Most Americans Recognize Allergies Are Serious But Don’t Know Who Should Treat Condition

While nearly four in five people know allergies are serious, only one in five realize that allergists are the doctors who specialize in treating the condition, according to a recent survey commissioned by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

More than a third (38 percent) of respondents recognize allergies are a serious disease that can be deadly and two in five (40 percent) acknowledge that they are somewhat serious and can affect your quality of life. However, when asked what type of doctor should be seen for the optimal treatment of allergies, only 21 percent correctly identified an allergist, while 29 percent named general practitioner, family doctor or internist, and another 29 percent said they didn’t know.

People with allergies didn’t fare much better at identifying the appropriate specialist to treat allergies, with only 23 percent naming allergists. More than a third (37 percent) of people who responded said they have allergies, including allergic rhinitis, asthma, hay fever, sinus allergies, eye allergies, food allergies or skin allergies such as contact dermatitis, eczema or hives.

“Allergies can make you miserable and sufferers need to know that allergists are the best trained specialist to treat anyone with allergic conditions,” said Stanley Fineman, M.D., president-elect of the ACAAI. “Allergists conduct appropriate testing to identify what’s triggering the allergy, its severity, and the best treatment plan. No one needs to suffer. We can help all patients find relief.”

The ACAAI survey results of 1,020 adults also found that:
• Women are more likely to recognize allergies are serious, with almost half of women (47 percent) saying allergies can cause death, compared to less than one-third (30 percent) of men.
• People with allergies are not any more likely to say the condition is serious than people without allergies. However, one-quarter (25 percent) of the people with allergies said that the condition is not serious but can make you miserable, compared to only 19 percent of those without. More than one third (35 percent) of people with allergies named general practitioner, family doctor or internist as the type of doctor who should be seen for the treatment of allergies. Only 23 percent recognized that an allergist is the appropriate physician specialist to diagnose and treat allergic diseases.

The survey of 1,020 Americans (503 men and 517 women) was conducted online January 27-28, 2011 among a demographically representative sample of adults 18 and older. The survey was conducted by ONLINE CARAVAN®, an omnibus service of ORC International.

As many as 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies, according to the ACAAI. To learn more about allergies and asthma and to find an allergist, visit www.

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.


Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)

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