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風邪でマスクをつけて咳をする男
風邪でマスクをつけて咳をする男

花粉の季節気を付けたい!花粉と喘息の関係と対策

喘息の男

 
花粉の季節になると、街中マスクを付けた人だらけ。花粉症は四大苦ということばがあるように、「くしゃみ」「鼻水」「鼻づまり」「眼のかゆみ」だけで大変ですが、さらに喘息まで引き起こす可能性があるそう。喘息は起こしてしまったら大変な、予防が大事な病気です。花粉との関連を知っておきたいですよね。

こちらでは、花粉と喘息の密接な関係についてご紹介します。

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花粉と喘息の関係

「気管支喘息」はどうしておこるのか

喘息の女性

気管支喘息の症状が起こるときには気道(気管や気管支など)が過敏な状態になっていると考えられています。小児の気管支喘息の場合にはアレルギー体質を持っていることが気道が過敏になる大きな原因ですが、その他さまざまな要素が関係しています。

花粉症を含むアレルギー性鼻炎と気管支喘息の関係

春になると悩まされる人が多い花粉症は、季節性のアレルギー性鼻炎のひとつ。花粉症とともに通年性のものも含め、アレルギー性鼻炎の患者は年々増えており、国民の約4割がアレルギー性鼻炎であるそう。2009年には、大規模な全国実態調査によって、成人の喘息患者のうちアレルギー性鼻炎を合併している人が67.3%にのぼることが推定されると報告されました。

症状が鼻に現れるアレルギー性鼻炎と、気管支に現れる喘息。一見、関わりがなさそうな2つの病気ですが、実は切っても切れない関係にある。どちらかが発症してその治療をしないと、もう一方も引き起こされ、お互いが悪化する可能性があることが明らかになっています。

One airway, one disease

離れた場所にある2つの器官の病気が関連しているのはなぜか。その答えは、どちらも気道で起きるというところにあります。鼻やのどなどは上気道、気管支や肺などは下気道と総称されます。これらは離れた場所にあるものの、ひと続きの空気の通り道となっています。

そのうえ、2つの病気は原因となるアレルゲンや、炎症が起きる過程も共通している。このことから、アレルギー性鼻炎も気管支喘息も、気道というひとつの器官の病気であるととらえる「One airway, one disease」という考えが、近年医療関係者の間では広まっているといいます。

花粉喘息

花粉症は、スギやヒノキなどの食物の花粉によるアレルギーで、特に春先にかけて花粉が飛散する時期になると、鼻水や鼻づまり、目のかゆみなどの症状が現れます。最近では、喘息の人の中に、花粉によって喘息の発作が誘発されたり、悪化したりする人が、少しずつ増えています。これを「花粉症喘息」といいます。

スギ花粉の大きさは、だいたい30マイクロ。このサイズでは通常、鼻の粘膜にキャッチされるので、気管支や肺に付着することはない。しかし近年、スギ花粉の周りに付いている『オービクル』という物質が関係していることが分かってきたのです。空気中をフワフワ漂い落下しない微小粒子サイズなので肺の奥まで入りやすく、オービクルは花粉内部と異なる抗原性をもち、吸入されることで喘息が誘発されるといいます。シーズン後期では、細かく粉砕された花粉が「空気中に漂うサイズになって喘息を誘発させる可能性もあるそう。

また、花粉症で鼻が詰まれば口呼吸になる。すると口腔内が乾いて、温度や湿度が保てなくなり、風邪を引きやすくなる。風邪は喘息発作を招きます。また鼻水がのどに流れ、気管を刺激して咳や喘鳴を起こすこともある。花粉症が引き金になることもあるのです。

花粉喘息の対策

原因となる花粉を回避する

花粉が飛散する時期には、外出時はマスクやメガネなどで防御し、さらに表面がツルツルした素材の衣服を選んで、花粉の付着を最小限にとどめます。外出先から戻ったら、室内に花粉を持ち込まないよう、玄関で衣服や髪をはらって花粉を落とし、手洗いや洗顔、うがいをします。最近では、花粉を除去できる空気洗浄機もあるので、利用するとよいでしょう。

喘息治療はしっかりと

花粉症のシーズンが経過するとともに、鼻や眼の症状だけでなく咳や気管支の違和感を感じ始めた患者さんは、気管支にもアレルギー性炎症が起きてきたと考えて下さい。この場合、花粉症の治療に通常用いる経口の抗アレルギー薬や点鼻薬・点眼薬だけでは気管支の症状はなかなか治まりません。下気道の炎症に対して喘息の治療に使う吸入ステロイド薬を併用することが必要であり、有効です

春の喘息の予防

他にも春の喘息の誘因には、気温の寒暖差、年度末の過労やストレスなどの影響もあげられます。予防には、「風邪予防」「日常の体調管理」が肝心です。そして気道の過敏性を改善していくことが、喘息を治すことにつながります。生活環境の改善や喘息の予防薬を上手に使うことで、かなりの喘息は治ります。発作のときの一時的な治療で終わらせないで、喘息を治していくことを考えていきましょう。

まとめ:花粉喘息って知っていますか

春の喘息の誘因にはいくつかのものがありますが、花粉症が喘息を引き起こすそう。対策をおさらいしておきましょう。

  • 原因となる花粉を回避する
  • 喘息治療はしっかり
  • 「日常の体調管理」「風邪予防」が大事

喘息は予防が大事です。この記事を参考に、しっかり花粉症対策とともに対策してくださいね。

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