Allergic rhinitis is a condition where your immune system overreacts to benign substances, like pollen or pet hair, leading to upper-respiratory issues like congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and red or itchy eyes. It’s distinct from asthma, which is a lung condition that causes constriction of the airways and trouble breathing. People with asthma may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, and wheezing(on inhale or exhale).
Typical triggers for allergies can include dust, mold, pollen, grass, cats, and dogs. Depending on what someone is allergic to, allergy symptoms may occur seasonally or year-round. These same allergens can also trigger asthma attacks, especially in people with allergies. Other asthma triggers include heat, cold, exercise, air pollutants, or illness. People with asthma may also have attacks without a clear trigger.
People with allergies can take over-the-counter and/or prescription medications to reduce their symptoms when they’re exposed to triggering allergens. If that isn’t enough, they can see an allergist for testing and allergy shots to slowly help the body stop overreacting to allergens. People with asthma should start by getting screened by a doctor. There are various medications available to treat asthma. Some are taken preventatively to reduce the number and severity of asthma attacks. Others are taken in the moment, to quell an asthma attack once it starts. Your doctor can also help you develop a plan for how to reduce exposure to triggers.
If you have questions about any medication your doctor has prescribed for allergies or asthma, your pharmacist can help. They can also advise you about any over-the-counter medications that might help with your allergies, and help you learn how to properly use an inhaler, if prescribed for asthma.Find a pharmacy