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Asthma and Allergies

Allergists Are Helping Asthma Patients Breathe Easy

Photo: Courtesy of Chanan Greenblatt

Todd Mahr, M.D.

President, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

If you have asthma, you’re probably just looking for relief for your symptoms. But what medical professional should you see to get help with that relief?

An allergist is your best bet for treating asthma and getting your symptoms under control.

The right specialist

Studies show most people with asthma, including children, don’t see an allergist despite them being able to help mitigate asthma symptoms. Allergists are trained to identify the factors that trigger asthma, which are often related to allergies. They can do testing to identify your unique set of triggers and symptoms, and then create an asthma plan to treat both.

Patients who see an allergist are nearly three times as likely to say their treatment was effective compared to if they tried managing their condition with over-the-counter medicine. Asthma patients who regularly see an allergist are less likely to visit an emergency room or be hospitalized because of their asthma. Those patients also see a 77 percent reduction in time lost from work or school because of their disease.

Consider going to an allergist if you:

  • Have asthma symptoms every day and often at night that limit your activities
  • Have had a life-threatening asthma attack
  • Have symptoms that are unusual or hard to diagnose
  • Have co-existing conditions such as severe allergic rhinitis (“hay fever”) or sinusitis that complicate asthma or its diagnosis
  • Have been admitted to a hospital because of asthma.

Your allergist may recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots and tablets) if you have both asthma and allergies. Allergy immunotherapy can reduce sensitivity to the allergens that trigger asthma attacks and significantly reduce the severity of the disease. They can also prevent asthma from developing in some children with seasonal allergies.

While asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled, and when asthma is controlled, you can expect your overall health to improve. See an allergist if you are ready to take control of your asthma and start enjoying life again.

Todd Mahr, M.D., President, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, [email protected]

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