Along with spring’s warmer weather and fresh colors comes pollen in the air””and tissues, eye drops and inhalers in hand. Allergies affect approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population, with more than 23 million Americans (including 7 million children) suffering from asthma””a respiratory condition that can be triggered by allergies.
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and allergists (who are asthma experts) are offering free screening services at more than 200 locations across the nation. More than 115,000 people have participated in the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program, which is co-sponsored by two groups ““ the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Screenings are quick (about 15 minutes) and easy. You’ll fill out a basic registration form to provide information such as your name and age and to answer a few questions about your breathing. Parents complete forms for children under age eight, and older kids complete their own questionnaires.
After filling out the form, you’ll take a simple breathing test which involves blowing into a tube connected to a computer. This will measure your lung function, or how well your lungs are working. An allergist will review the results with you and refer you to a physician if the test suggests you might have asthma.
For more information and to find screening dates and locations in your area, Google search “Nationwide Asthma Screening Program.” For more information on allergies and asthma, visit the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology web site at acaai.org.