Asthma and allergies often go hand-in-hand. Sometimes if your child’s allergies can be controlled, his asthma can also be controlled.
There are five types of medications for asthma triggered by allergies.
1. Steroid Nasal Sprays
Steroid nasal sprays are used to prevent the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation, or swelling. They are also used to treat nasal symptoms, like congestion, sneezing and runny nose cause by seasonal and year-round allergies.
It is important to use saline nose spray prior to using steroid nasal sprays. This helps remove mucus that could prevent the medicine from getting where it needs to go. Saline nose spray is available at the grocery or drug store without a prescription.
To use saline nose spray:
- Spray both sides of the nose with several squirts of saline nose spray.
- Blow nose very well and repeat saline nose spray if needed.
- When nose is clean, use steroid nasal spray as prescribed.
Examples of Steroid Nasal Sprays
- Flonase® (fluticasone propionate)
- Nasarel® (flunisolide)
Antihistamines are used to reduce or block histamines, the chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines are available both by prescription and over the counter, depending on what is recommended by your child’s doctor.
Some antihistamines can make you tired, while others generally do not.
Examples of Antihistamines
- Atarax® (hydroxyzine)
3. Epinephrine Autoinjector
Epinephrine autoinjectors are used to treat anaphylaxis , a serious allergic reaction. Epinephrine enters to bloodstream and works quickly against serious allergy symptoms.
For example, it decreases swelling and raises blood pressure. It is given as an injection.
If your child has been diagnosed with severe allergies to insect bites/stings, foods or medications, he should have an epinephrine autoinjector with him at all times.
Epinepherine Teaching Sheet (En Español)
Examples of Epinephrine Autoinjectors
4. Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)
Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, may be an option if avoiding allergic triggers doesn’t help control your child’s asthma.
After your child’s provider determines what your child is allergic to through allergy testing, your child will get a series of injections with small doses of those allergens. Generally, these injections are once a week for a few months, and then once a month for three to five years. Over time, your child should become less allergic.
5. Xolair® (Omalizumab)
This medication can be used to treat asthma triggered by airborne allergens. If your child has allergies, his immune system makes allergy-causing antibodies that attack things that generally cause no harm, like pollen, dust mites and pet dander. Xolair blocks these antibodies, reducing the immune system’s reaction that causes allergy and asthma symptoms.
Xolair is given by injection every two to four weeks. It isn’t generally recommended for children under 12. In rare cases, Xolair has triggered a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Anyone who takes Xolair should be monitored closely by a healthcare professional after getting an injection in case of severe reaction.