As Claudette S says, “I’m not the typical allergy patient.” Claudette, a speech therapist, doesn’t have asthma, and until about a year ago her respiratory health seemed just fine. Then in early spring 2011, she came down with bronchitis. By Mother’s Day, her illness had developed into pneumonia. Both her primary-care provider and her husband – who also happens to be a primary-care provider – were stumped about why Claudette’s breathing problems persisted. She didn’t have the sinusitis or runny nose that many doctors usually associate with an allergy flare-up. Her main symptoms were frequent migraines, eyes so irritated that she had to stop wearing contact lenses, and an occasional fever that appeared when she became sick.

Luckily for Claudette, a friend suggested seeing an allergist. “My girlfriend said that maybe my immune system was suppressed because I’d been chronically sick and on so many medications,” Claudette says. “So I went and had allergy testing – and it turns out that I’m allergic to just about every kind of pollen there is. And here in Baton Rouge, we’d been having a really bad pollen season. I’m also allergic to dust mites.”

The discovery shocked Claudette’s primary-care doctor and her husband, but it made sense looking back. “Now I understood why my eyes felt so itchy and irritated that I couldn’t wear contacts,” she says.

Claudette’s allergist prescribed immunotherapy (allergy shots), and Claudette took steps to make her home more breathable, too. “My allergist recommended a good brand of mattress and pillow encasings for my bed, and we’ve got air filters in the attic where it’s dusty and downstairs,” she says. “I hadn’t noticed that I’d had breathing problems around dust, but I’m taking precautions just to make sure.”

Her advice to people with mysterious chronic health issues that share even a couple of symptoms with those of allergies or asthma: Consider seeing an allergist. “I’m normally very healthy, and I lead a very healthy lifestyle,” she says. “You know your own body, and you know when something’s wrong. I’m glad I made an appointment to try and figure it out.”

It was just another day at her job as a staff assistant for a congressman when 28 year-old Katie thought she’d drop by a health fair in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill.

“They were having an asthma expo, and it was pretty fun – they had the Wii game ‘Just Dance,’ and that brought a lot of people in,” she says of the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) annual Asthma Awareness Day Capitol Hill, with asthma screenings organized by ACAAI. “I participated in the asthma screenings, and I scored in the ‘questionable’ range on every test that I took. So I made an appointment to see an allergist.”

Looking back, Katie sees little signs that she might have had asthma. “My sister has had bouts of it, but other than her I don’t know of anyone else in my family,” she says. “I work out for extended periods of time and would get really winded, but I thought it was just because I was working out for a long time. Then one day I was climbing the escalator out of the Metro, and when I got to the top I was out of breath. I thought, ‘This should not be happening to someone at my age and in good general health.’”

The allergist performed additional tests. “She agreed that I needed a bronchodilator inhaler and a prescription medication,” Katie says. “I initially used both very regularly, but now I just carry the inhaler with me and don’t have to use it too often.”

Katie feels more confident knowing the source of her breathing difficulties, and knowing exactly what to do when they arise. “It definitely made my life a lot easier,” she says. “It’s good to know that I have the inhaler there because when I need it, I really need it!”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Lorrie M. refers to her family's allergist as "an angel.” Lorrie credits their allergist with turning her son Jacob's life around – from his health to his grades and confidence.

"Everyone in our family has asthma," Lorrie says. "Jacob has severe food allergies, allergic asthma, and exercise-induced asthma. About three years ago, he was a mess. He was missing school a lot, and even though he always had doctors' notes, his school called the district attorney to report his high number of absences. On top of all that, he has a learning disability. We needed to get him healthy so he could go to school. I was desperate."

Lorrie and Jacob first visited their allergist "in tears," Lorrie says. "I felt like Jacob had tried all the known asthma and allergy medications in the world and was only getting worse. To be honest, I was scared." The allergist worked with Jacob's family to come up with the best treatment for him, and even helped the family deal with insurance companies to make sure they could get the medication he needed.

"I truly believe that our allergist has improved Jacob's quality of life," Lorrie says. "That day we came into her office, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now Jacob is 14, a freshman in high school -- and his GPA has gone from 1.76 to 3.5! His asthma is under control. Our allergist’s guidance has saved us trips to the emergency room and improved Jacob's attendance and performance at school. Now we feel like he finally has a chance to live. Jacob is so grateful for her and her compassion."

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Asthma and allergies are truly a family affair for Martha W’s family – she has asthma and allergies; her husband, Adam, has environmental and food allergies; their 1-year-old son, Clayton, has asthma and allergies... even the family dogs, Rascal and Shelby, have allergies! “It has become a way of life for us,” Martha says. With the help of allergists they manage to keep it all under control.

Martha’s had asthma and allergies for about as long as she can remember. Her earliest asthma memory is of smelling a flower at her grandma’s house at age 3, and having a hard time breathing afterward. “After one episode, my family took me to the emergency room and the doctor said he had to look at my lungs,” she recalls. “He meant he was going to do a chest X-ray, but I cried because I thought he was going to cut me open!”

Adam didn’t start having allergy trouble until he was an adult. “He started having sinus headaches and infections and gastrointestinal issues – and lost 40 pounds over about three months,” she says. “When conventional medical tests couldn’t explain his symptoms, his doctors suggested he might have depression.” But his allergist was able to pinpoint the real culprit: food allergies. “After eliminating dairy from his diet, his gastrointestinal issues disappeared.” Martha says. The allergist’s regimen to treat Adam’s mold anddust-mite allergies includes immunotherapy (allergy shots), antihistamines, and a nasal spray.

Given his parents’ medical history, Clayton was a likely candidate for asthma and allergies. “I first heard him wheezing at two months and suspected asthma right away,” Martha says. “But getting his doctors on board was another story.” At its peak, Clayton wheezed for months while also coming down with rashes and ear infections. “There were many doctors’ and ER visits, but everyone said, ‘You’re a first-time parent’ and ‘This is normal.’ We knew it would take a special person to piece this puzzle together.” When Clayton was nine months old, the family took him to see an allergist. Through a team effort with their pediatrician and allergist, Clayton began to breathe easier and his symptoms improved.

“Clayton’s health has drastically improved,” Martha says. “Determining his allergies is a work in progress because allergy testing isn’t as accurate for patients his age. However, after removing dairy, soy, wheat, and corn from his diet and giving him asthma medications, he has been completely free of asthma symptoms, ear infections, and acid reflux for a couple months!”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Beth S was at her wits’ end trying to bring relief to her son, Adam, when he was a baby with a persistent itchy, red rash and frequent skin infections. “The pediatricians didn’t seem to fully understand what caused his symptoms or how to treat them,” she says. “One doctor suggested I just ‘lube him up’ after a bath. I knew there had to be more to it than that.” She was sitting outside a doctor’s office, feeling despondent after yet another discouraging visit that seemed to shed little light on Adam’s condition, when a nurse approached her and suggested that Beth take her son to an allergist. “At the time, it didn’t make much sense to me,” Beth says. “I didn’t see how asthma or allergies could be related to something that made my son so uncomfortable in his own skin.”

But the advice proved to be a crucial turning point in Adam’s life. Adam’s allergy-test results showed that he’s allergic to “just about every environmental allergen there is, from dust mites to grass.” Trial and error at home taught Beth that her son has sensitivities to many different kinds of food. Adam developed reactive airway disease at age 2, and uses an inhaled corticosteroid daily. With the help of their allergist, Beth’s family has made adjustments, learned a few godsend tips (Beth raves about “bleach baths” – daily baths using a quarter cup of bleach – to minimize infection), and are mastering a learning curve on the path to a better quality of life for Adam, now 6. Beth’s on a mission to help other families avoid the years of misery and confusion she and Adam dealt with before they understood his health issues. She leads the Northern Virginia support group for the National Eczema Association, speaking at meetings with an allergist to provide support and information to parents and patients grappling with the mysteries of asthma and its related conditions.

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Brooke C would be an inspiration even if she didn’t have asthma – at age 30, the mother of three decided to start running. What began as an urge to “just get out of the house” blossomed into a passion for running marathons to raise money for organizations that help underprivileged children. Brooke has run in races all over the globe – her sneakers have pounded the earth past Ayers Rock in Australia, the Great Wall of China, Easter Island – and, most recently, in Antarctica. But she’s quick to acknowledge that couldn’t have done it without the help of her allergist.

She had completed 10 marathons when one day she realized she wasn’t performing at her usual level. Her lungs ached, and pushing herself harder only seemed to make her feel worse. “My training partner knew what it was – she told me I had asthma and to see this allergist who works with elite athletes,” Brooke says.

Results from a spirometry, or lung-function, test stunned her – she blew into the measurement device at 20 percent less than what the average women her age would have. Brooke worked with her allergist to devise a regimen that would let her keep doing what she loved most – running – by “working with, not against, my body,” she says. “I’ve extended my warm-up and cool-down periods, and I use medication strategically to prevent or treat symptoms. I carry my bronchodilator inhaler with me at all times.”

Brooke knows she’s lucky her training partner knew right away that she might have had asthma. “I wonder how many other people out there are going about their lives, maybe even pushing themselves like I was – unaware that they have asthma or another respiratory condition,” she says. “It can happen to anyone, even elite athletes. That’s why it’s so important to let people know: seek care if you have symptoms.”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Joanna has watched her son, Kealeb, grow from a toddler using a kids’ dinosaur mask for nebulizer treatments – to a strong athlete scoring points for the Lakeside High School junior varsity baseball team. It’s been a long road seeing Kealeb through asthma flare-ups and myriad allergic reactions to trees and grasses, dust mites, mold, and cats. But Joanna and Kealeb know they can count on their medical all-star team pediatrician and allergist.

“As a parent, I also did research and educated myself so I could help my child and ask informed questions of his doctors,” Joanna says. She emphasizes the role that parents, family members, and even patients themselves play in managing asthma and allergies. From going through the home and ridding allergens or allergen-trappers such as thick carpets, to noticing what makes symptoms flare up during various seasons – she says the best patient is an informed one. “We’ve found it beneficial to work with our allergist especially during winter months, so we know what to avoid at home – for example, wood-burning fireplaces can wreak havoc on Kealeb’s breathing, so we use alternative heat sources,” Joanna says.

As a single parent of three children – Kealeb, 14, Abbie, 8, and Kolton, 5 – Joanna says it’s an immense comfort to know their allergist is there to answer questions and make life easier for the family. “Our allergist’s treatment has unquestionably resulted in a better quality of life for Kealeb,” she says.

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

As Maria Elena A. can tell you, having asthma and allergies all your life doesn’t necessarily prepare you for when your child has them, too. “I don’t ever remember not having asthma and allergies,” she says. “So it wasn’t surprising when one of my sons showed symptoms of having both conditions, too. I had a feeling that my genetic make-up was going to pass along more than just curly hair to my kids.”

Seeing her young son continue to wheeze “long after a common cold that should have been over” was just the push Maria Elena needed to undertake a crash course in asthma and allergies. “I certainly started reading up on it when my son appeared to have asthma and allergies, too.” A key thing she learned during her self-education quest: find an allergist.

“Our family’s pediatric allergist was the main source of our allergy and asthma education,” Maria Elena says. “He taught us how allergies fall into different categories: food, environmental, and topical or skin allergies. We created an Asthma Action Plan. He told me to monitor my son’s colds vigilantly, and how to be prepared if a cold lasted longer than about a week.”

As a result, her son’s health is “so much better than mine ever was at his age, because we educated ourselves.” He plays soccer out among the grass that once made him sneeze, and he thrives on the city swim team, which he joined when he was 10. However, the family has had to make some adjustments – for example, they’ve always known they would never have a family dog or cat because Maria Elena is allergic to them. “Although my sons have tried to vote me out – they joked, ‘Let’s get rid of Mom so we can have a dog!’”

Maria Elena and her son have taken their asthma education one step further, by educating his first-grade class about “inhalers, nebulizers, and all those gadgets that are a part of allergies and asthma.” She recommends that other families educate teachers, coaches, and anyone else who watches over the child, too. “It helps him so much to know that the people around him know what to do in an emergency.”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Lisa W’s family was on a fall vacation when her son, Ethan, started having trouble breathing. “It was our first night in a hotel room where it was clear there had been smokers recently,” she says. “Ethan had just turned 1 and hadn’t had any major respiratory symptoms before that night. Back then, staying in a hotel room that wasn’t non-smoking was just annoying – we didn’t realize it could be seriously harmful to Ethan’s health. We’d traveled north for this trip, so I thought his problems stemmed from the drop in temperature, or that perhaps he was allergic to something we didn’t have back home.” But Ethan’s problems only worsened – and the family’s vacation was disrupted by a trip to the emergency room. “The ER doctor gave him a breathing treatment and said he had bronchiolitis.”

Ethan was diagnosed with asthma when he was 3; about a year later, a severe asthma attack sent the family back to the ER, and Ethan was hospitalized for three days. The family quickly learned the value of seeing an allergist to help unravel Ethan’s myriad breathing and skin reactions to environmental allergens. Allergy testing showed that Ethan is allergic to cats, but he’s also highly sensitive to pollen and grasses – “If he goes off his allergy medication for a week, even in January when it’s freezing, within five days he has a runny nose, trouble breathing, etc.,” Lisa says. “His skin is sensitive to chemicals in many soaps and detergents, so we have to select those carefully. His lungs also act up if he’s in a room that has new carpet or new paint in it.”

Ever since Ethan’s hospital experience at age 4, “we’ve been much more aggressive about preventive medication and treatment,” Lisa says. So far, so good – this approach has kept Ethan, now 10, out of the hospital and breathing easier for the past six years. Lisa’s advice to parents of children with complicated conditions such as asthma and allergies: “Bring a notebook and pen and write down whatever is said at the allergist’s office,” Lisa says. “I feel this helps the allergist realize how serious you are, and you’re likely to get more specific details when they know you’re interested in fully understanding your child’s condition.”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Laura S. and her two children, Emily, 16, and Collin, 13, have seen firsthand that each person’s asthma story is different and how an allergist can helpfigure out a custom plan to fit each one.

“I was in my 30s when I was diagnosed with asthma,” Laura says. “I had bronchitis and a cough that would not go away. One day at work I was sitting across from a doctor, coughing up a storm, and he suggested that I use my inhaler. I said, ‘What inhaler?’ He said, ‘Your asthma inhaler.’ I told him I didn’t have asthma, and he said, ‘Yes you do!’” Laura made an appointment with an allergist, who confirmed she had asthma and prescribed her the much-needed bronchodilator.

But that wasn’t the end of Laura’s breathing troubles. “After that, I was in the hospital a lot for about five years,” she says. “I would get sick very fast, and my asthma doesn’t respond to low-dose inhaled corticosteroids. We learned that we had to be aggressive and treat my asthma quickly. It’s been many years since I’ve been in the hospital.”

Collin was 6 months old when Laura realized he had asthma. “Our family doctor said he couldn’t call it that until Collin was older, but he prescribed treatment the same as he would with a diagnosis of asthma,” she says. “We started seeing our allergist when Collin was about 3 years old because he constantly had a cold. We finally got his symptoms under control with a combination of asthma medications, nasal spray, and antihistamines.”

Once Collin started school, he had to stay home frequently each fall due to his asthma. “Our allergist worked with us to start heading this off every August by adjusting Collin’s Asthma Action Plan and altering his medications,” Laura says. “Then in the winter Collin would back off some of these medications until the following fall.”

Meanwhile, Emily’s asthma is very mild. “She was diagnosed when she was 9; she had a cold and I could hear that distinctive wheeze,” Laura says. “But she really only has to see the allergist when she has an issue, which is rare.”

Laura’s family is thrilled they’ve found an allergist who’s such a perfect fit for them: “Our allergist has kids our kids’ ages and they have allergies and asthma, so he really understands.”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

For a long time, Ben and his parents did not know what was wrong with him—why he couldn't keep up with the other 10-year-olds in his class and his gym teacher picked on him for always running out of breath. Then he was referred to Dr. Sanico, an allergist, and finally found out: he has exercise-induced asthma, along with other seasonal and food allergies.

"Ever since he was little we noticed he had pneumonia off and on and trouble with breathing," says Jennifer, Ben's mom. "But he didn't have the typical asthma symptoms, so a lot of the doctors missed it." Now that Ben's been properly diagnosed and is receiving adequate treatment, he knows that physical activity will trigger his asthma and that further contact with tree pollen could exacerbate the symptoms. But that doesn't interfere with his activities.

After meeting Haruki Nakamura, the NFL Baltimore Ravens safety, Ben realizes his condition should not prevent him from performing as well as his peers and doing the things he loves most. Nakamura, a long-time asthma sufferer, had many hospital stays as a child and knows what it is like to be in Ben's shoes.

"Ninety-nine percent of the team didn't have it and didn't understand. They thought I was just trying to find ways to get out of practice," he told a group of kids at the Asthma Conference Ben attended last year. Listening to Nakamura's story struck a chord of inspiration in Ben; after speaking with the football player some more, he felt empowered to stand up to his gym teacher and inform him about his allergies and asthma.

The treatment from his allergist—and his increased awareness about his condition—has turned Ben's life around. "It's been amazing, the change," says Jennifer. "Less visits to the emergency room, less visits to the doctors, and just a happier child and a happier mom." And Ben has a new hero. "I will be adding Haruki's football jersey to my wardrobe of sports figures I admire," he says.

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

As a musical theater major at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, 19-year-old Giselle spends her days singing, dancing and acting. Watching her perform, you might be surprised to learn that there were times Giselle could hardly catch her breath, let alone belt out a song.

Giselle suffers from severe allergic asthma. For her, exposure to a slice of birthday cake or a friend's pet is potentially deadly—and in her early childhood being sick was routine.

"She'd been hospitalized 40 times by the age of 4," Giselle's mother, Sally, recalls.

Both Giselle and her mother credit her longtime allergist—the doctor she has seen since age 2—with giving them the tools to allow Giselle to live a healthy, normal life. Instead of letting allergic asthma hold her back, when Giselle was a child her parents and allergist encouraged her to stay as active as possible. With their support and the right medical care, she participated in soccer, swimming and competitive figure skating.

Giselle manages her disease through a treatment regimen that includes allergy shots and allergic asthma medication, in addition to eating a balanced diet and getting the right amount of sleep.

Today Giselle has her disease under control. "My allergist has had a huge impact on my health and life," she says. "Ten years ago I never thought I'd be in college and living alone. It's really a miracle."

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Fran is in control of her allergies, but that wasn't always the case.

Five years ago Fran developed a chronic cough that wouldn't respond to treatment and stumped both her and her doctor. "I just couldn't stop coughing," said Fran. "It was a dry, hacking cough that wouldn't go away no matter what I did."

For the first time in her life, things like the smell of fresh cut grass or smoke from a backyard barbecue would send Fran into a coughing or sneezing fit.

Fran's doctor suggested she make an appointment with an allergist who tested her for allergies and solved the mystery. She was diagnosed with allergies to a variety of things, including trees, grass, nuts and bees.

To begin Fran's treatment, her allergist recommended rush immunotherapy, a daylong series of allergy shots that increased Fran's tolerance to the things she was allergic to. Afterward Fran received weekly allergy shots and now visits her allergist for the shots monthly. "My allergist has made it possible for me to get back to my normal life," Fran said. "Now, when I go for a walk and someone is mowing their lawn, I don't have to go back in the house, I just keep on walking."

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Going to Washington, D.C., to watch Congress in action is something many 9-year-olds would find exciting. But when Cameron goes to Washington, he's not going as a tourist but as a severe food allergy sufferer who shares his experience. While there, he lobbies legislators like Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on funding for food allergy education and research as well as support for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act. The act would guide schools across the country on how to create management and emergency plans for children with food allergies.

Cameron, a catcher for his Little League baseball team, sees an allergist to help manage his allergies to peanuts and chocolate. He also gets allergy shots to help him overcome the environmental allergies that used to leave him regularly with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. Seeing an allergist has made "a world of difference," says Tammy, Cameron's mom. In fact, Cameron's mom, dad and little sister Adriana all now see an allergist.

Cameron also lobbies closer to home, explaining to his friends why he has to be careful about what he eats and touches. "I have good friends who understand food allergies," he says. "They stick up for me."

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Asthma and allergies used to slow down 54-year-old cyclist Doug. He would limit his rides depending on weather or if he felt the onset of an attack. Several close calls found him hunched over on the side of the road, unable to breathe.

All his life, Doug learned to live with his symptoms and figured he had to "tough it out." But six years ago—when he decided to compete in the grueling Race Across America (RAAM)—he finally saw an allergist.

Doug's allergist diagnosed him with exercise-induced bronchospam (EIB) with asthma, which explained why exercising made him feel his lungs close or left him short of breath.

Doug's allergist helped him identify his triggers, which were mostly environmental, including grass, pollution, dust, goose down products and cats. Together they developed a treatment plan that allows Doug to continue cycling without problems.

Doug credits his allergist with enabling him to endure long bike rides despite high temperatures and air pollution. He quickly progressed from short rides to training for up to 14 hours a day without worry or medication.

"Before I was always thinking about my breathing," Doug says. "I would even pray for rain when I was riding because that would clear the air. Now I can go on my rides with confidence, knowing my condition is under control."

It took Doug several decades to find an allergist and find relief, but just 11 days, 4 hours and 59 minutes to complete the RAAM, cycling more than 3,000 miles across the country with few breaks. A nebulizer he brought along for emergencies went unused; it's still in its original box.

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

It took Gerri 27 years to find relief.

Despite suffering severe allergies since birth, Gerri never thought to visit an allergist. She figured her only remedy was over-the-counter medication. But then at age 27, a severe allergic reaction to latex threatened her life and derailed her plan to work in the medical field. It was finally time to see an allergist.

"I think my allergist kept me alive. I didn't think I would live," she says. "Allergists are equipped and aware of not just how to treat a reaction, but also how to teach you to live with an allergy in your day-to-day life."

Eleven years later, Gerri is successfully managing her allergies, which are triggered by many foods and just about everything in the environment from mold to ragweed. After spending years afraid to enter a grocery store full of allergy triggers, her allergist taught her how to shop without risking an allergic reaction. "My allergist really was an advocate for me," Gerri says.

An allergist also diagnosed Gerri's 12-year-old, Malik, with a latex allergy. Her 13-year-old daughter, Jazmyn, suffers from tree nut allergies. "Allergists have helped us get a handle on our allergies. Now that we are getting the right treatment, the difference in our lives is like night and day," she says.

As a mother of two children with allergies, Gerri's focus has shifted to them and serving the public as a certified asthma educator. "I'm not afraid to get out there and have fun," Gerri says. "I control my allergies; they don't control me."

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

There's no place Jonathon M. would rather be than on the soccer field. The 10-year-old "sleeps, eats and drinks soccer," according to his mom, Carol.

But Jonathon, the team's goalie, sometimes misses important games because of asthma, which he's had since he was a baby. That makes him very unhappy. Fortunately for Jonathon and his teammates, those missed games and practices have become fewer since he began seeing an allergist. "It's helpful working with a specialist," says Carol. "Allergists really understand how the lungs work and what medicines to use. They have so many resources to draw on."

Jonathon's asthma is triggered by things that most of us don't even notice—the smell of a scented candle in a store, a diner's cologne in a restaurant. Changes in the weather, cats, mold, pollen and dust mites also take Jonathon's breath away. Working with an allergist, Jonathon has been able to avoid his asthma triggers and learn how to use medicine to keep his disease in control. And that makes Jonathon and his teammates happy because it gets him back in the game. It also gets him back in school, where he's an honor student. That makes mom happy.

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Josh is a typical 12-year-old who likes to play basketball and video games and swim in the summer. If you saw him today, it may come as a surprise that just a few years ago he was always tired and under the weather. "He was just sick a lot, coughing all the time," remembers Tracy, his mom. "Then we found out he had allergies."

Medication controlled Josh's symptoms until one day when he became very sick at camp. That's when his pediatrician referred him to an allergist.

At first Josh's parents were concerned about what they had heard about skin testing. "You know, we wondered if it's something you really want to put your young child through," Tracy recalls. But talking with their allergist and other patients put their fears to rest. Soon after they received the test results, Josh's allergist worked with him to develop a personalized treatment plan that includes allergy shots.

Four years later, you can see a world of improvement. "I remember this young man who was tired all the time and had dark circles under his eyes. He couldn't always stay awake at school," Josh's allergist recalls. "It's changed his life drastically," beams Tracy. "Now he's just very vibrant and outgoing. He's healthier and he can do things that he couldn't do."

Tracy has nothing but praise for their allergist: "She has really changed our lives in so many ways. She's given us a healthy son, a happy son." "Just don't leave your allergies alone," Josh adds. "Get treated and be a normal kid again. That's basically all there is."

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

After 17 years in her current job, Karen is transitioning into an exciting new position—thanks in part to the confidence and energy she gained when she found relief from her allergies and asthma.

"For several years I was getting colds about every six weeks. My internist finally said, 'I think you need to go see an allergist immunologist,'" she explains. After her allergist conducted allergy skin tests, Karen learned that she was allergic to dust mites, trees, grass and her cat. She worked with her allergist to determine the best treatment while keeping her primary care physician in the loop.

The allergist's personalized treatment plan completely changed Karen's life. Today she's more active than she's been in years and less worried about catching a cold. She no longer suffers from wheezing, sneezing, a runny nose or itchy eyes—even while living with her beloved cat. "It's two thumbs up for my allergist," Karen says.

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Taylor is an outgoing and active 7-year-old who enjoys playing ball, cheerleading and dancing—and will soon be earning her purple belt in karate. But until three years ago, her allergies and asthma kept her from enjoying the outdoors. Taylor was first diagnosed with asthma shortly after her fourth birthday party, when difficulty breathing prompted a trip to the emergency room. Her parents decided then and there to seek an allergist's specialized care. "We came in and described Taylor's symptoms—congestion, wheezing and difficulty breathing—and they gave us the appropriate things we needed to do to avoid that," explains Dawn, her mom. In follow-up appointments, allergy testing confirmed allergies that contribute to Taylor's asthma. Taylor sees an allergist twice a week to receive the treatment she needs to keep both her allergies and asthma under control, and her mom is happy with the results. "I definitely think it has freed her up and changed her life for the better," she says. Now Taylor can spend time outside without having to worry about contact with the things she is allergic to, such as dogs, grass and blooms—or as Taylor would put it, "everything under the sun."

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Soncee Partida is eager to share how her family’s allergist changed their lives. Both her sons – Antonio, 13, and Alex, 10 – have asthma and allergies. “Their dad has asthma, plus they’re half-Hispanic,” she says. “It seemed almost inevitable they’d have it, too.”

As a baby, Antonio constantly caught colds and viruses that turned serious quickly, resulting in numerous ER visits and hospital stays. Soncee, a journalist and diligent note-taker, kept records of Antonio’s symptoms, doctor visits, and medications. “When he was 3, he’d been on inhaled corticosteroids five times in less than a year,” she says. “He was sick for so long that we were never able to get to the bottom of it. We thought his asthma was a byproduct caused by a virus – we didn’t know asthma was the main issue.”

Their pediatrician referred Antonio to an ACAAI member allergist who pinpointed what causes Antonio’s symptoms and helped the family figure out how to treat and prevent them. “The allergist knew what questions to ask,” Soncee says. “And she tailored Antonio’s treatment plan to his specific needs – she didn’t just take a blanket approach.”

The Partidas have been especially comforted by the above-and-beyond responsiveness of their allergist’s team. “Our family likes to travel, and sometimes we call her from the road – maybe one of the kids is allergic to something that hits when we step off the plane,” Soncee says. “She helps us work through it. If our allergist isn’t available, another member of the team is there.”

Grass, pollen , and dust mites set off the boys’ allergies. They’re also highly allergic to dogs – “It’s challenging in southern California where everyone has a dog as an accessory,” Soncee says. The family adjusts; for example, road trips are better than plane rides “because people bring pets on the planes.”

Antonio and Alex feel in control of their asthma. “They’re living with it,” Soncee says. “They take responsibility. We’ve educated key people. The coaches know if they ask the kids to run a mile, the boys might have to use their inhaler beforehand.”

The result: Antonio and Alex are athletes with excellent school attendance, play competitive school sports, and have even attended sleepaway camp in the mountains.

“It’s so important to pick an allergist who’s a good fit – it’s like picking out a family member,” Soncee says. “Asthma is not something you just treat once. It’s ongoing.”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Soncee Partida is eager to share how her family’s allergist changed their lives. Both her sons – Antonio, 13, and Alex, 10 – have asthma and allergies. “Their dad has asthma, plus they’re half-Hispanic,” she says. “It seemed almost inevitable they’d have it, too.”

As a baby, Antonio constantly caught colds and viruses that turned serious quickly, resulting in numerous ER visits and hospital stays. Soncee, a journalist and diligent note-taker, kept records of Antonio’s symptoms, doctor visits, and medications. “When he was 3, he’d been on inhaled corticosteroids five times in less than a year,” she says. “He was sick for so long that we were never able to get to the bottom of it. We thought his asthma was a byproduct caused by a virus – we didn’t know asthma was the main issue.”

Their pediatrician referred Antonio to an ACAAI member allergist who pinpointed what causes Antonio’s symptoms and helped the family figure out how to treat and prevent them. “The allergist knew what questions to ask,” Soncee says. “And she tailored Antonio’s treatment plan to his specific needs – she didn’t just take a blanket approach.”

The Partidas have been especially comforted by the above-and-beyond responsiveness of their allergist’s team. “Our family likes to travel, and sometimes we call her from the road – maybe one of the kids is allergic to something that hits when we step off the plane,” Soncee says. “She helps us work through it. If our allergist isn’t available, another member of the team is there.”

Grass, pollen , and dust mites set off the boys’ allergies. They’re also highly allergic to dogs – “It’s challenging in southern California where everyone has a dog as an accessory,” Soncee says. The family adjusts; for example, road trips are better than plane rides “because people bring pets on the planes.”

Antonio and Alex feel in control of their asthma. “They’re living with it,” Soncee says. “They take responsibility. We’ve educated key people. The coaches know if they ask the kids to run a mile, the boys might have to use their inhaler beforehand.”

The result: Antonio and Alex are athletes with excellent school attendance, play competitive school sports, and have even attended sleepaway camp in the mountains.

“It’s so important to pick an allergist who’s a good fit – it’s like picking out a family member,” Soncee says. “Asthma is not something you just treat once. It’s ongoing.”

This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.

Get Relief

Find an Allergist