up, because they smash pollen into tiny bits that go deeper into your lungs.
These three steps will reduce your risk of and asthma attack or your lung condition symptoms flaring up from pollen combined with heat, high pollution or thunderstorms:
- Make sure you carry your reliever inhaler . If you have asthma and need to use it three or more times a week, book an urgent GP appointment.
- Try to stay away from the trigger take extra care if youre out and about in the heat, or if the pollen count or the level of pollution is high. You could use a weather app on your phone to get weather and pollen alerts.
- Take hay fever medicines to help reduce the allergic reaction that could be making your symptoms worse see our hay fever treatments page.
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How To Alleviate Allergies Causing Shortness Of Breath For Days
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, shortness of breath can be a sign of asthma, but certain conditions can trigger shortness of breath with allergies. If you have allergies , pollen and other allergens can cause shortness of breath and other respiratory challenges for days. Airfree air purifiercan help reduce allergens in your home so you can be safer against shortness of breath allergies cause.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Also sometimes called emphysema or chronic bronchitis, COPD is often caused by smoking and can make you short of breath. It causes inflammation and thickening of the airways, which causes less oxygen to enter and less carbon dioxide to leave. Your doctor can provide medication, or you may need to use an oxygen tank if symptoms get worse.
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What To Do If You Think Your Allergies Are Causing Your Shortness Of Breath
Figuring out whats making you feel so bad is a vital first step. If you find that your shortness of breath is associated with something youre doing like exercise or the physical environment youre in, its important to note that, Dr. Elliott says. Treat the source. Dont wait until you feel short of breath and then try and treat that symptom, she says. Then, you can take your findings to an allergist or a primary care doctor if you have one. Your doctor may run a few tests to identify your allergy triggers and possibly diagnose you with asthma. A skin prick test involves lightly pricking your skin to introduce small amounts of potential allergens into your system and watching for signs of a reaction, according to the Mayo Clinic. You may also perform a few breathing assessments like a bronchoprovocation test, which helps identify allergic asthma triggers, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
If you have new or worsening shortness of breath and suspect allergies are to blame, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, if you have one, or an allergist to help you get an answer and, more importantly, treatment. People should be able to breathe easy during allergy season, Dr. Oppenheimer says.
What About Herbal Remedies
If your tight chest and wheezing are being caused by seasonal allergies, then you may find a remedy for seasonal allergies to be effective in easing these symptoms, as well as other seasonal allergies symptoms you are experiencing.
For example, Pollinosan Allergy Relief Tablets combines several different herbs which work together to relieve seasonal allergies symptoms. They can be found in the original formula devised by Alfred Vogel.
However, you may also find that easing congestion will ease your feeling of tightness in the chest, and thus a decongestant may be beneficial to you. Sinna Nasal Spray can be used alongside Polinosan seasonal allergies Tablets, and will clear and soothe nasal passages.
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Diagnosis Of Pollen Allergies
If you have allergic symptoms that seem to appear at certain times of the year, you should visit your doctor, who will ask some questions about your allergic reactions. You can also discuss your record of your symptoms. To diagnose your allergy, your doctor may refer you to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.
Clinical immunology/allergy specialists can test for allergies using a number of methods depending on the type of potential allergy. To test for an allergy to pollens, the clinical immunology/allergy specialist may use a skin prick test or a blood test for allergies. The results will be interpreted and considered together with your clinical history.
is available on the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website.
When Are You Most Vulnerable To Shortness Of Breath Allergies
During hot summer days, airborne allergies may become dangerous. High pollen counts indicate that there are tons of allergens into the air that can enter into your home and cause you to sneeze, itch and have difficulty breathing. If you have asthma or allergies that cause shortness of breath when you exercise, its even more important to protect yourself by making precautions to avoid allergens, as purifying the air that you breathe.
An allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can affect more than one part of the body and have a long list of reactions, including obstruction of your airways and make it difficult to breathe. Typically, insect bites, food allergies and medications are the allergies that cause anaphylactic reaction. However, you can decrease the amount of dust, pollen and dander from your home to prevent your immune system from going into overdrive and releasing histamines and other compounds responsible for respiratory distress.
If you value your gym time, consider not leaving the house and working out at home when your allergies are at their worst. That way you can be more attentive to your symptoms and also use an air purifier in your home gym to avoid shortness of breath and other severe allergic reactions.
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The Different Types Of Pollen
- Tree pollen is a common hay fever trigger. Its the first pollen to be released during hay fever season, and levels are typically highest from late March to mid-May.
- Around 95% of peoples hay fever is triggered by grass pollen, which tends to be highest between mid-May and July. And theres strong evidence that when grass pollen levels are high, people with asthma are more likely to need hospital treatment.
- Hay fever can also be triggered by weed pollen, which is highest from the end of June until September.
Why Are My Allergies Worse At Night
Its the same thing almost every single night. You brush your teeth, finish your nightly routine, climb into bed, and immediately feel congested and sneezy.
If you suffer from allergies, your symptoms most likely get worse at night. This is something you share with other allergy patients. In fact, research shows that 74% of allergy sufferers wake up during the night because of allergy symptoms and over 90% of sufferers have difficulty sleeping.
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What Causes Shortness Of Breath
Dyspnea, or shortness of breath, is generally an indicator of heart or lung problems, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Cardiac-induced shortness of breath usually happens when your heart cant properly fill up with blood and pump it to the rest of your body, a process that keeps things running smoothly, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This creates pressure in the blood vessels around the lungs, causing shortness of breath.1
Pulmonary shortness of breath happens in two ways, Tania Elliott, MD, an immunologist and clinical instructor in the department of medicine at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, tells SELF. One is youre so congested that you dont breathe in enough air through your nasal passages, she says. As a result, your lungs dont get enough oxygen.
The other is due to bronchospasm, which happens when the muscles lining the airways in the lungs spasm and constrict, Dr. Elliott says. People can have bronchospasms for many reasons, including asthma.
If you find yourself short of breath and also wheezing or coughing, that may be caused by asthma, John Oppenheimer, MD, a physician at Atlantic Medical Group in New Jersey and a clinical professor of medicine at Rutgers University, tells SELF. Asthma can flare up for numerous reasons, such as exercise or exposure to an allergen.
What Are Risk Factors For Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
If you work in jobs such as the following, you may be more likely to get hypersensitivity pneumonitis:
- Paper and wallboard makers
- Inhaling certain chemicals produced in making plastic, painting, and the electronics industry
Most people who work in these jobs dont get hypersensitivity pneumonitis. If you work in one of these jobs and have a family history, however, you may get the disease.
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Pollen Allergies Are Seasonal
The season for pollen allergies can last for several months and occurs when the plants are flowering. This will vary depending on location and the type of plant. For instance:
- Non-native trees tend to pollinate in late winter and spring.
- In Victoria, winds from the north tend to bring pollen from non-native grasses growing inland between October and December.
- White Cypress pine is the only Australian tree that produces highly allergenic pollen and it flowers approximately between late July and the end of August.
- Species of Casuarina or Australian oak trees produce pollen throughout the year and can cause hay fever symptoms at any time.
Clinical immunology/allergy specialists who diagnose allergies have online calendars showing when common species of pollen cause allergies in the states and territories of Australia.
What Is Chest Tightness Asthma Like
If you have asthma, a respiratory condition that causes breathing difficulties, you might experience chest pain. This symptom is common right before or during an asthma attack. The discomfort may feel like a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing pain. Some describe it as if they have a heavy brick sitting on their chest.
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Prepare For Pollen Season
You can be allergic to more than one kind of pollen across the year. Different pollens are released at different times, but our changeable weather makes it hard to predict exactly when. If you have hay fever symptoms all year round, you might have non-allergic rhinitis or an allergy to something else.
- If you regularly get hay fever and take antihistamines, start taking them up to four weeks before you normally get symptoms. Starting them early means that when pollen starts being released, the medication has already built up in your bloodstream so you may be less likely to react.
- If you usually use a steroid nasal spray, it can take up to two weeks to start working, so again, start using it before your personal pollen trigger is released.
What Causes Wheezing In People With Allergies
Allergies occur when the body reacts abnormally to certain substances that are otherwise harmless. When the body comes into contact with these substances, the immune system begins producing antibodies. This leads to the production of other chemicals in the body, like histamine. These chemicals cause allergy symptoms along with inflammation. The reason the body attacks some substances in some people but not others isnt fully understood.
For some people, allergic reactions affect the lungs and airways. This can lead to asthma symptoms, including wheezing.
Wheezing can sometimes be a sign of a serious problem. Call your doctor if:
- youre experiencing wheezing, even mild wheezing, for the first time
- your wheezing is recurrent
- youre wheezing but have no history of allergies
You should get immediate emergency care if the wheezing:
- is accompanied by difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, or bluish skin color
- starts suddenly after youre stung by a bee, have taken medication, or have eaten an allergy-causing food
- starts after you choke on a small object or piece of food
- is accompanied by hives or swelling of your lips or face
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Can Pregnancy Make Me More Sensitive To Hay Fever
Yes during pregnancy you may find that you are more sensitive to your allergy triggers and that they are more troublesome. While the exact reasons for this are not clear, it may be due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, and because during pregnancy your blood volume increases to support your growing baby.
If you do not have a history of allergy or hay fever and suddenly find you have symptoms, see your doctor to check for other conditions that may need to be treated.
Hay fever should not lead to serious breathing difficulties. If you feel you cant get enough air, your chest feels very tight, you are breathless, or you feel like youre being suffocated, seek medical advice immediately.
If you have unexplained breathing problems, especially if they are severe and come on quickly, call triple zero for an ambulance.
How Do Allergies Affect The Respiratory System
Allergies can cause inflammation in your lungs. This inflammation can result in coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. The symptoms of allergies, such as nasal congestion and watery eyes, come from inflammation of your body tissues. Allergies can also cause inflammation in your lungs.
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