Link between respiratory allergies and asthma all too often missed

GPs and pharmacists are frequently missing the link between respiratory allergies, such as allergic rhinitis/hay fever, and asthma, resulting in thousands of potentially avoidable emergency admissions every year, suggests a report* published by Allergy UK and MEDA Pharma.

Every day in the UK, an estimated 200 people with asthma are admitted to hospital, three of whom will die.

WHO recommendations, subsequently incorporated into the UK British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) guidelines, say that all asthma patients should be evaluated for allergic rhinitis, and that in planning treatment, both conditions should be considered together.

But a survey commissioned for the report indicates that almost two thirds of patients (63%) are not being treated for both conditions in parallel. Up to 50,000 people with allergic rhinitis are being admitted to hospital with asthma exacerbations every year, estimates the report.