Know What Resources Help Protect Against Asthma Attacks

May 20, 2019 | Allergies, Allergy Desensitization (Allergy shots), Asthma, News, Pet Allergies

About 26 million Americans suffer from asthma – 19 million adults and 7 million children – and it is a leading cause of lost days at work and school. Many people who suffer from asthma feel as though their symptoms, and even treatment, are set in stone by their allergist or primary care physician, but they don’t think about how they can work with their physician to constantly and consistently improve their symptoms. Moreover, they don’t know that allergists are the best trained specialists to help them create a plan to effectively deal with symptoms.

If you suffer from asthma, you may think you’re “on your own” when it comes to figuring out how to control symptoms and triggers. You might not realize there are resources and information available to help you navigate the tough road of asthma.

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity to make people aware of useful tools to help control asthma. One of the goals of asthma treatment is to have a normal, healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. Allergists are specially trained to work with patients to reach goals that help them breath better and create healthier lifestyles.

Following is information that may help you understand how best to control your asthma:

Biologics: The New Frontier in Asthma

Some people who suffer from severe asthma have tried every treatment available, but nothing works. Biologics are personalized treatments that target specific, individual pathways that trigger the worst symptoms. Rather than relieving symptoms, the therapy attacks the source of the asthma at the cells that lead to allergic inflammation.

Laws banning second-hand smoke

People know smoking is bad for you, especially if you have asthma, but many do not realize the benefits of staying away from second-hand smoke. A recent study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the ACAAI’s scientific journal, showed emergency rooms in communities with indoor smoking bans had a 17% decrease in children needing care for asthma attacks. Previous research showed kids are more likely to be hospitalized for asthma if they are exposed to second-hand smoke at home. This new study shows that even short exposures to secondhand smoke in public spaces like restaurants can affect asthma flare-ups.

Recognize the signs when your asthma isn’t controlled

Many people think their asthma is under control when it is not. A visit to the allergist can help you identify what changes might be needed to improve your symptoms.

Keep the “Rule of Twos” in mind to help understand if your asthma is not under control:

  • Do you have asthma symptoms or use your quick relief inhaler more than two times a week?

  • Do you wake up at night with asthma symptoms more than two times a month?

  • Do you refill your quick relief medication more than two times per year?

Also note if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening asthma attack.

  • Have symptoms that are unusual or hard to diagnose.

  • Have hay fever or sinus infections that can complicate asthma.

  • Have been admitted to a hospital because of asthma.

Identify experts who know how to help

Many people with asthma don’t know allergists are specialist in asthma care – and they can get asthma symptoms under control. Allergists are specially trained to identify the factors that trigger asthma. 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 percent reduction in time lost from work or school.

  • A 45 percent reduction in sick care office visits.

  • A 77 percent 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.

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.

If you’re unsure if you have asthma, or you want to find out if your symptoms are under control, check out the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program. Through the program, allergists offer free asthma screenings to help you discover if your breathing is on track. The ACAAI Scope and Impact of the Asthma Epidemic infographic also contains valuable asthma management information.

Consult your doctor with any questions or concerns, or contact us at 309-452-0995 (Normal office) or 217-717-4404 (Springfield office) to schedule an appointment to get your allergies in check.