Newswise — February 17, 2012 - The tragic death of journalist Anthony Shadid due to asthma and allergies underscores the realities of these serious diseases. Allergists Stanley Fineman, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, (ACAAI), and James Sublett, MD, chair of the ACAAI Environment Committee are available to discuss the risks associated with asthma.

More than 24 million Americans, including 7.1 million children, have asthma. The disease is responsible for almost 4,000 deaths a year. An asthma attack is often triggered by allergens such as pollen, dust and animal dander, certain drugs and food additives or respiratory infections. Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, many treatments are available to control this chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs.

Allergists have specialized training to determine what triggers a patient’s asthma and help control their disease to prevent severe complications. Working in partnership with an allergist, having an action plan, recognizing the triggers and early warning signals of an impending attack, and using a peak flow meter to detect the degree of bronchial obstruction, can all contribute to a decrease in the frequency and severity of attacks.

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