America Fails National Allergy Awareness Test
Most Allergy Sufferers Don't Know Basic Allergy Facts
March 23, 2004 -- Allergy sufferers may know it is allergy
season, but that's about as far as their allergy awareness goes, according to
the first national allergy awareness test.
The test shows allergy sufferers may think they know enough
about their allergies, but there's a gap between what they know and the impact
allergy symptoms have on their lives.
For example, the allergy report card surveyors found that most
allergy sufferers say their symptoms are controllable, but eight out of 10 also
say allergy symptoms disrupt their lives.
And when it comes to prevention, allergy sufferers got an
"F" because nearly half say they wait until symptoms occur before
taking action, rather than taking advantage of therapies that can prevent
symptoms from occurring.
"When it comes to our health, we need to strive to do
better than average," says Mike Tringale, director of marketing and
communications at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which conducted
the test, in a news release. "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
Allergy Report Card
For the survey, researchers interviewed 1,000 men and women
about their knowledge of allergy triggers, symptoms, prevention, and
About half of those surveyed were seasonal allergy sufferers,
who were also asked additional questions about their management of their
Allergy sufferers scored poor marks in many areas of allergy
Awareness, "F": Only 28% said they were very knowledgeable
about allergies. In addition, only one in five knew that having a family
history of allergies increases their risk of allergies.
Triggers, "C": Most could identify common triggers such as
pollen, pet dander, and mold. But awareness was lower for other triggers such
Symptoms, "F": 80% said allergy symptoms, such as stuffy
nose, congestion, itch, and watery eyes, or a runny nose, disrupt their
Prevention, "F": Most fail to act before allergy symptoms
Treatment, "D": Many are aware of over-the-counter allergy
medications, but many aren't treating their symptoms because of fears about
Create an Allergy Plan
Researchers say it's important to increase allergy awareness
and develop a personal allergy action plan to help prevent allergies year-round
based on your own triggers.
For example, some steps to avoid spring allergy triggers
- Check your local allergy forecast to know when pollen counts are
- When your allergy forecast is high, try to spend more time inside --
especially in the morning when the outdoor pollen levels are highest.
- If you must go outside or work outdoors, wear a facemask to limit the
amount of pollen you inhale and change your clothes when you go inside.
- Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter when doing your spring
cleaning and keep windows closed. Dusting with a damp cloth will also help keep
dust mites at bay.