Living Well at Robson Ranch: Allergies and Asthma

Erin Clarke, M.D.

Erin Clarke, M.D.

Marie Milleage

Spring has sprung in Texas and throughout the United States, bringing with it pollen allergies worsened by the weather and seasonal climate changes. Brightly colored flowers and blossoms brighten our days, but airborne substances dampen our lives.

In May, Dr. Erin Clarke’s presentation for Living Well at Robson Ranch detailed allergens and the respiratory system as she explained allergies and asthma, two different conditions. A person can have allergies but not asthma, or asthma with a few or no allergies. An allergy is the sensitive reaction to an allergen causing the immune system’s response when a substance is inhaled, swallowed, or comes in contact with the skin. These substances are identified by a series of allergen extract tests that help determine the system’s reaction to grasses, trees, weeds and pet allergens. Additional testing can detect food and other allergies. Asthma, on the other hand, is a chronic, respiratory disease that affects the bronchial system.

Dr. Clarke’s slide presentation illustrated the body’s reaction to allergens and the production of substances against the attack. Allergy symptoms can last as long as the allergen is present. The immune system fights back by releasing antibodies that attach to cells and produce histamine and other chemicals that affect the eyes, nasal passages, and cause swelling.

Symptoms that are similar to allergy reactions may be signs of rhinitis or sinusitis. Rhinitis is a response to inflammation and irritation to chemicals, cigarette smoke, temperature changes, infections or other causes. Sinusitis is inflammation or infection of any of the four groups of air sinus cavities that opening into the nasal passages.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs and airways, characterized by inflammation of the bronchi that are affected by irritants causing airways to swell, bronchial muscles to tighten, excess mucus to build up, and breathing to become difficult. Asthma triggers may be allergens, environmental elements, indoor pollutants, stress or strong emotions. Testing for asthma includes breathing and laboratory tests that measure lung function, and allergies.

Respiratory ailments can be relieved by making wise lifestyle changes to reduce discomfort. Know the allergy or asthma triggers and how to avoid them, be aware of pollen other environmental elements. Over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants can often ease mild symptoms. Prescription medications and shots are sometimes needed for more severe allergies or asthma.

DATCU credit union provided seminar refreshments and door prizes. For additional information, please contact Marie Milleage at [email protected] or view

All content within presentations sponsored by the Living Well at Robson Ranch Committee is intended for general information only. It should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a professional health care provider. Neither the Living Well at Robson Ranch Committee, Robson Ranch Denton HOA, nor Robson Communities is responsible or liable for the content and do not endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in any presentation.