More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma. In addition, asthma is a leading cause of hospital emergency department visits and school absenteeism, and it also is the cause of 3,500 annual deaths.
In response to these alarming statistics, and in an effort to raise public awareness of the risks faced every day, Premier Allergy, along with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, is offering tips this May as part of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
Because of similar allergen triggers, asthma and allergies often are connected. People suffering from allergies and asthma should be able to feel good, be active all day and sleep well at night. Allergies should not decrease quality of life.
Premier Allergy and ACAAI offer the following tips for people living with allergies and asthma:
» Limit exposure or avoid the allergens that cause your allergy and asthma symptoms.
» Avoid dust mites by using dust-proof covers on pillows, mattresses and box springs. Also avoid bedding stuffed with foam rubber.
» Keep windows closed during pollen season, especially during the day.
» Take a shower, wash your hair and change clothing after working or playing outdoors.
» Keep pets outdoors or restrict them to a few rooms in the house.
» To prevent asthma flare-ups, stay away from smoke, dirt, gases and triggering odors.
» Regularly carry and take prescribed asthma medications, following dosage instructions.
» See an allergist for any allergy and asthma symptoms to learn how to avoid potential triggers and for treatment recommendations.
An asthma attack often is triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust and animal dander, certain drugs and food additives or respiratory infections. Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, many treatments are available to control this chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs.
Nasal allergies affect 10 percent to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children. Allergies can be seasonal, with symptoms brought on by sensitivity to pollen from trees, grasses or weeds, or to airborne mold spores. Sometimes, sensitivity to house dust mites, animal dander or cockroaches can trigger a reaction, called perennial allergic rhinitis.
Allergies and asthma are serious diseases and that's nothing to sneeze at. Misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment can have serious health consequences. Board-certified allergists are the best-trained health professionals to perform allergy testing and treat allergic diseases effectively so that people with asthma or allergies can lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
By Dr. Gital Patel
May 16, 2012