What causes severe allergy attacks

Asthma is generally treated by using an inhaler, a little device that lets you breathe in medicines.

The main types are:

  1. reliever inhalers – used when needed to quickly relieve asthma symptoms for a short time
  2. preventer inhalers – used every day to prevent asthma symptoms occurring

Some people also need to take tablets.

Causes and triggers

Asthma is caused by swelling (inflammation) of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.

What causes severe allergy attacks

It may happen randomly or after exposure to a trigger.

Common asthma triggers include:

  1. exercise
  2. smoke, pollution and freezing air
  3. allergies (to home dust mites, animal fur or pollen, for example)
  4. infections love colds or flu

Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can assist you hold your symptoms under control.


Although asthma can normally be kept under control, it’s still a serious condition that can cause a number of problems.

This is why it’s so significant to follow your treatment plan and not ignore your symptoms if they’re getting worse.

Badly controlled asthma can cause problems such as:

  1. disruption of your work and leisure because of unplanned visits to a GP or hospital
  2. lung infections (pneumonia)
  3. feeling tired every the time
  4. underperformance at, or absence from, work or school
  5. stress, anxiety or depression
  6. delays in growth or puberty in children

There’s also a risk of severe asthma attacks, which can be life threatening.

Media final reviewed: 14 May 2018
Media review due: 9 May 2021

Sheet final reviewed: 19 February 2018
Next review due: 19 February 2021

Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop.

Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.

But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, 2006), told Live Science. «Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»

Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition.

What causes severe allergy attacks

More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In 2017, 8.1% of adults and 7.7% of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.

In 2019, spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN). Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses.

What causes severe allergy attacks

According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states. Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. [Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]

How long does it last?

Asthma is a long-term condition for numerous people, particularly if it first develops when you’re an adult.

In children, it sometimes disappears or improves during the teenage years, but can come back later in life.

The symptoms can generally be controlled with treatment.

Most people will own normal, athletic lives, although some with more severe asthma may have ongoing problems.

Symptoms of asthma

The main symptoms of asthma are:

  1. a tight chest, which may feel love a band is tightening around it 
  2. breathlessness
  3. a whistling sound when breathing (wheezing)
  4. coughing

The symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse. This is known as an asthma attack.


The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing. But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.

Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness.

What causes severe allergy attacks

People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said. [Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]

Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders. The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.

People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What causes severe allergy attacks

Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.

Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said. «This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»

Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions. People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said.

What causes severe allergy attacks

But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.

When to see a GP

See your GP if you ponder you or your kid may own asthma.

Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s significant to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.

Your GP will generally be capable to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.

Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed