Can Pollen Allergies Worsen Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is a major noncommunicable disease and caused 455,000 deaths in 2019 alone. It is characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways. But can pollen allergies worsen asthma?

People living with asthma face a unique and daily challenge that requires careful management and mindful avoidance of various triggers that can exacerbate its symptoms. Among them, one of those that stands out as a common culprit is pollen allergies.

Can Pollen Allergies Worsen Asthma?

Pollen allergies make asthma management more complicated, as pollen is everywhere outside. So, they can be harder to avoid unlike other allergens.

Individuals with pollen allergies may suffer from allergic asthma. Allergic asthma can cause your airways to tighten when you breathe in an allergen like pollen.

When you are allergic to something, your body thinks it is a threat. Accordingly, it will do everything it can to protect itself from this danger. This causes your immune system to release different chemicals that can cause inflammation or swelling. It may even cause the squeezing of your airways upon inhalation of this allergen.

Allergic Asthma and Asthma: What’s the Difference?

During an allergic asthma attack, the airways tighten and make it difficult for you to breathe.
You may also experience shortness of breath, wheezing, frequent coughing especially at night, and tightness in the chest.

An asthma patient without pollen allergies experiences the same symptoms during an attack.

Although a person suffering from allergic asthma may experience intensified symptoms, the main difference only lies in the cause of the attack.

Is Allergic Asthma a Cause for Worry?

  • Asthma is something to be taken seriously and should be discussed with your doctor because it may:
  • Make you miss work
  • Make you lose much-needed sleep
  • Cause you to miss social activities
  • Make you miss school
  • Make you unable to exercise
  • Lead to missed outdoor outings and activities
  • Make you prone to hospitalization
  • Lead to higher medical bills
  • Limit your opportunities
  • Lead to complications

Should your doctor find that you have asthma, they may give you a skin test or blood test to further identify whether environmental triggers are responsible for your asthma.

Management and Treatment of Allergic Asthma

Doctors usually treat both the allergies and the asthma. During an allergic reaction, chemicals known as histamine are released. Your doctor would prescribe antihistamine to block these chemicals. They can be taken as needed or daily during seasons when there are a lot of pollens in the air.

Aside from medicines, management and treatment may also include avoiding the allergen and making a change in lifestyle.

Talk to your doctor about nasal sprays, oral decongestants, and rinsing your sinuses. These can help with your symptoms. Doctors would normally help you come up with a personalized action plan.

Things You Can Do to Avoid Pollen

Knowing what triggers your allergic asthma is crucial to help you avoid attacks. If you know you are allergic to pollen, here are some of the things you can do:

✓ Pay someone else to cut the grass on your lawn or pull the weeds for you.
✓ Keep your windows closed during pollen season.
✓ Wear a face mask, glasses, and other safety gadgets to protect yourself when outside.
✓ Avoid staying outside for a long time, especially during dry and windy days. If possible, just stay indoors.
✓ Use air conditioning and an air purifier at home.
✓ Pollen can stick to your sheets and towels, so do not hang your laundry outside.
✓ If you need to go outside, do it after a downpour and never during the early mornings.
✓ If you have been outside, change your clothes at once and take a shower to wash off pollen on your skin and hair.
✓ Keep yourself updated with the pollen forecast and current pollen levels.
✓ During high pollen levels, take your medications even before your symptoms begin.
✓ Follow the regular maintenance schedule of your air conditioning units and filters.
✓ Use a dehumidifier to keep the air in your home dry.
✓ Invest in a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter and clean your floors often with it.
✓ Change your sheets regularly.


If you are wondering if you will ever get rid of this chronic condition completely, unfortunately, the cure has yet to be discovered.

Despite that, your symptoms may get better with the less exposure, proper management, and regular visits to your asthma doctor.

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