May 01, 2024

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 24 million people struggle with asthma and over 50 million people struggle with allergies. Asthma and allergies can be life-threatening if left untreated, however there are several courses of action including a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a medical professional.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a common respiratory condition leading to difficulty in breathing. Asthma is frequently associated with inflammation and decreasing of the airways. Some common symptoms include but are not limited to:

·       Persistent coughing

·       Wheezing

·       Shortness of breath

·       Fatigue

There are several triggers for asthma, such as allergies, changes in air quality, pollution, and exercise.

What are Allergies?

Allergies are a reaction from your immune system responding to external factors such as pollen, pet dander, or certain foods. Allergies are very common, with every 1 in 3 adults containing the condition. Symptoms can vary depending on how the allergen enters the body, such as through the mouth, skin, or nasal passages. Some common symptoms include:

·       Itchy eyes

·       Sneezing

·       Coughing

·       Fatigue

·       Hives

·       Inflammation

·       Swelling

·       Dizziness

·       Anaphylaxis

What are the treatments for Asthma and Allergies?

Asthma and allergies are treatable with the proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Allergy testing can be very helpful in confirming allergy and identifying which allergens are triggering your condition. Avoiding major triggers and creating an action plan with a medical professional will help keep asthma and allergies under control.

“There are several ways to treat asthma, such as inhaled, oral, or nebulized medications.  Based on the severity of your asthma, medications are started and either stepped up or stepped down depending on response,” said Margaret Co, M.D. “Targeted therapies in the form of injectable biologics directly block the pathway causing inflammation in certain types of asthma and are very effective for the more severe asthmatic.” These treatments provide several benefits to those with asthma, like improved breathing, reduced asthma attacks, and reduced swelling and mucus in the lungs.”

Not all allergies are life-threatening, but if they get in the way of daily living, allergies can be treatable with over-the-counter and prescriptive medications. “If your symptoms are getting worse and medications are not helping, or if you do not want to keep taking medications for several months every year, immunotherapy or allergy shots should be considered. Immunotherapy involves giving increased doses of your specific allergen (pollen, pet, or dust mite) and teaches your immune system to tolerate it, which can significantly reduce symptoms and medication use. The effects can last for several years after treatment ends.”

If you suspect you have asthma or allergies, schedule an appointment with a primary care provider or an asthma and allergy specialist. To find a doctor near you, visit In-person and virtual care appointments are available.