National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Allergy season is here, bringing itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, and runny noses. May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to asthma and allergies and talk to family, friends, and co-workers about the prevalence, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.

In extreme cases, allergic reactions can also include rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble and asthma attacks.

What is an Allergy?

  • An allergy is a hypersensitivity immune response to normally harmless substances, such as pollens or foods. For most people, these substances—also called allergens—pose no problem. In allergic individuals, however, the immune system identifies them as a threat and produces a symptomatic response.
  • The symptoms of allergic diseases are numerous and may also be attributable to more than one allergy, as up to 80 percent of allergic patients are sensitized to more than one allergen.*                 

What is Asthma?

  • Asthma, the chronic and complex inflammatory disorder that narrows the airways, affects both children and adults. Approximately 250,000 people worldwide die each year from asthma, and almost all of these deaths are avoidable.*
  • Allergens are the trigger of asthma symptoms for the majority of patients. These may include perennial allergens, such as dust mites and pets, and seasonal allergens, such as pollen.

Did You Know?

  • Children with asthma and concomitant food allergy have a seven times higher risk for life-threatening asthma exacerbations.*
  • Patients with asthma, allergen exposure, and viral infection face a nearly 20-fold increased risk for hospitalization compared to patients with allergies alone.*
  • Patients with asthma plus an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts are at an increased risk for fatal anaphylaxis.*

Diagnostic Testing For Allergic Triggers

Identifying and managing allergic triggers, in addition to pharmacological management, can have a significant impact on control of allergies. BioReference offers ImmunoCap IgE blood tests to identify a patient’s sensitization to allergic triggers, without the need for a skin prick test. Regional respiratory profiles help pinpoint explicit allergens in your region like mites, epidermal, food, grass, insect, mold, tree and weeds. Food sensitivity tests help evaluate whether you respond to normal food hypersensitivities, including almond, cashew, hazelnut, pecan, nut, sesame, cod fish, salmon, fish, scallop, shrimp, milk, soybean, wheat and more. Click here for more information about allergy testing. 

In most cases, allergies are mild, and not life-threatening, making them easier to live with and treat. Take time during National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month to speak with your healthcare provider to confirm if testing is right for you.

*Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, ThermoFisher Scientific “allergy Insider”