When it comes to allergies, Americans don't make the grade

03/22/04

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says allergy sufferers need to study

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's (AAFA) first National Allergy Awareness Test released today, allergy sufferers scored average to failing grades in the areas of awareness, triggers, symptoms, prevention, and treatment. Results from the Test show that allergy sufferers think they are knowledgeable about allergies, however there is a gap between what sufferers know about allergies and the impact allergy symptoms have on their lives. It is especially important this time of year for consumers to educate themselves about allergies and develop an Allergy Action Plan by logging on to www.allergyactionplan.com.

"When it comes to our health, we need to strive to do better than average," says Mike Tringale, director of marketing and communications at AAFA. "To raise the allergy grade, Americans need to learn how to manage symptoms so allergies do not impact their quality of life, by disrupting daily activities or preventing attendance at important events."

The Test, conducted by International Communications Research, surveyed 1,005 Americans and is part of AAFA's nationwide Allergy Action Plan to help consumers recognize, prevent and safely treat allergy symptoms. The Web site, www.allergyactionplan.com, provides information about spring allergies, local allergy forecasts and Allergy AlertTM e-mails to tell allergy sufferers when local pollen counts are elevated.

National Allergy Awareness Test Report Card

    Awareness: F
    • Allergy sufferers know that spring is prime allergy season, but they don't know a lot of the basic allergy facts. For example, one in five allergy sufferers do not know that a family history of allergies increases the likelihood of having allergies.
    • When it comes to knowing the facts about allergies, sufferers receive an "F" because only 28 percent say they are very knowledgeable about allergies.

    Triggers: C

    • Allergy sufferers scored a "C" on the subject of allergy triggers. Most allergy sufferers could identify common allergy triggers such as pollen, pet dander and mold. However, awareness is lower for less common triggers such as cockroaches. Being aware of the causes of allergy symptoms will help people effectively control their spring allergy symptoms.

    Symptoms: F

    • On the subject of symptoms, allergy sufferers fail. Although most allergy sufferers believe their symptoms are controllable, eight out of ten report that allergies disrupt their lives.
    • Many suffer from a stuffy nose or congestion, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and a runny nose.

    Prevention: F

    • When it comes to preventing allergy symptoms, allergy sufferers get an "F" because almost half (49%) wait until symptoms occur before taking action. There are simple things that allergy sufferers can do to prevent allergies such as spending more time inside when pollen counts are high.

    Treatment: D

    • Allergy sufferers are aware of allergy treatment innovations, like over-the-counter non-drowsy allergy products, but many are not treating their symptoms because they still believe medication causes drowsiness or other side effects.

"Even with all of the options available to relieve allergy symptoms, people still do not know what to use," says Sheryl Lucas, M.D., board member of AAFA and practicing allergist with the Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic Medical Group in Washington, D.C. "Allergy sufferers should know there are non-drowsy antihistamines that are available over the counter, like AlavertTM and ClaritinŽ, so they do not need to put up with allergy symptoms."

National Allergy Awareness Test Methodology
International Communications Research (ICR) conducted interviews with seasonal allergy sufferers and a segment of non-allergy sufferers about their awareness and knowledge of seasonal allergies. A total of 1,005 telephone interviews were completed between October 20 and November 2, 2003, among both men and women ages 18 and older, 503 of which were conducted among allergy sufferers. Sufferers were asked additional questions about their personal habits, practices, related causes, management and treatment of allergy symptoms. For more information on the National Allergy Awareness Test, visit www.allergyactionplan.com.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

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