Allergic asthma is a type of asthma that causes symptoms when a person is around certain triggers, for example, pet dander. These allergens lead to an immune system response that affects the lungs and makes it harder to breathe.

According to the , allergic asthma is the most common asthma type.

Allergies can be dangerous if they cause a life-threatening response known as anaphylaxis.

In allergic asthma, as well as nonallergic asthma, an asthma attack, or exacerbation, can also be fatal occasionally. As a result, a person may wish to talk to their doctor about identifying asthma triggers to reduce the likelihood of an attack.

Doctors do not know exactly why some people have allergic asthma, and others do not, although it can run in families.

People with allergic asthma are also more likely to have atopic dermatitis, eczema, and allergic rhinitis or hay fever, as are other family members.

Researchers continue to study information on different gene variations that may make a person more prone to allergic asthma. They are also examining how people with different genes respond to treatments. For example, people with specific genes may not respond to certain treatments.

Each individual with allergic asthma may have different triggers. For some people, these allergens cause no symptoms. In others, they can make breathing difficult and trigger an asthma attack.

Some of the most common allergens are:

  • cockroaches, including their saliva, feces, and body parts
  • dust mites
  • mold
  • pet dander, such as from dogs or cats
  • pollen from plants, including grasses, trees, and weeds

When a person is sensitive to a particular allergen and experiences exposure to it, their immune system starts releasing the compound immunoglobulin E, or IgE. Excess IgE in the body can then trigger the release of other substances that may cause airway inflammation.

Excess amounts of IgE can lead to a process that makes the airways smaller. Breathing through smaller airways is more difficult than through larger ones. The result can be an asthma attack.

There is no cure for asthma. However, there are medical treatments that can prevent allergic reactions as well as treat asthma symptoms.

Doctors may also prescribe treatments to reduce airway irritation if a person experiences an asthma attack, and to prevent asthma symptoms and airway inflammation over the long term.

Examples of these treatments include:

In addition to medications to treat breathing symptoms, a doctor may recommend taking medications to reduce the body's response to allergen exposure. These drugs are more helpful for people with other allergy symptoms in addition to asthma.

Many medications are available over the counter. Examples include:

These medications help to block the body's response to allergens. While they will not cure allergic asthma, they may help reduce the severity of an allergic response.

A doctor may recommend allergy immunotherapy to help someone who has allergic asthma. This is a process that exposes the body to small and increasing amounts of an allergen. Exposure in this way can desensitize a person to the allergen, reducing the chances of their immune system triggering an asthma attack or other symptoms.

Doctors give immunotherapy treatments via shots or tablets that dissolve under the tongue.