Seasonal allergies affect as many as 50 million people in the United States. About 1/5 of them become sick enough to seek out medical treatment, but many suffer through their symptoms. If you are one of the latter, you should know that there are allergy treatments available. If you have a chronic illness, you have an extra incentive to get your allergies under control. Not only can seasonal allergies make you miserable - sniffling, sneezing, and itching - they can exacerbate other chronic medical conditions. Following are four chronic conditions that are made worse by seasonal allergies.
Asthma restricts airways, making breathing difficult. Symptoms can be mild, resulting in continued coughing and wheezing, or they can be severe and life-threatening. Asthma attacks involve a serious and sudden escalation of symptoms. Chronic asthma symptoms and asthma attacks can be exacerbated by allergies, especially if you have allergic asthma. In this condition, symptoms worsen when you inhale something you're allergic to.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive, debilitating disease affecting the lungs. It can have symptoms similar to that of asthma. However, in COPD, the symptoms continue to get worse over time. There is no cure for COPD, but it can be managed by limiting the amount of attacks or waves of the disease that you experience. One of the best ways to do this is to limit your exposure to allergens since they can trigger an attack. Common allergens to avoid include strong scents, mold, dust mites, and pollen.
Eczema is a chronic condition affecting the skin. The symptoms of eczema include inflamed skin that itches and may flake off. Allergens, particularly environmental allergens, make the symptoms of eczema worse because they further irritate the skin. It is also believed that exposure to certain environmental allergens early in life may play a role in the development of eczema.
Allergies can affect your mental health. If you suffer from depression and/or anxiety, or if you are experiencing a lot of stress, allergies may exacerbate your symptoms. What's more, stress and depression may make it more difficult for your body to fight your allergic symptoms, resulting in a vicious, miserable cycle.
As you can see, there are several conditions that are exacerbated by seasonal allergies. If you have any of these illnesses or if you're just tired of being sick during certain seasons, talk to an allergy specialist today.