“May Kwentong Allergy Ka Ba? Usap Tayo?”

National Allergy Day 2017

As long as allergies are recognized, managed well and controlled, optimal quality of life can be achieved

By Shirley Kwong-Buizon, MD and Maria Carmela Agustin-Kasala, MD

“National Allergy Day? Meron pala nun?” (I didn’t know there’s such a day?)

Yes, there is a National Allergy Day! July 8 is National Allergy Day (NAD as declared in Presidential Proclamation No. 1313 on July 8, 2007 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in the hope of increasing awareness of allergic diseases and keeping those allergies under control!

Thus, each year, the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (PSAAI) holds an annual event to increase the awareness and educate Filipinos on the growing problems of allergies among adults and children as the prevalence of allergic diseases continues to rise; affecting, not only the physical, but also the social and behavioral aspects, of people’s lives, as well.

To kick-start off this year’s National Allergy Day activities – a public forum was held in Fisher Mall on July 9, 2017 where almost 450 participants attended.

The Organizing Committee, under the table leadership of Dr Shirley Kwong-Buizon, decided on this year’s theme as “May Kwentong Allergy ka ba? Usap tayo” (Do you have a story about allergy? Let’s talk)—aiming to focus and highlight the symptoms and how these have affected the quality of life of an allergic individual.

Hosted by Dr Chachi Rapadas-Aguirre, a senior Allergy fellow-in-training and Mr. Ding Mercado of the New Minstrels, with games and mascot dances, the audience was wellinvolved and entertained.

The learning points came from following the animation story of Theo as he developed symptoms of atopic dermatitis as a baby- ‘Boy Kamot” (Boy Itchy); then had allergic rhinitis as a school kid – ‘Boy Uhugin’ (Boy Nasal Drip)—where he encountered teasing from his classmates, and in high school had symptoms of asthma –‘Boy Hika’ (Boy Asthma), where he faced limitations in sports and meeting his high school crush— Janella. The story of Theo concluded with “ May Forever” (There’s Forerver), with the wedding of Theo and Janella, to show that as long as allergies are recognized, managed well and controlled, optimal quality of life can be achieved, i.e “there is a happily ever after…even with allergies”.

After each segment, short lectures were given on recognition, prevention and management of these allergic diseases by young allergists of PSAAI.

The day of learning was capped with even more entertainment from the Kundirana 2017 of La Salle Greenhills.

Other National Allergy Day activities were also held in the week that followed in various areas in Metro Manila namely: UP-PGH, USTH, FDMMC, East Avenue Medical Center, Quirino Medical Center, Asian Hospital and The Medical City and also all over the country, Baguio, Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Roxas and Davao City.

True to its commitment to being “stewards of the earth”, environmental projects such as Pinoy Kids for Smoke Free Philippines in July, Tree Planting in August and International Coastal Waters Clean-Up in September have also been scheduled.

And as part of PSAAI’s commitment for Continuing Medical Education to medical professionals, the following activities have also been lined up: Food and Anaphylaxis Symposium on July 11, 2017 at the Diamond Hotel.

Clinical Immunology: Applications in Clinical Practice- September 4, 2017 at Hotel Supreme in Baguio City.

Indeed, the PSAAI is moving upward and outward, working hard to keep the public educated and well-informed on Allergic Diseases, in the hope of seeking better control, better health for everyone.

To find an allergist nearest you, just log on to psaai.org