Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month: How You Can Help Year-Round
If asthma and allergies have had an impact on your life or the life of a loved one, and you’re seeking opportunities to help, here are some ideas from the Allergy & Asthma Center to aid awareness all year round.
During Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, organizations, healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers converge to raise awareness about asthma and allergies. Their contributions can do a great deal of good for individuals who have or are affected by these conditions. However, allergies and asthma don’t stop when May is over – awareness is an ongoing effort.
While your primary care physician can provide care for a wide variety of needs, some conditions — including asthma and allergies — are better treated by a specialist who has had the appropriate training in a particular area of medicine. In this case, your provider will want to refer you to a professional in whom they trust. But how do referrals work, and why is this step necessary?
At the Allergy & Asthma Center, we want our patients to understand the ins and outs of their allergy and asthma care, including what referrals are and why they might need one. Check out this basic guide to better understand the referral process:
What Exactly is a Referral?
A referral is a recommendation from your primary care doctor that you see a specialist, such as an allergist, to receive specialized care, such as an allergy test. This recommendation will come in the form of a letter from your primary care physician addressed to the specialist, and it will contain all the relevant medical information the specialist will need to begin your care. This may include previous treatments you’ve had for your symptoms and the results of any tests your doctor has performed in the past.
If asthma and allergies have had an impact on your life or the life of a loved one, and you’re seeking opportunities to help, here are some ideas from the Allergy & Asthma Center to aid awareness all year-round.
How Can Organizations Contribute?
Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month isn’t the only time for organizations of all kinds to support those living with allergies and asthma. Whether you’re donating to allergy and asthma research or directly contributing resources to patients, there are plenty of opportunities to give year-round. Here are just a few related charities you may consider supporting:
- Fight for Clean Air: an advocacy organization that fights for improved air quality with the health of allergy and asthma sufferers in mind.
- GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma): donations to fund asthma research year-round.
- Wheels for Wishes: accepts donations of used vehicles and donates profits to children in need, including those whose allergies and asthma lead to frequent hospitalization.
- AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America): lists a number of additional research and relief projects that need support from organizations like yours.
What Can Patients Do?
For patients, Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month is a great reminder to check in with yourself and connect with your healthcare providers about your condition. Think back to when you were first diagnosed. Have your symptoms changed since then, or have they remained the same? Are your current medications and inhalers working, or do you feel you may need to update your prescription? If your observations suggest you need to make a change to your treatment plan, touch base with your allergist or asthma specialist as soon as you can.
It’s also important for patients to learn as much in-depth information about their condition as they can. If you live with allergies or asthma, be sure to take advantage of an increased number of educational resources posted by specialists and organizations. This way, you can empower yourself with the knowledge to self-advocate and live your life to the fullest.
How Can Caregivers Participate?
If you’re a parent or caretaker to someone living with allergies and asthma, it’s equally important for you to take the time to educate yourself about these conditions. Be on the lookout for new articles and research published by specialists around the month of May – staying up-to-date with the most current information will help you provide the best support to your loved one.
Additionally, you can participate in awareness and fundraising efforts that can use your individual support, particularly to the organizations listed above. There are several 5k runs held across the country to support allergy and asthma awareness, and while 2020 may be a difficult year to accomplish this due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s a worthy goal to be ready to run when May 2021 comes around.
It’s also important to advocate for your loved ones and address the seriousness of their condition. Because allergies and asthma are common, many who aren’t directly affected by them tend to forget their severity, and they may not understand how important it is to protect and accommodate those who are. When given the opportunity, share these statistics with others: 11 Americans die from complications from asthma each day, and an estimated five Americans die every day from an anaphylactic allergic reaction. Use your experiences and your voice to speak out for allergy and asthma sufferers, both during the month of May and throughout the year.
How Can Healthcare Providers Help?
Allergy and asthma specialists aren’t the only healthcare providers who care for allergy and asthma patients. Primary care physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, community health workers and others are all essential to treating and spreading awareness of these conditions. If you’re a healthcare provider, consider utilizing specialized resources to further your education on asthma and allergies so you can better educate your patients. It’s also important to keep educational resources available in the office for your patients to easily access.
At the Allergy & Asthma Center, we are prioritizing your safety as well as your continuous care during this difficult season for allergy and asthma sufferers. We are now OPEN for in-person visits, and we are continuing to enact strict safety measures to protect our patients.
If you have concerns about your allergies or asthma, schedule an appointment at the Allergy & Asthma Center today.