Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Allergy & Immunology located in South Bay, Manhattan Beach, CA
Asthma is often considered a childhood disease, yet some people have their first asthma attack as adults. Dr. Charles Song and Dr. Andrew Wong at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology specialize in the diagnosis and effective treatment of asthma in people of all ages. Whether you need better control of your asthma, or you need an evaluation for suspected asthma, please call our office in Manhattan Beach, California, or book an appointment online.
Asthma Q & A
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which your lungs’ airways become inflamed. This inflammation makes your airways hypersensitive to both allergic and nonallergic triggers, which, in turn, cause the following:
- Tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways
- Excess production of mucus into the airways
- Swelling of the airway walls
Those three actions work together to constrict your airways and block the flow of air. As a result, you have a hard time breathing.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
The frequency and severity of asthma symptoms are different for each person, but every asthma patient experiences one or more of these common symptoms:
- Shortness of breath (or difficulty breathing)
- Chest tightness
What triggers an asthma attack?
There are two general types of asthma triggers: allergic and nonallergic. Common allergic triggers include outdoor allergens such as pollens from grasses, trees, and weeds, while indoor allergens include dust mites, pet dander, and mold.
There are numerous nonallergic triggers including:
- Cold air
- Tobacco smoke
- Weather changes
- Air pollution
- Strong odors from items like perfumes, air fresheners, or cleaning products
- Upper respiratory infections
- Physical exertion
What is exercise-induced bronchoconstriction?
When physical exertion leads to an asthma attack, it’s called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). It’s estimated that up to 90% of everyone with asthma experiences EIB to some degree. This doesn’t mean you have to give up exercise. Your doctor at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology can develop a treatment plan to help prevent EIB.
How is asthma treated?
The most important aspect of asthma treatment is the prevention of symptoms. Thus, determining your triggers and choosing the appropriate medications is paramount to successful management of your asthma.
Your individual triggers may be identified based on your history and/or skin testing. Your doctor can help to develop a plan to avoid these triggers and prevent asthma attacks.
Allergy testing and immunotherapy
If specific allergies are identified, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy to decrease your sensitivity to the targeted allergens. Because this treatment lowers or even eliminates your allergen sensitivities, it may help reduce asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.
Long-term asthma control medications
Your doctor may prescribe inhaled, oral, or even injectable medications to prevent future asthma flare-ups. These medications decrease fluctuations in the airway inflammation that causes asthma symptoms:
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Long-acting beta-2-agonists (used only in combination with inhaled corticosteroid medications)
- Cromolyn sodium
- Biologics: currently anti-IgE, anti-IL-5, and anti-IL-4 antibodies are available
- Oral corticosteroids
Quick-relief rescue medications
It’s important to have an inhaler with medication that provides rapid, short-term symptom relief during an asthma attack.
Protect your health and get control of your asthma by scheduling an appointment at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology -- just call or use the online booking feature.