Don't Be Foolish Self-Diagnosing Allergies

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's new survey indicates too many self-diagnoses

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A person who diagnoses their own allergies has a fool for a patient. A new survey finds that many Americans who self-diagnose themselves with nasal allergies or sinusitis have difficulty differentiating between the two conditions.

The researchers believe self-diagnosing can lead to unnecessary suffering from a more severe form of the condition known as chronic sinusitis.

"See your doctor when experiencing new allergy or sinus symptoms."

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) survey conducted prior to National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month in May, a significant percentage of those suffering from symptoms are skipping a visit to the doctor and diagnosing themselves even when their symptoms are severe.

Patients may often be confusing symptoms of a sinus infection with those of allergies, and as a result, they are not getting optimal care for their condition.

Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at AAFA reports that symptoms of sinusitis are similar to symptoms of allergies. Sometimes allergies do lead to sinusitis, so it's not really surprising that patients often confuse the two.

Tringale says the key difference is the length of time experiencing the symptoms. If the symptoms last longer than 12 weeks or occur more than three times a year, the patient may have chronic sinusitis, not allergies. Tringale recommends a visit to the doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and proper medical remedy.

Dr. Stacey Silvers of Beth Israel Hospital in New York City reports not being surprised at all that the survey indicated 23 percent of the respondents experience more than three sinus infections per year, which means they probably have chronic sinusitis.

Almost 50 percent of the sinusitis suffering respondents have never been told by a health care giver about chronic sinusitis.

Silvers continues to explain that chronic sinusitis has been under-diagnosed for years. Since many patients are confused about which medications to take and more than 50 percent of patients do not respond adequately to current available medications.

Silvers advises consulting with an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician in order to receive the most appropriate treatment which will hopefully relieve the long-term suffering.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 18, 2011
Last Updated:
May 24, 2011