Asthma Management Handbook

Allergies and asthma

Overview

Asthma and allergies are closely linked. Most people with asthma have allergic asthma.

Allergy testing is not mandatory as part of the diagnostic process for patients with suspected asthma, but may be indicated when identifying allergens will guide management or when other clinically significant allergies are suspected (e.g. food allergies). It may also be useful when considering the prognosis for wheezing infants.

The appropriate investigation of allergies depends on the individual’s risk. For patients with severe or unstable asthma, or a history of anaphylaxis, referral to a specialist for investigation is recommended to minimise risk.

In addition to the principles of asthma management that generally apply to all patients with asthma, effective  management of allergic asthma involves:

  • management of allergies, including investigating and treating allergic rhinitis if present
  • avoidance of relevant allergic triggers, where practical and shown to be effective
  • specific allergen immunotherapy, where indicated and shown to be effective.

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