Allergies or Asthma: Is There a Difference?

Often beginning in childhood and lasting a lifetime, allergies and/or asthma can make life miserable. In some cases, these conditions can also cause a life-threatening emergency. Fortunately, we at Harbor Community Health Centers have many effective treatments for both.

With three convenient locations, we provide state-of-the-art health services for men, women, and children of all ages. Our clinics are dedicated to offering the highest-quality medical care available at affordable rates to residents throughout San Pedro, California, and the surrounding Los Angeles and South Bay areas.

Take a moment to read what our exceptional staff has to say about allergies and asthma and the treatments that work.

Understanding asthma and allergies

Asthma causes the lining of your airways to become inflamed and irritated. This results in narrowing of the airways and increased mucus production, which both can make it very difficult to breathe.

Allergy symptoms are related to a faulty immune system, which causes your body to mistake certain substances (allergens) for toxic invaders. This overreaction to triggers such as pollen and pet dander brings on sneezing, watery eyes, nasal drainage, and other symptoms of allergies.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that about 25 million Americans have asthma, which typically begins in childhood but can occur at any age. About 50 million Americans have allergies. Many individuals have both allergies and asthma, and allergies are often a trigger for asthma attacks.

Symptoms to watch for

In the case of allergies, symptoms can vary greatly and often depend on the type of allergy. Common symptoms include:

A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can lead to low blood pressure, swelling of the throat and tongue, difficulty breathing, and dizziness or fainting. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and requires emergency medical care.

Asthma symptoms may include:

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) illness, and while there is no known cure, it can be very effectively managed with the right treatment.  

Treating allergies and asthma

For allergy symptoms, your Harbor Community Health Centers provider may recommend oral medications to offset your immune response to triggers. These medications typically include antihistamines, nasal decongestants, etc. 

Immunotherapy, another popular allergy treatment, is designed to retrain your immune system so it ignores an allergen it once believed to be a toxic substance.

Asthma typically requires a “rescue” type of inhaled medication (bronchodilator), which quickly relaxes chest muscles and widens air passages during an attack. Long-term treatments, taken daily, help to prevent the inflammation that leads to asthma attacks.

Note that our newest facility at 425 Pacific Avenue includes an asthma observation room. This allows your child’s pediatrician to carefully supervise younger patients as they receive asthma treatments in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

Schedule a visit at Harbor Community Health Centers today. We’re here to manage all of your health care needs, including effective allergy and/or asthma treatment. Call us at 310-547-0202 to arrange a consultation at one of the three San Pedro locations nearest you, or request an appointment online.

You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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