Asthma & Allergies

Allergic diseases are among the major causes of illness and disability in the United States, affecting as many as 60 million Americans. An allergy is a specific reaction of the body’s immune system to a normally harmless substance, one that does not bother most people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one substance.

Types of allergens that cause allergic reactions include pollens, house dust mites, mold spores, food, latex rubber, insect venom, and medications.

The respiratory symptoms of asthma, which affect approximately 17 million Americans, are often provoked by airborne allergens. Some people with allergy develop asthma, which can be a very serious condition. The symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The shortness of breath is due to a narrowing of the airways in the lungs and to excess mucus production and inflammation. Asthma can be disabling and sometimes fatal.

recommended reading
These articles provide in-depth information and are written to help you make the best healthcare decisions for you and your loved ones.
Allergic Reaction
Allergic Rhinitis
Asthma in Children
Asthma in Teens and Adults  
Atopic Dermatitis
Food Allergies
Insect Bites and Stings and Spider Bites
Medication Allergies

decision points
When dealing with an illness or health problem, you have to make decisions—when to call a doctor, which test to have, and what treatment to use. Decision Points are designed to help you learn about your choices and options, and to prepare you to work with your healthcare provider to make the best decision for your care.
Should I take allergy shots (immunotherapy) for allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma?

action sets
Action Sets are designed to help you take an active role in managing a health condition. Action Sets provide the tools and information you can use in the day-to-day management of your health conditions.
Helping your child use a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with a mask spacer
How to avoid exposure to outdoor allergens
How to control allergens in your home
Identifying asthma triggers
Monitoring your peak expiratory flow
Skin care for atopic dermatitis
Using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI)
Using daily asthma treatment and action plans
tests & procedures

You doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests to evaluate your condition.

Allergy Tests
Chest X-Ray
Home Lung Function Testing
Lung Function Tests
Sinus X-Ray
Sweat Test

For other tests and diagnostic procedures use the section of this site called Medical Tests A to Z .

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Dealing With Emergencies
Rash, Age 11 and Younger
Rash, Age 12 and Older
Respiratory Problems, Age 11 and Younger
Respiratory Problems, Age 12 and Older
Smoking Cessation
medication center
medication assistance

This section provides you with an alphabetical listing of more than 1,000 medications, including prescription drugs and those you can purchase over-the-counter. Just select your medications to learn more about them. You can choose your medication by brand name or generic name.

Medications A-Z

If you are having difficulty paying for your medications you may qualify for financial assistance or free medications. Visit the Medication Assistance Center to learn about available medication and insurance programs.

Don't let financial problems stop you from getting the treatment you need; there are resources and organizations that may be able to help you.

additional resources

This listing provides you with Internet sites that are sponsored by government agencies or are well-known and credible national organizations.

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network
National Eczema Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Surfing the Internet
When looking at Internet sites, remember that the information can be sponsored by anyone. Take into account the sponsoring group or individual when gathering information or help. Be especially careful about giving out personal or financial information.

Learn more about surfing the web:

Alergias [Allergies]
Alergias a los alimentos - [Food Allergies]
Asma [Asthma]
Cómo calmar la comezón - [Relief from Itching]
Dermatitis atópic (eccema) - [Atopic Dermatitis]
Sinusitis [Sinusitis]
Urticaria - [Hives]

Last modified on: 30 June 2015