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5 facts about allergies and asthma

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May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Now's a perfect time to learn more about these common conditions! Here are five interesting things to know: 

1. Asthma and allergies are common

More than 24 million Americans have asthma and 50+ million Americans have allergies (including hay fever, food allergy and eczema). Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States.

2. Some risk factors for asthma and allergies are avoidable

Researchers and doctors learn more every day about asthma and allergies, including why some people struggle with these conditions and others don't. Some risk factors for allergies and asthma—including family history or a personal history of a severe respiratory infection in childhood—aren't within your control. But certain risk factors, like smoking, obesity and (to some extent) occupational exposure and air pollution can be avoided or minimized.

Did you know? According to the American Lung Association, people who have parents with asthma are three to six times more likely to have asthma compared to people who don't have parents with asthma.

3. Children can outgrow allergies—but there's no guarantee 

It's possible for some children to "outgrow" a food allergy, meaning they are no longer allergic to a certain type of food once they get older. However, some kids can have allergies up to and including adulthood. It's also possible to develop allergies for the first time as an adult.

If you have a child with a food allergy, it's important to visit their primary doctor or allergist regularly to ensure your child has appropriate treatment and, if necessary, appropriate emergency care, such as an EpiPen® or rescue inhaler.

4. There is no cure for asthma or allergies—but there is treatment

Asthma and allergies aren't curable yet. But we do know there are things you can do at home to control allergy symptoms or avoid an asthma attack. It's also important to follow your provider's instructions and take all your medication as instructed. 

5. You can get involved!

Help combat myths about allergies and asthma and show support to your loved ones living with these conditions by:

  • Donating to a local or national organization involved in allergy and asthma research, such as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
  • Join AAFA's Advocacy Network
  • Use your personal or professional social media platforms to share official awareness campaigns 
  • Ask your loved ones with allergies or asthma how you can help (e.g., pick up a prescription for them, go with them to their medical appointments), especially on days with a high pollen count
  • Contact the Center for Clinical Research (CCR) at SIU Medicine to find out if there are any upcoming clinical trials about allergies and asthma

 

Do you struggle with allergies and asthma? 

Our providers at SIU Medicine help men, women and children of all ages find relief from their asthma and allergy symptoms. If you or a loved one need help, call 217-545-8000 to schedule an appointment with a doctor today. 

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