Too many Americans endure recurrent sinus headaches, coughing, wheezing, throat clearing, sneezing fits, teary eyes, itchy skin, hives, bumps, swelling, gasping, post-nasal congestion and drippy noses – in part because they don’t know what it’s like to live without symptoms – and they don’t know how to find out what is making them sick.
That’s why the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) has launched “Find an Allergist. Find Relief,” a patient outreach campaign that includes self-assessment tools you can access at www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.
A recent survey of people with asthma and allergies found that of the 44 percent reporting serious or very serious problems, less than one-third had received medical treatment by an allergist. Yet those who had been treated by an allergist reported higher satisfaction with the results than others and were nearly three times more likely to say their treatment was effective than those who took over-the-counter medications on their own.
Many people do not recognize the serious impact that chronic and seasonal allergy and asthma symptoms have on work, school and family. Symptoms they consider minor have major consequences to health, professional advancement, academic achievement and social interactions. Conditions that seem rare or mild, such as asthma or certain types of allergies, can suddenly become deadly. Of patients who die of asthma, one-third were diagnosed as having mild forms of the disease.
Allergists are experts in diagnosing and treating: asthma; seasonal allergies; rashes; hives; eye allergies; eczema; reactions to food, insect stings and drugs (anaphylaxis); sinus infections, and immune system problems that cause frequent infections.
Do you or someone in your family put up with symptoms that you’d rather not have to deal with? Do you want to know the source of your symptoms? How to avoid things that make you sick? Do you want a written strategy, one that you and your doctor take time to create together? Do you want to use the least amount of medicine to have the maximum results? Do you wonder if allergy shots may be a solution for treating allergens you can’t avoid?
Ask an allergist. Find Relief. Start right now. Take the Relief Self-Test (AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org).
by Richard Gower, MD, president, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
This article first appeared in Allergy & Asthma Today, AANMA’s award-winning magazine for people with asthma, allergies and related respiratory conditions. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.