May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month, and it's a great time to evaluate whether your asthma is under control. If it's not, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has information on why you should see an allergist.
If you have allergies, the medical professional you want to see is an allergist. And if you have asthma, the medical professional you want to see is also an allergist. Many people with asthma don't know allergists are specialist in asthma care - and they can get asthma symptoms under control.
‘If you have allergies, the medical professional you want to see is an allergist. And if you have asthma, the medical professional you want to see is also an allergist.’
"Allergists are specially trained to identify the factors that trigger asthma," says allergist Bryan Martin, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "But statistics show most people with asthma, including children, don''t see an allergist - a specialist who could improve their symptoms. Allergists take a detailed history, and may do testing to identify your unique set of triggers and symptoms, and create an asthma plan to treat them."
Studies show that when an allergist treats asthma, it results in:
- A 77% reduction in time lost from work or school.
- A 45% reduction in sick care office visits.
- A 77% reduction in emergency room costs.
- Improved emotional and physical well-being, and greater satisfaction with your physician and with the quality of your general medical care.
You should 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.
While asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled. And when asthma is controlled, you can expect improvement in your overall health. Controlling asthma means:
- No or fewer asthma symptoms, even at night or after exercise.
- Prevention of all or most asthma attacks.
- Participation in all activities, including exercise.
- No emergency room visits or hospital stays.
- Less need for quick-relief medicines.
- Minimized side effects from asthma medications.
Treatment for your allergies may include immunotherapy (allergy shots). Allergists are specialists at providing allergy shots, which can reduce sensitivity to the allergens that trigger asthma attacks, and significantly reduce the severity of the disease. They can also prevent the development of asthma in some children with seasonal allergies.