More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma, a number that continues to rise annually. To help children and adults with symptoms of these conditions know if they are at risk, allergists from around the country will conduct the 17th annual Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) will offer free screenings throughout the year, especially during the month of May, as a part of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. The screenings, sponsored by Teva Respiratory, will be held at about 100 locations throughout the nation.
The program is designed to help properly diagnose those with allergy and asthma symptoms that can include a runny nose, sneezing, trouble breathing and wheezing with a quick, painless assessment. It also helps those already diagnosed understand if their condition is properly controlled.
"Allergies and asthma can often be misdiagnosed and undertreated which can be harmful to sufferers" said allergist John Winder, MD, chair of the ACAAI Nationwide Asthma Screening Program. "The program is designed to help eliminate underdiagnoses by offering free testing for those that believe they may have one, or both, of the conditions. The screening and follow-up treatment can drastically improve patients' quality of life."
During the screening, allergists test participants for three criteria:
• Nasal allergies, which are commonly referred to as hay fever and allergic rhinitis
• Breathing difficulties that may be attributed to asthma
• Breathing problems that may occur during or after exercise which can be exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)
If a participant is showing signs of one or more conditions, the allergists will answer their questions and discuss next steps to find relief. Board-certified allergists are the best-trained health professional to perform allergy testing, and to treat both allergic diseases and asthma conditions properly.
"Allergies and asthma are serious diseases that cost Americans more than $27.3 billion every year," said Dr. Winder. "Anyone with these conditions should be able to feel good and receive proper diagnosis of their condition. No one should expect less."