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Do Allergies Cause Asthma?

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD

Allergies don't cause asthma. But kids who have allergies (or have family members who have allergies) are more likely to get asthma than those who don't.

And when kids already have asthma, an allergic reaction can sometimes bring on their asthma symptoms.

This can be a little confusing, so let's find out more.

How Do Allergies Happen?

Most of the time, your immune (say: ih-MYOON) system fights germs to help you stay healthy.

But in kids with allergies, the immune system treats things called allergens (such as pollen or pet dander) as if they're invading the body, like a bad germ. When the immune system reacts to the allergen, a kid gets allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose or red, itchy eyes.

Some kids also get asthma symptoms, like coughing, wheezing, or a tight feeling in the chest.

To figure out what they're allergic to, sometimes kids will visit a special doctor called an allergist (say: AL-ler-jist). The allergist might find that you are allergic to certain things. If you are, the best way to prevent allergic reactions (and to help stop asthma symptoms from bugging you) is to avoid being around those allergens. The doctor also may prescribe medicine for your allergies if you can't completely avoid what's causing them.

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: May 2023