Can Allergies Be Responsible For Shortness Of Breath?

Allergy is one the most common conditions affecting about 10-30% of the population worldwide. It is associated with symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and in rare cases, shortness of breath.

But how can a severe symptom like shortness of breath be associated with such a common condition? You may ask. Here we will cover how common allergies cause shortness of breath in many people.

What Causes Allergy?
Allergy occurs when our immune system responds to a non-threatening substance like pollen, dust mites or animal fur. It is a hypersensitive immune reaction also termed as allergic response.

An allergic response initiates when your nasal lining comes into contact with an allergen. Your body starts synthesizing IgE proteins that combine with the allergen and trigger the production histamine which is responsible for all the symptoms that normally associated with an allergy.

Types Of Allergies
The type of allergy depends upon the trigger or the allergen. There are several types of allergies some them being more severe than others. Most common types of allergies are:

  • Food Allergy.
  • Insect Allergy.
  • Latex Allergy.
  • Mold Allergy.
  • Pet Allergy.
  • Pollen Allergy.
  • Drug Allergy

Allergens or triggers can be categorized according to the type of allergy they cause:

  • Airborne allergens: Pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold
  • Foods: Peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, eggs, fish, shellfish, and dairy
  • Insect stings: Bee or wasp stings
  • Drug or medications: Penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotic

Why Do Allergies Cause Shortness Of Breath?
Respiratory allergies occur due to the irregular response of the immune system to a harmless substance. There primarily two ways through which your allergic rhinitis may affect your lungs or airways.

  1. Hay fever or seasonal allergies are associated with symptoms like allergic conjunctivitis (redness, itching and watering of eyes), sneezing and congested nose and sinuses. Nasal congestion can sometimes make breathing harder ergo causing shortness of breath.
  2. Allergic rhinitis may also cause, allergic asthma, in which you airways and lungs become narrow due swelling and inflammation, which can cause coughing, wheezing, tightness of chest and shortness of breath.

What Are Effective Allergy Treatments?
Effective allergy treatments include:

  1. Allergen Avoidance
    In this treatment, your doctor will do several tests in order to identify your trigger. This step will help you ease associated symptoms and prevent any future allergic reactions.
  2. Medications
    Your doctor may prescribe you allergy medication depending upon your condition. These medications work by minimizing your immune response as well as reducing symptoms.

You can also try OTC medications like Rhinocort Nasal Spray, which is very effective against allergy associated symptoms. You can get it from your local pharmacy or order it online anywhere in the UK.

Food allergies are far more severe as compared respiratory ones and require emergency treatment. If you have food allergies, you have to keep an emergency epinephrine shot (like an Epi-pen Auto injector) with you at all times. This will reduce your symptoms until you get emergency treatment.