Two-Thirds of Americans Suffer from Allergies but Only Half See a Physician
According to a recent national survey, while two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans suffer from seasonal or perennial allergy symptoms, only half of these sufferers are addressing the issue with a medical professional, leaving millions across the country unnecessarily suffering from ongoing coughs, sneezes and itchy, watery eyes often causing people to avoid outdoor activities.
The national survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of United Allergy Services, illustrates a strong discrepancy between patients' suffering from allergy symptoms and those that are diagnosed and treated by a physician. Furthermore, 45 percent of patients who do not see a doctor take over-the-counter (OTC) medications that mask symptoms instead of effectively reducing allergic reactions.
"Spring is a wonderful time, unless you suffer from untreated allergies. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are unaware that true allergy relief is accessible through their family doctor or primary care physician. Patients need to discuss symptoms during their next visit to the doctor and doctors need to encourage this conversation," said Jill Bryson, MD, primary care physician at Benton Family Clinic, a Baptist Health affiliate in Benton, Ark. "Golfers, runners, soccer players, outdoor enthusiasts—don't miss out this year. Allergies can often be easily addressed through immunotherapy that provides long-lasting relief instead of briefly masking symptoms."
Allergen immunotherapy, known by most patients as allergy shots, is the only treatment proven to address the underlying issue. Immunotherapy shots are the only treatment that desensitizes the patient to all of the allergens that are triggering their symptoms through a series of customized single injections that can often be administered by the patient at home. This approach is in stark contrast to OTC and prescription drugs that only temporarily mask allergy symptoms while patients continue to suffer and can develop allergy-induced asthma.
"The fact that patients are not pursuing a treatment that provides long-lasting, sustainable allergy relief is a sign that the allergy care community needs to step up and further educate doctors and patients about the treatment options available," said Nicolas Hollis, president and chief executive officer of United Allergy Services. "Patients deserve better. Logically and ethically, a treatment that effectively reduces symptoms and can be conveniently administered at home should be made widely available to patients as a first-line option."
Earlier this year, United Allergy Services announced findings that allergy sufferers want treatment options that can eliminate, rather than mask, ongoing allergy symptoms. As more patients become aware of the treatment options available to them and more physicians recognize their role in allergy care, the entire healthcare system will benefit.
SOURCE United Allergy Services