Nov 022013

The ongoing cough you can’t get rid of could be a signal that you have asthma or allergies. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects 20.3 million people in the United States. It accounts for approximately 14.5 million missed work days for adults and 14 million missed school days for children annually.

For people who have asthma, the air flowing in and out of their lungs may be blocked by muscle swelling and squeezing. Symptoms of asthma include cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing. Other conditions than may cause chronic cough include allergies, sinus problems and even acid reflux.

Ask yourself these questions:

For you:

• Is there a family history of asthma or allergies?

• Are you constantly short of breath and wheezing?

• When do you notice your symptoms – when you have a cold, when you are exercising or around allergens, such as pollen, mold and animal dander?

• Are you missing work because of symptoms?

• Is coughing and wheezing keeping you up at night?

For your child:

• Does your child cough, wheeze (a rattling sound when they breathe), have chest tightness or shortness of breath?

• Does your child cough or wheeze with play, exercise, laughter or during temper tantrums?

• Is your child missing school because of symptoms?

• Is coughing and wheezing keeping your child up at night?

• Is there a family history of asthma or allergies?

If you are experiencing symptoms and they are keeping you from work, school or normal activities, you should consider talking to a doctor to see if you have asthma.

“Every person has their own triggers,” said John E. Rooney, M.D., Ph.D., a board certified allergist at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of New York. “If you have asthma or allergies, you can minimize your symptoms by avoiding the factors that trigger your symptoms and by working with your allergist/immunologist.”

An allergist/immunologist is a physician specially trained to manage and treat allergies and asthma. To help prevent symptoms, he or she will work with you to figure out your triggers and develop an appropriate management plan, including developing environmental controls and prescribing medication if needed.

For additional information regarding asthma and/or allergy related symptoms, as well as their corresponding treatment, contact Dr. Rooney at (516) 931-5353 or (516) 541-4171.