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Why Is It Hard To Breathe With Allergies

How Is Allergic Asthma Diagnosed

why does my chest hurt and it’s hard to breathe

A skin prick test is the common way to check for allergies. Your doctor will poke your skin with a needle containing a small amount of an allergen. After 20 minutes, your doctor will check your skin for red bumps. These bumps are a sign of an allergic reaction.

Additional tests that can check whether you have asthma along with your allergies include:

  • spirometry: measures the amount of air you inhale and exhale, and looks for narrowing in the bronchial tubes of your lungs
  • peak flow:a simple test of lung function, this measures air pressure as you breathe out
  • lung function: checks whether your breathing improves after you use an asthma medication called a bronchodilator

Treating allergic asthma can involve treating the allergy, the asthma, or both.

Get A Good Air Purifier

While a decent HVAC air filter is important for indoor air quality, you can step it up a notch further by getting a mechanical air purifier. These devices use multiple filters and even UV light to remove allergens from the air much more effectively than an HVAC filter alone.

Air purifiers come in a variety of qualities and sizes, and what kind you get depends on your individual needs. You can get a small, portable device for use in a single room or you can even get a large, whole-house air purifier that hooks up to your home’s main ventilation.

Some air purifiers are better than others, and their advertising can be deceptive. Look for air purifiers that are certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to ensure that the one you buy can filter common allergens from the air.

HEPA filters are considered to be one of best high-quality air purifiers and is the gold standard for mechanical air filtration. They use multiple filtration steps and can screen out least 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger from the air.

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:

  • Farmers
  • 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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Looking For Treatment For Your Nasal Obstruction Or Chronic Sinusitis

With chronic sinusitis, sinusitis lasts longer than 12 weeks.

However, unlike acute sinusitis, which a sinus infection often causes, chronic sinusitis isn’t typically caused by bacteria and doesn’t usually get better with your typical treatment like antibiotics. It’s often referred to as chronic rhinosinusitis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 28.9 million individuals received a sinusitis diagnosis.

What Nasal And Sinus Problems May Lead To Breathing Difficulty

why asthma makes it hard to breath

Breathing difficulty can be caused by numerous factors, including sinus and nasal conditions that lead to restricted, congested or inflamed nasal passages.

Sinus and nasal problems that cause breathing issues may include:

  • Chronic sinusitis, which can cause nasal congestion and post-nasal drip
  • Deviated septum
  • Enlarged nasal turbinates
  • Allergic rhinitis

Simply put, any sinus or nasal problem that leads to potential nasal obstruction, either due to a physical, structural issue or due to an inflammatory sinus condition can be the source of breathing difficulty.

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Indirect Consequences Of Stress And Anxiety

The way we breathe is a powerful aspect of self-expression. Anxiety, emotional constipation, and other habits of mind and dysfunctional and self-limiting behavioural patterns might be associated with strong breathing patterns, especially shallow breathing.

Shallow breath is what we do when we literally hide . It is also what we do when we feel like we want to hide! Deep breathing is one of the main practical suggestions for fighting anxiety. Its a feedback loop.

Habitually breathing shallowly can be so subtle for so long that we dont even realize theres a problem until all the contributing factors and bad habits and vicious cycles are too deeply entrenched to break free a classic boiling frog kind of problem.

All of this is a rather complicated mess to try to sort out, but Im not going to leave you hanging. Here are several relevant, practical self-help articles. They all focus on what you can do about these issues:

Identify The Early Signs Of Possible Breathing Allergies

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Breathing allergies affect your daily life, but early detection can limit the impact and help you breathe easy. Learning the early signs and symptoms of an allergy to mold, dust, pollen or other airborne irritants helps you recognize when to call an experienced pulmonary doctor for testing and treatment.

The Development Of Respiratory Allergies

Respiratory allergies develop when your body reacts to specific irritants in the air. Not everyone reacts the same way to the same substances. Some common triggers for breathing-related allergies include mold, dust mites, pollen and pet dander.

Sometimes allergy symptoms are seasonal, so you may notice that they only develop at certain times of year. Situational allergies might develop only when youre in the presence of the trigger, so you may notice breathing problems when around pets, for example, but the symptoms go away once you leave the room or the pet owners home.

Your allergy could be quite different from a friends allergic reaction, so dont rely on someone elses symptoms to diagnose or rule out your own allergies. Some people have seasonal allergies in the fall or spring, while others might experience allergy symptoms year-round. Symptoms might exist at a consistent low level throughout the day or get worse when you go outside or move indoors, depending on the particular allergen setting off a reaction.

Common Early Symptoms Of Breathing Allergies

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Masks And Asthma Copd

Asthma sufferers typically have triggers that set off attacks and make it harder to breathe. Some people are triggered by cold and dry air, which isnt a problem when wearing a mask. Masks tend to trap in warmer, moist air, which will make it easier to breathe for these people. In fact, some masks are designed specifically to help keep in moisture and warmth and may make life more comfortable for those who suffer from this kind of asthma.

On the other hand, many asthmatics have the opposite problem warmer, moister air sets off their asthma. This can make it difficult or even dangerous to wear a mask, which is doubly difficult given the social scorn and restrictions put on people who arent wearing masks in these trying times.

COPD is another disease caused by restricted airflow due to inflammation. In addition to temperature and humidity, COPD sufferers may be set off by irritants like smoke, dust, and chemicals. Since stores and other public venues are being extra careful with cleaning and sanitizing their environments, the residual chemicals in the air can set off attacks.

If you have asthma, COPD, or other breathing problems set off by wearing a mask, there are some things you can do.

Of course, make sure you have whatever inhalers and other medications you need on hand in case you do have an attack at an inopportune moment.

How Do Allergies Affect Lung Health

Acid Reflux: Hard to Breathe?

Asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath are closely related to allergies. Allergens such as ragweed, pollen, animal dander, or dust mites can trigger these symptoms. Irritants in the air like smoke, chemical fumes, strong odors, or extreme weather conditions can also be triggers. In more extreme cases, hypersensitivity pneumonitis can occur. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an allergic reaction that causes inflammation in the lung tissue and the smallest airways.

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Ways Humidity Affects Asthma

Allergens, chemicals and strong scents are common triggers for the almost 25 million Americans with asthma. But high humidity can be just as troublesome.

People with asthma have inflamed airways that are sensitive to things that may not bother other people. Thats why humidity, and all that comes with it, can be a problem for people with asthma.1 Here are some reasons why.

1. Humid air feels harder to breathe in. Some believe moist air is heavier and harder to breathe. Heat and humidity usually occur together. So when the air is harder to breathe, your body temperature can go up, causing you to sweat. This can lead to dehydration, which can make you breathe faster. All of this combined can trigger asthma symptoms.

Consider spending time outdoors in the mornings or evenings when heat and humidity levels tend to be lower. This can be especially important if you exercise outdoors.

2. Humidity can mean extreme temperatures. Since humidity usually is highest in the summer, extreme heat can aggravate your airways, just like extreme cold air can. Asthmatic lungs tend to be more sensitive to extreme temperatures.2

Sudden changes in temperature can affect your lungs too. If youve ever left a dry, cold air-conditioned building to go outside into hot, humid air, you know the change in air and temperature can be quite a shock. If you have asthma, the sudden change can actually cause an asthma attack.

Where Exactly To Massage

The main muscles of respiration are:

And heres one more minor respiratory muscle in the low back that could be clinically significant:

  • The quadratus lumborum is a sheet of muscle spanning from the pelvis to the lower rib. A crampy quadratus lumborum can pull down on the lower rib like an action hero clinging to the landing skid of a helicopter. It may painfully resist elevation of the rib cage during inhalation and/or hurt when contracting to pull it down during exhalation. Read more about quadratus lumborum massage.

It is also well worthwhile to massage other muscles throughout the neck, shoulders, and chest. Even the upper back! Soothing them may indirectly help the actual respiration muscles. And even if they dont control breathing themselves, they often produce sensations that feel related to breathing in a way that is hard to describe. Feeling stiff in the upper back often has a lot of sensory overlap with shortness of breath they are similar and probably related sensations.

For instance, its startling how much trigger points between the shoulder blades can feel related to breathing . After professional massage of this area, patients often say something like, I feel like I can breathe again! Even if they didnt feel short of breath to begin with!

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Gluten And Wheat Allergy: Can They Cause Actual Breathing Problems

Gluten sensitivity is a medical condition that was not as widely known until quite recently. However, it can get quite serious and although it is not as harmful as the actual Celiac disease, it can be dangerous for ones health as well.

If you want to find out more about this type of sensitivity, about its relationship with wheat and, even more about its relationship with the respiratory system, then read on.

What Causes Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

What is Asthma

There are more than 300 known allergens that, when inhaled as a fine dust, can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Some breathing problems have names based on where the allergen comes from:

  • Farmers lung. Seen in farmers and cattle workers, this condition is caused by inhaling mold that grows on hay, straw, and grain.
  • Bird fanciers lung. Also called pigeon breeders disease, this condition is caused by inhaling dust specks from feathers or droppings of many types of birds.
  • Humidifier lung. This condition can develop by inhaling a fungus that grows in humidifiers, air conditioners, and heating systems, especially if they are not cleaned regularly.
  • Hot tub lung. This condition may develop by inhaling germs found in the water mist coming from indoor hot tubs.

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What Are The Causes Of Allergic Asthma

You develop allergies when your immune system overreacts to the presence of a harmless substance called an allergen. Some people may develop breathing problems from inhaling allergens. This is known as allergic asthma. It occurs when the airways swell as part of an allergic reaction.

In general, inhaled allergens cause allergic asthma. Some allergens that can cause this condition include:

  • pollen
  • strong odors, including scented lotions and perfumes
  • chemical fumes

Less common allergens that can cause an asthmatic reaction include:

  • cockroaches
  • wheat
  • tree nuts

Even though an asthmatic reaction to these allergens is less common, they may cause a more serious reaction.

Allergic asthma and regular asthma have the same symptoms. They include:

  • wheezing

If you have hay fever or skin allergies, you might also experience:

  • itchy skin

If you swallowed the allergen, these symptoms might be present as well:

What Is Tightness In The Chest

Chest tightness describes any discomfort that occurs between your lower neck and upper belly area. Tightness in the chest may be felt all over the chest area or located in one spot or several spots in the chest.

Chest tightness can occur in any age group. It is sometimes described as chest pressure, chest pain, or a feeling of fullness or weight in the chest.

The sensation of chest tightness varies from person to person in terms of how it feels and how often it occurs. Some people may experience chest tightness only once, while others with certain conditions may experience it more frequently.

Many people assume they are having a heart attack when they experience chest tightness, but there are many reasons why you may be having it.

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When To See An Allergist

See an allergist if you develop unexplained wheezing that keeps coming back or along with other symptoms, such as rapid breathing or problems taking in air.

If you begin wheezing after being stung by an insect, taking medication or eating something you are allergic to, then get emergency treatment. You should also seek emergency treatment if you have difficulty breathing or your skin turns blue.

If you have mild wheezing that comes with a cold or an upper respiratory infection, you might not need treatment.

Learn How To Manage Symptoms

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The good news is that todays treatments for and allergies mainly medication and inhalers are very effective.

Theyre relatively easy to use and have minimal side effects, Dr. Purcell says. When symptoms are more severe or do not respond to other measures, allergy shots is very effective.

One option that should not be on the table is letting allergic asthma ruin your quality of life. The goal is to manage your condition so that it never limits the activities you love because they trigger an allergic reaction, he says.

Working with your doctor will help you find a treatment plan that works for you.

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How Air Purifiers Can Help

An air purifier removes some of the contaminants and improves the quality of indoor air. Airfree products may help allergy sufferers by reducing contaminants such as organic particles that cause odor and other allergens.

Choose Airfree for a natural solution to reduce allergens and mold in your home. Our purifiers do more than cleaning the air you breathe. An Airfree purifier can help reducing the number of bacteria, dust mites, fungi, pollen, viruses, allergens and microorganisms, leaving behind noticeably fresher air.

Find a dealer today to determine the product that works best for your allergies.

Preventing Shortness Of Breath Due To Allergies

Its not always possible to avoid allergens that you encounter outdoors. By taking your medication, you may be able to avoid a strong allergic reaction that makes it hard to breathe. Exercising indoors when pollen counts are high or in areas where air pollution is prevalent can also help you breathe easier despite your allergies.

Frequently cleaning your home by dusting and vacuuming each week and keeping the environment dry prevents mold and other allergens from accumulating and causing respiratory issues. An Airfree air purifier can help you breathe easier , scrubbing out some microorganisms that can make you sick and trigger an allergic reaction.

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General Tips For Picking And Wearing A Mask With Breathing Issues

Regardless of your potential breathing issues, there are some tips and tricks for picking a mask and for wearing your mask to help minimize the problems you encounter.

First, consider picking a mask made out of cloth or a more breathable material than your standard face mask. Many such masks are made of heavy materials and restrict breathing through small openings with filters, and that makes it harder to get the high volume airflow you need. There are dozens of different designs of masks out there now, from high-quality cloth masks to near-medical grade equipment, so pick something that is breathable, comfortable, and works best for your situation.

Next, if your mask has a filter that you can replace, make sure youre replacing it often. Filters, when they do their job, trap particulate matter in the filter rather than letting it pass through into your lungs. Unfortunately, the filters dont let that particulate go when you breathe out, so it remains trapped in the filter. That means over time, the filter will clog up, and its ability to pass air will get worse and worse.

The typical lifespan of a filter depends on the filter material and the usage. A mask used in a dusty environment will need to be replaced near-daily , but the average person wearing a mask to go grocery shopping wont need to replace it nearly as often. If you notice that youre having difficulty breathing through your mask when you didnt before, replace the filter.

How Allergies Affect Copd

Asthma Airways Images

Seasonal nasal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, tend to peak in the summer. However, they can start as early as the spring and last late into the fall, since these warmer months are when plants, mold, fungi, and dust mites thrive.

Some people experience allergies during the winter, too, although it is less common. Most winter allergies come from spending extra time in indoor places with dust and mold.

All of these different factors can trigger respiratory symptoms for the more than 24 million people in the US who suffer from seasonal allergies. But for people who suffer from COPD as well, the pollen, mold spores, and generally poor air quality can actually make their disease worse.

If you suffer from allergies and breathe in allergens like pollen or mold, it triggers the release of histamine that affects your upper and lower respiratory tracts. Histamine causes an inflammatory response, causing irritation, swelling, and increased mucus secretion in the lungs and airways.

Here are some common symptoms associated with seasonal allergies:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Excess mucus production
  • Coughing and sneezing

As you can see, many allergy symptoms are respiratory symptoms that have the potential to interact or compound with existing symptoms of COPD like coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For example, an allergic reaction can cause excess mucus production and swelling in the airways, which in turn blocks airflow and makes it even more difficult to breathe.

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