(BPT) - If you suffer from bothersome environmental allergy symptoms, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are affected by allergic rhinitis, or hay fever—inflammation of the upper airways (nose, mouth and throat) that causes runny nose, congestion and sneezing. However, many allergy sufferers tolerate uncomfortable symptoms without seeking advice from a health care provider (HCP).
A recent national Harris Poll survey of over 2,000 adults in the U.S. shows:
- While over 70% have experienced environmental allergy symptoms, only about 30% have been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis or nasal allergies by a health care provider (HCP).
- Nearly half of people surveyed with environmental allergies report that symptoms have a major to moderate negative impact on daily life, and more than half say allergies have affected performance at work and/or school.
- About 75% of people surveyed discussed allergies with an HCP, but less than 20% have visited an allergist for an evaluation and treatment, and only about 10% have ever discussed allergy immunotherapy (AIT) options with an HCP, even though AIT can eliminate or significantly reduce symptoms over time.
To help address these gaps, actress and entrepreneur JoAnna Garcia Swisher, currently starring in the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias, along with her husband Nick Swisher, retired MLB World Champion for the New York Yankees and current FOX Baseball analyst, and allergist and immunologist Payel Gupta, M.D., FACAAI, are joining #AllergyHomeFree as spokespeople to help empower allergy sufferers to learn more about how allergies are triggered, symptoms and treatment options.
“Nick and I have been suffering from environmental allergies for years. Our allergies are something we always have to manage. It’s especially hard when I’m filming outside for long hours on end,” said JoAnna. “We are excited to help educate and provide resources to fellow allergy sufferers to learn more about their allergies.”
Environmental Allergies and Treatment Options
Environmental allergies are caused by the body’s immune system overreacting to a normally harmless substance like pollen. When someone with allergies comes into contact with an allergen, the body forms antibodies that trigger a chemical response, causing symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, or itchy, watery eyes. In addition to seasonal allergies, which occur during certain times of the year and in certain areas of the country, many people have indoor allergies, such as to dust mites, which occur year-round., Especially during this time of year, where people are staying indoors more, people may experience symptoms related to house dust mites.
“Many people with environmental allergies suffer unnecessarily, and as this survey showed, they are quite impacted by their allergy symptoms in their daily lives,” said Dr. Gupta. “It’s important to be assessed by an allergist to determine what in the environment is causing the allergies. Based on the allergy’s trigger and severity of symptoms, an allergist can help identify what type of treatment option will be most effective.”
While people may opt for medications to control symptoms, there are also allergy immunotherapy (AIT) options that work naturally with the body to treat the underlying cause of allergies long-term. AIT trains the body’s immune system over time to stop attacking allergens, eliminating or significantly reducing symptoms. With AIT, small amounts of the specific environmental allergy trigger are introduced into the body so the immune system can slowly learn to tolerate them better.
Sublingual immunotherapy tablets (SLIT-tablets) are a form of AIT that are prescription medications taken daily. The first dose is taken at the doctor’s office, and then the tablet is taken once daily at home. Allergy shots, also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy, are another form of AIT, which have varying doses and regimens depending on the prescribing physician. They contain extracts individually mixed by an allergy specialist based on a person’s allergy triggers and are administered in the allergist’s office.
Take Control of Allergy Symptoms with #AllergyHomeFree
To learn more information about allergies and treatment options and explore interactive content and resources—including tools to track allergy symptoms, aid conversations with a health care professional and find an allergist in your area—visit AllergyHomeFree.com.
The free Klarify mobile app is also available for IOS and Android devices.
This article, AllergyHomeFree.com and the Klarify mobile app are educational resources provided by ALK, Inc.
 #AllergyHomeFree Survey, conducted by The Harris Poll in association with ALK-Abelló A/S and Green Room Communications. September 2020.
 Mayo Clinic. Allergy medications: Know your options. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy-medications/art-20047403. Accessed October 2, 2020.
 Mayo Clinic. Allergies. Overview. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases- conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497. Accessed October 2, 2020.
 Mayo Clinic. Hay fever. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20373039. Accessed October 2, 2020.
 Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies). Available at: https://www.aafa.org/rhinitis-nasal-allergy-hayfever/. Accessed October 2, 2020.
 U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Allergen Extract Sublingual Tablets. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/allergenics/allergen-extract-sublingual-tablets. Accessed October 2, 2020.
 Gunawardana NC and Durham SR. New approaches to allergen immunotherapy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2018;121(3):293-305.