Finding Help with Allergies and Asthma

With spring beginning to bloom we here at NeedyMeds would like to highlight some of the many resources out there for asthma and allergy sufferers.

What is the Difference between Allergies and Asthma?

While some of the symptoms are the same, allergies and asthma are two entirely different diseases, but there can be overlap. The primary difference is that allergies are a disease of the immune system whereas asthma is a disease of the lungs. Over 20 million Americans are affected by asthma. There are two types of asthma, allergic and non-allergic, with similar symptoms caused by airway obstruction and inflammation. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing. The difference between the two is that non-allergic asthma is triggered by a variety of causes (such as cold air, exercise, smoke, or stress and anxiety) while allergic asthma is triggered by pollen, mold, pet dander, or other inhaled allergens. Allergies are much more common than asthma, affecting an estimated 50 million Americans. Allergies are broken down into seven types: indoor, outdoor, food, latex, insect, skin and eye. If the spring air is causing you to experience symptoms, you more than likely have outdoor allergies.

Where to Find Help

There are a number of different resources for asthma and allergies available on the NeedyMeds site. The first place to check is the Asthma and Allergies Disease Information Page – which ties together all of the assistance listings we have in one place. This page includes a list of patient assistance programs for asthma and allergy medications. We have also highlighted four helpful groups for asthma and allergy sufferers:

1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – An organization dedicated to “improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergic diseases through education, advocacy and research.”
2. Allergy & Asthma Network – An education, outreach, and advocacy group whose mission is “to eliminate unnecessary suffering and death due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.”
3. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology – An organization of over 6,800 allergists, immunologists, and healthcare professionals dedicated to “the advancement of the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology for optimal patient care.”
4. Treatment Diaries – An innovative social network that privately connects patients so they can share their experiences.

There is also a list of diagnosis-specific programs on the bottom of the page. This list includes both state and national programs that offer assistance in a variety of ways ranging from co-pay assistance to medications, testings and treatments.

Another place to check is our listings of camps by diagnosis. There are three camps available for allergy sufferers and 60 camps for those with Asthma.

All of this information can also be found in our Patient Assistance Program listings and Diagnosis-Based Assistance Programs listings.

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Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.