Asthma and allergies are both common chronic diseases in children, but there are some key differences between the two. Symptoms of asthma and allergies can sometimes overlap, but it’s important to be able to tell them apart. So, how can you tell the difference between asthma and allergies? This article will cover just that.
1. How Frequent Are the Symptoms?
One of the main ways to tell the difference between asthma and allergies is the frequency of symptoms. Allergies are often seasonal, meaning they occur at specific times of the year when the person is exposed to certain triggers. For example, someone with seasonal allergies may only have symptoms during the spring when pollen counts are high. On the other hand, asthma symptoms can occur year-round and may be triggered by various things, such as cold air, exercise, or emotional stress.
2. How Long Do the Symptoms Last?
Another way to tell the difference between asthma and allergies is the duration of symptoms. Allergy symptoms are usually short-lived and go away once the person is no longer exposed to the trigger. Asthma symptoms, however, can last for minutes to hours and may even persist for days.
3. What Are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of asthma and allergies can also be different. Allergy symptoms are typically limited to the nose and eyes and may include itching, watery eyes, and sneezing. On the other hand, asthma symptoms can affect the entire body and may include shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing.
4. How Do the Symptoms Affect the Person?
Another way to tell the difference between asthma and allergies is how the symptoms affect the person. Allergy symptoms are usually mild and can be easily managed with over-the-counter medications. Asthma symptoms, on the other hand, can be severe and may require prescription medications or even hospitalization.
5. How Do the Attacks Start?
Another way to tell the difference between asthma and allergies is how the attacks start. Allergy attacks often start gradually and may get worse over time. Asthma attacks, on the other hand, often start suddenly and can quickly become severe. They can also be triggered by various things, such as cold air, exercise, or emotional stress.
6. How Is the Throat Affected?
When you have asthma, it can feel like something is stuck in your throat or that your throat is sore and itchy. On the other hand, allergies can cause your throat to feel like it’s closing up. You can usually tell the difference between the two by asking your child to swallow or take a deep breath. With asthma, you’ll usually just feel soreness and itchiness, but with allergies, you may feel like you’re choking.
7. Is the Cough Wet or Dry?
Asthma is a condition in which the airways swell and produce excess mucus, making breathing difficult. Allergies are triggered when the body’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen or pet dander. An asthma cough is typically dry and unproductive, while an allergy cough is wet and pronounced.
8. Is the Person Wheezing?
Asthmatic wheezing is a high-pitched, raspy noise that can sometimes be heard even when the child is not talking. On the other hand, allergic wheezing is more low-pitched and sounds similar to your own heavy breathing during exercise.
It is important to distinguish between asthma and an allergy reaction, as they are two separate conditions. Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways, while an allergy is a reaction to a specific trigger. There are key differences between the two, including the symptoms and the treatment. If you are unsure which condition you have, it is best to consult with a doctor.
Aspen Medical Center provides primary care and urgent care. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. If you need a primary care physician in Santa Fe, get in touch with us today!