JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's sneezin' season across the country. National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month highlights the 50 million Americans who suffer from these ailments. But how do you know which one you have?
A local allergist says many people associate symptoms with allergies when it could actually be asthma. He says asthma can be very dangerous and if not treated it can even be deadly.
"I would go outside and play and didn't understand why I couldn't breathe and go inside and say 'Mom, what's going on'," says Sakia Dornes. She has suffered from asthma all her life and says she quickly learned it's not something to take lightly.
"If you have that first sign of tightness of the chest, if it's nothing but a little wheezing, get it checked out because the first step getting treatment could save a life," Dornes said.
Dornes works with Dr. Sunil Joshi at Family Allergy and Asthma Consultants. He says many people don't know realize the difference between asthma and allergies. He says it's crucial that asthma be treated properly.
"It can be because the inflammation that's associated with asthma can actually cause damage to the lungs so inflammation in any part of the body can lead to scar tissue and scar tissue in your skin is not such a big deal because it protects your skin but when you get scar tissue inside of your lungs that part of the lung is no longer functional," Joshi said.
Asthma symptoms include a dry hacking cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening. As for allergies, he says tree pollen is dying down but there is still grass pollen so we should be getting a break but, allergy sufferers aren't completely out of the clear.