Avoidance of triggers is an important part of asthma treatment. Because asthma and allergies tend to go hand in hand, identifying your allergy triggers can help you to take sensible steps to avoid them. Avoiding your triggers may mean staying out of households where there are pets, or it may mean that you cover your mattresses with a zipped allergy control cover and regularly launder your bedding, to reduce dust mite exposure.
Allergy shots are used to treat fewer than one out of ten people with asthma. They can be considered if your triggers are known, but allergy shots dont usually eliminate asthma and they are considered risky for people with asthma that is severe. Reducing exposure to allergens and treating your allergies aggressively with medications can dramatically improve your asthma symptoms.
Long-term treatment of asthma requires an asthma management plan, which can be created for you by your doctor. Your plan is your guide about how to adjust medicines whenever symptoms become active, so you can keep ahead of your asthma.
Treating any allergic skin condition may requires either antihistamines, corticosteroids (topically or by mouth), or a combination of these medicines. Itchiness is the hallmark of an allergic rash. Scratching can make the rash worse because scratching stimulates more inflammation and more histamine release. Itching can often be reduced by using an antihistamine. Any brand of antihistamine can be helpful. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is a frequently chosen over-the-counter antihistamine that can reduce itching, but can make people drowsy. It is a reasonable choice if your itching keeps you awake, and you plan to use it at bedtime. Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) is an inexpensive antihistamine that does not cause as much drowsiness as Benadryl, and over-the-counter loratadine (Claritin) causes less sedation than either of these medicines. The prescription medication Atarax (hydroxyzine) is another antihistamine that is often chosen to reduce itching. Antihistamines can reduce the redness and swelling of some types of allergic rashes, including hives. They dont noticeably improve the appearance of rashes from allergic eczema or contact dermatitis, but they may help to limit itching from these problems.
Corticosteroids by mouth are usually able to control itching and are used to treat some allergy rashes that are either widespread or stubborn in their response to other treatments. These medications are used only in selected cases because they have side effects, including mood changes, high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure among others. They also increase your risk of infection and reduce your bone strength, particularly if they are used for a long time.
Low-strength topical corticosteroids (such as hydrocortisone, or Cortaid) also are available over the counter. In general, you should consult your doctor before you consider using any form of corticosteroid to treat a rash. These medicines have side effects (including skin thinning and skin discoloration) and you should only use them with a doctors recommendation, unless you are treating a problem that is well known to you and for which they have been recommended in the past.
Topical corticosteroids can be very effective for contact dermatitis
(a reaction to poison ivy or poison oak, rashes resulting from exposure to metals) if the rash is diagnosed early and affects a small area. Topical corticosteroids are also frequently used to treat eczema. Steroids come in lotion, cream or ointment form. Ointments lock in the most moisture and can penetrate thickened, scaly skin. A prescription is needed for steroids of medium or high strength; examples include triamcinolone (Kenalog), fluocinonide (Lidex), fluocinolone (Synalar) and hydrocortisone valerate (Westcort). Topical corticosteroids should not be used on the face, groin or genitals. Follow your health-care provider's directions on the duration of use (usually no more than two or three weeks at a time).
Severe cases of contact dermatitis can be very itchy and may blister and weep. If you develop weepy areas, you should always meet with your doctor to have the rash examined. Surface moisture may make it impractical for your rash to be treated with topical steroids, unless the moisture is reduced with an astringent (drying) solution (such as Domeboro). Surface moisture may also concern your health care professional about the possibility of infection.
Your health care professional or your pharmacist may recommend gauze dressings. Oatmeal baths (Aveeno) can also help soothe the skin. Calamine lotions may reduce itching in mild reactions.
Allergic eczema (atopic dermatitis) or contact dermatitis affecting the face or a large area of the body is usually treated with oral corticosteroids. The duration of treatment may be anywhere from one week to one month depending on your response to treatment and the severity of the rash.
For the treatment of atopic dermatitis or eczema, topical pimecrolimus cream (Elidel) or tacrolimus cream (Protopic) are also effective, but these medicines increase the risk for cancer. These medications may be used in children over the age of two.
The initial treatment approach for any of these allergies is the same because they may lead to severe, life-threatening symptoms or anaphylaxis. The first step is recognize symptoms of anaphylaxis.
If you have any of these symptoms, avoid further exposure to a suspected allergy trigger even if your symptoms are mild (for example, stop eating, or stop taking doses of a newly prescribed medication). Call your health-care professional for advice if you are having mild symptoms, and get help from a bystander or by calling 911 so you can be evaluated in an emergency room if your symptoms are worsening or are severe. If you have been stung by an insect, remove the stinger from your skin by scraping it away gently with your fingernail.
If you are having symptoms that seem similar to a previous allergic reaction to a food, medication or insect sting, take an antihistamine immediately. If you develop potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, dizziness or chest pain, call your local emergency number and use an EpiPen if you have one. Medications for severe allergic reactions can include combinations of epinephrine, an antihistamine, an H2 blocker (a stomach acid reducer that also blocks allergy receptors), asthma inhaler treatments, and corticosteroids by mouth.
Last updated March 03, 2008
asthma,antihistamines,allergy,corticosteroids,anaphylaxis,antihistamine,allergic,nasal,nose,rash,side effects,medication,allergic rhinitis,allergies,contact dermatitis,inflammation,blood pressure,high blood pressure,immune,steroids,allergic reaction