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How to Tell the Difference between Asthma and an Allergy Reaction

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! 


Learning Asthma’s General Impact and Its Assessment Process

Allergens are all around us, even without our awareness, affecting children and adults. Pollen, mold, dust mites, and even cigarette smoke are common causes of different allergic reactions. And when experiencing such reactions, there’s a high chance of developing asthma.

Asthma is a chronic disease that is the main contributor to a lower quality of life. It’s a serious disorder because the airways connected to the lungs are unable to function properly and allow the air to flow freely in and out.

Unfortunately, between our busy lifestyles and the tons of pollution in the atmosphere, we are more prone to be affected by asthma than ever before. It’s best to understand its impact and how you can have it assessed and treated. Continue reading to learn more.

What Do We Know About Asthma?

As implied above, asthma is a respiratory disease that affects the airways and lungs. People with asthma are susceptible to triggers and inflammation, which can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.

This disease is becoming quite common due to pollution and the overpopulation of the planet. But, despite the fact that so many people are affected by asthma, and the number is increasing, there are still so many people that don’t know about it and its impact. 

Does Asthma Require Primary or Urgent Care?

Asthma impacts the lives of many people and can be difficult to manage. And its management is handled by the primary care physicians. Visiting the primary care doctor for asthma is mainly for prescriptions, intensive treatments, and a long-term asthma management plan.

However, for immediate medical attention and treatment for an asthma attack, an urgent care facility is recommended. That way, symptoms can be calmed down as specifics about your asthma are assessed, from your triggers, patterns, and severity.

What’s a Common Symptom of Asthma?

Asthma symptoms typically include shortness of breath, with the airways getting smaller and restricting the air from reaching your lungs. This usually leads to coughing and wheezing to cope with that sudden shortness of breath.

This is followed up by chest tightness and inflammation. These are the most common asthma symptoms, and most of the time, these symptoms are caused due to different exposure to triggers such as pollen, dust, mold, or cigarette smoke.

How Is Asthma Physically Assessed?

Asthma is a serious health condition, and low-level symptoms need to be assessed by a medical professional. There are many ways to evaluate asthma, but here are the fundamental steps to getting a diagnosis for this disease:

  • Physical Exam. A physical examination forms the basis for all of the additional inspections. It provides an indication of the presence of asthma or even other lung or breathing conditions. 
  • Diagnostic Test. Depending on the physical exam and symptoms, a doctor will conduct a diagnostic test. This can give insight into a patient’s asthma severity, as well as their general breathing capacity.
  • Final Diagnosis. All of the information gathered by the previous steps is used in the final diagnosis of asthma. Asthma trigger tests can be carried out to understand which allergens are causing asthma attacks.


Asthma is a notable condition that can be controlled and managed, but the key is to address and treat it. As you can see, there’s a lot of information to assess asthma, from its symptoms to triggers and even its evaluation. Seek the right care and treatment for you.

Looking for an urgent care center? Aspen Medical Center is a locally-owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Visit us today.