With spring in the air, health care providers can expect to see significant increase in visits from allergy and asthma patients. People who have spring allergies and asthma may enjoy a break during the cold winter months, but as the weather warms and trees begin to bloom, symptoms return.
Although commonly referred to as “hayfever”, spring allergies aren’t usually caused by hay and don’t result in a fever. With the warmer weather vegetation blooms and pollen is carried by the wind and easy inhaled through the nose and into the respiratory system. These allergens trigger allergies and allergies can trigger allergic asthma.
Throughout the past two decades prevalence rates of asthma and allergies have doubled, resulting in nearly two million emergency room visits; 11 million doctors office visits, 500,000 hospitalizations; and 5,000 deaths each year in the United States. More than 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), common asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, tightness or discomfort. The presence of these symptoms are indications for considering asthma; however, spirometry is needed to establish a diagnosis. Airway obstruction is the hallmark of asthma. Consequently, the NAEPP asthma guidelines recommend spirometry to identify obstruction, assess reversibility, and if confirmed for the classification of severity.
Testing for asthma with spirometry is quick and painless. If you’re considering spirometry for your practice what better time than now, it’s good for your patients and your practice.