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Relieving asthma and allergies.

Experts offer the following information to help manage asthma and nasal allergies.

Are nasal allergies and asthma the same thing? Although many people have both conditions at the same time, nasal allergies and asthma are two distinct problems. An allergy--an acquired, abnormal response to everyday substances--often affects the upper airways and nasal areas. Asthma--a chronic lung disease characterized by airway constriction and inflammation--typically causes symptoms in the chest. Dust, infections, and exercise may trigger asthma attacks.

What is the recommended treatment for asthma? Current guidelines recommend inhaled corticosteroids to symptoms from occurring. Long-acting bronchodilators are used to keep airway muscles relaxed and to improve airflow.

Unanimously approved by a government advisory committee in May, Xolair is a promising drug for treating people with allergic asthma. Doctors are enthusiastic about Xolair because it represents a new approach to help prevent allergic reactions, which can lead to life-threatening asthma attacks in the first place.

"It's the first really dramatic advance in 30 years for allergic asthma," says William Berger, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. A California-based allergist, Dr. Berger also helped test Xolair.

What is the recommended treatment for nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis? Doctors often prescribe intranasal corticosteroids to help relieve nasal inflammation and congestion.

What measures reduce exposure to allergic triggers in the home?

* Close windows during the pollen season;

* Clean the house to reduce mold and dust;

* Replace wall-to-wall carpeting with wooden or linoleum flooring;

* Cover pillows, mattresses and box springs with dustproof casings;

* Launder sheets and pillow-cases weekly in hot water;

* Keep the household free of pets and indoor plants;

* Prohibit smoking in the family home and car. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology is conducting free screenings to help people with breathing problems. For a list of screening sites, visit www.allergy.mcg.edu.
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Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Medical Update
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
Words:304
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