The Relationship Between Allergies and Asthma in Children

Although allergies and asthma are distinct health issues, a relationship between the two can develop in certain cases. Since many of the symptoms for these two problems can appear similar, it may be difficult to discern the difference in some children. In order to effectively deal with both conditions, it is important to understand each issue individually, as well as the relationship between them.

The Basics of Allergies

Allergies are a reaction that occurs in some people when they encounter specific substances. For instance, many people have allergic reactions to certain foods or plants. However, one of the most common forms of allergies is seasonal allergies. They can cause children to experience prolonged, cold-like symptoms. Some signs of an allergic reaction in a child include:

  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Swelling
  • Congestion
  • Coughing

The Basics of Asthma

Asthma often appears in children who have parents or siblings with similar issues. It is a chronic respiratory condition that involves inflammation of the lungs and constriction of the airway. Children who suffer from asthma need to be treated in order to avoid long-term problems, such as reduced stamina and greater susceptibility to illnesses. Some of the common signs of asthma include:

  • Wheezing
  • Recurrent coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

How Are They Related?

Some of the symptoms of these two issues overlap, which can make diagnosis a challenge. In both cases, it might seem like a child simply has a moderate or severe cold. If any of these symptoms persist, however, it is important to see a doctor to head off long-term issues.

There is a deeper relationship between allergies and asthma that must be considered, though. Over time, a child’s struggle with allergies can actually trigger asthmatic symptoms, so it is crucial to deal with allergies before they cause worse problems.

Another reason allergies and asthma are related is because many of the same chemicals within the body are related to both conditions. The irritants that trigger allergic reactions in the nasal membranes can also cause the breathing passages to react in a way that allows for an asthmatic reaction. In both cases, airways are restricted, making it difficult for a child to breathe.

If your child is exhibiting symptoms that suggest a problem with allergies or asthma, seek medical assistance immediately. Although neither condition can be entirely cured, a pediatrician can help you control the situation so it doesn’t grow into a greater problem for your child.