Allergic asthma most common in children

About 90% of children with asthma have allergies. Allergic asthma in children is the most common type of asthma in children.

Allergic asthma affects more that 24 million people in the U.S., according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergic asthma is the most common type, with 60% of people with asthma experiencing this type. Allergic asthma also is the most common type of asthma in children, affecting about 90% of children with asthma.

What is allergic asthma?

Allergic asthma is when the immune system is extra sensitive to common allergens such as pollen or mold. When a child has allergic asthma, allergens trigger an immune reaction, where the body releases antibodies called immunoglobulin E (or IgE). The IgE travels to the allergen cells, which then release chemicals including histamine. Histamine causes an allergic reaction. The allergic reaction then may cause inflammation in the eyes, nose, throat or lungs of people with allergic asthma, which then can cause asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or trouble breathing.

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Common allergic asthma triggers

With allergic asthma, certain allergens can cause the body’s immune system to react and cause asthma symptoms. Some common allergic asthma triggers can include:

  • Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds
  • Mold spores and fragments
  • Pet or animal dander (skin, hair, feathers or saliva)
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches

Allergens aren’t the only things that can trigger asthma attacks with those with allergic asthma. Other irritants in the air can cause an asthma attack, even without causing an allergic reaction. These kinds of triggers include:

  • Chemical odor or fumes
  • Cold air
  • Dust
  • Exercise
  • Perfumes and other scented products
  • Pollution
  • Smoke of any type, from a fire, tobacco, incense, etc.

How to manage allergic asthma

Some allergens are part of the environment, such as grass and tree pollen, and can be worse depending on the weather and season. Allergens also may be part of a child’s home environment. This can pose a challenge to managing asthma well. A pediatric allergist can help children with allergic asthma manage the severity and frequency of their allergy symptoms to help control their asthma.

“A child’s treatment depends on the symptoms and how severe and frequent they are,” said Chandra Vethody, M.D., pediatric allergist and immunologist with Norton Children’s Allergy & Immunology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. “Allergies can make asthma tougher to manage. Limiting exposure to allergens can help prevent attacks, but some children may need allergy treatment in addition to their asthma medications and allergen immunotherapy to get their asthma under control.”