Breathing Troubles: Common Causes and Triggers


The role of a healthy immune system is to fend off potentially harmful foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, an overactive immune system may target less harmful substances like pet dander or pollen, leading to an immune response known as an allergic reaction. Allergies have become more common over the past few decades, and an estimated 50 million Americans currently have an allergy of some form. Symptoms may vary depending on the specific allergen and the mode of interaction (inhalation, skin contact, sting, etc.), but common signs of an allergic reaction include throat, lung and nasal inflammation, coughing and shortness of breath. The body’s response to an allergen also has the potential to aggravate preexisting conditions, including COPD and asthma.

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Review Date: 
June 6, 2014

Last Updated:
August 7, 2014