If you have allergic or extrinsic-type asthma, you most likely have a history of sneezing, itchy eyes and itchy nose as well as asthmatic symptoms following exposure to allergens. You may suffer allergy symptoms during a particular season due to pollen exposure, or you may suffer symptoms year-round that are worse during the winter, especially when indoors. You also may suffer from exposure to a constant allergen such as house dust, house dust mite, animal dander (from a dog, cat, etc.) and/or mold.
Allergic sensitivity can be identified best through a detailed history followed by allergy skin testing. If you are specifically sensitive to one or more allergens, you may benefit from avoiding the allergens that trigger your symptoms. If an allergic trigger is found in your home (e.g. house dust mite, animal dander), removing these triggers can result in a decreased need for medications and can permit better symptom control. In addition, you can implement many environmental measures in your home and work environments to decrease allergen exposure.
Immunotherapy (allergy injections) is another alternative treatment. Allergy injections lower your sensitivity to a specific allergen and may allow you to better tolerate allergen exposure. Furthermore allergy injections may reduce your overall airway hyper-responsiveness, making you less sensitive to nonspecific, asthma-provoking factors such as infections and air pollutants. Immunotherapy also may prevent the onset of allergic asthma in some susceptible individuals, especially children.