Reducing 2.1 million emergency room visits, 1 count at a time

November 08, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD. (November 8, 2013) - Asthma is the most common chronic illness and is responsible for 2.1 million emergency room visits annually. But according to a study being presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), these costly visits can be reduced by 55 percent when inhalers contain a simple dose counter.

Dose counters on rescue inhalers display the amount of medication remaining in the device, but are not standard for all meter dose inhalers.

"The study reports asthma related emergency room visits are estimated to be 55 percent lower in people with asthma who use dose counting inhalers than in those who use inhalers without dose counters," said allergist Allen Meadows, MD, ACAAI fellow and chair of the Public Education Committee. "Dose counters help patients know if they are getting enough medication and warn if the inhaler is nearing empty, both of which can help reduce asthma attacks."

According to ACAAI, 26 million Americans have asthma, a number that is increasing every year. Asthma is responsible for 4,000 deaths and an economic cost of $20.7 billion annually.

"While dose counters can help reduce the number of asthma related emergency department visits annually, this alone is not enough," said allergist Michael Foggs, M.D., ACAAI president-elect. "Research has shown that effective asthma treatment includes regular care by an allergist who can closely monitor the disease, help identify and avoid asthma triggers, and develop an emergency plan for severe attacks."

Improved outcomes with a board-certified allergist include: "Asthma is a serious disease that can have life-threatening consequences when not properly controlled," said Dr. Foggs. "Symptoms may seem to improve over the years, but asthma never goes away. An asthma attack can strike at any time, making this disease a silent killer."
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The winter's cold and windy climate can trigger asthma attacks. The ACAAI allergists advise asthmatics always carry and use prescribed inhalers. To learn more about asthma and to locate an allergist, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.

The ACAAI Annual Meeting is being held Nov. 7-11 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore. For more news and research being presented at the meeting, follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI.

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 5,700 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College 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. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

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