One of the most debilitating effects of hypersensitivity to allergens is asthma—the inflammation of the airways leading to coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Chronic allergic asthma is not only painful, but the looming threat of attacks can also affect an individual’s quality of life between attacks. People who suffer from allergic asthma are not content with this and often look to mitigate or eliminate these attacks. The treatment options for allergic asthma range from taking preemptive steps toward limiting attacks to embracing new developments in biopharmaceuticals in order to finally normalize an overreactive immune system.
Before you seek medical intervention, consider making your environment as allergen-free as possible, which may be enough to stave off most symptoms of chronic asthma. This can involve removing carpeting from your home, installing air purifiers, and avoiding the outdoors when mold and pollen counts are high. But if taking measures and precautions at home is not enough, consult your ear, nose, and throat specialist for the best course of treatment.
Inhalers and Nebulizers
The most common approach to allergic asthma is for your ENT to prescribe an inhaler that will deliver medication for short-term or long-term relief. Beta agonists are fast-acting bronchodilators that alleviate attacks by relaxing bronchial muscles. They are most often prescribed for acute asthma attacks, but in cases of chronic asthma, they can also protect against attacks that would arise from strenuous exercise. Corticosteroids can aid in the management of chronic asthma but carry a host of side effects that discourage long-term use. Some inhalers mitigate the body’s reaction to corticosteroids by reducing the dosage and pairing them with beta agonists. If the aerosol or dry powder of an inhaler poses a problem, a nebulizer can be an alternative for delivering medication.
If inhalers and lifestyle changes fail to treat allergic asthma, biologic injections may be able to finally bring about relief. Biologics are a relatively new class of drug that works by introducing cloned antibodies into the system that bond with and deactivate free immunoglobulin cells. Unlike chemically derived medications, biologics are made from a living organism and are much more complex in their composition. Unlike inhalers, which patients carry with them for immediate relief, doctors administer biologics as injections every several months, and the full effects may not take hold for weeks. The greatest drawback to biologics is their cost, which can be thousands of dollars per injection. It’s for this reason that biologics are often the final step in persistent asthma treatment. Allergy & ENT Associates of Clear Lake has embraced the promise of biologics as an approach for moderate to severe asthma, in conjunction with inhalers and a lifestyle that seeks to limit exposure to allergens.