Many of us here in Abu Dhabi will have found ourselves short of breath and wheezing or sneezing from time to time.
The chances are you've put it down to dust in the air or over-zealous AC and brushed it off.
However, it could be something more serious that needs to get checked out, and while many of us are put off by intimidating visits to hospitals, it doesn't have to be like that.
Abu Dhabi's new Snö Asthma & Allergy Centre, in the Al Nahyan Camp area, is a relaxed clinic that gives you practical advice aimed at improving your overall health long-term.
It offers a variety of modern and effective treatments away from hospitals and emergency rooms, aiming to reduce the burden of care on the capital’s healthcare system.
Asthma and allergies are chronic, often, lifelong conditions that can affect anyone (although they are more prevalent among the elderly and young children).
Here in the UAE, as much as a third of the adult population suffers with various types of allergies while as many as 15 percent of residents live with asthma, representing a major, and often overlooked and undertreated, public health issue in the UAE.
In 2015, the economic cost of treating asthma in Abu Dhabi was estimated at Dhs105 million each year.
The high temperatures and dusty environment here can make symptoms worse.
Dr Stuart Carr, chief medical officer of Snö Asthma & Allergy, says many people often ignore the symptoms until something serious has happened.
The Canadian, who has more than 20 years' experience in the field, adds: “Increased awareness, early and accurate diagnosis, and appropriate use of medication to control these conditions are key to preventing symptoms, improving patients’ well-being and reducing associated healthcare costs. At the new Snö Asthma & Allergy clinic, patients are given individualised treatment plans that have been expertly tailored to their needs.
“At Snö we believe in the ethos of prevention and accurate diagnosis and our focus is always to minimise the amount of treatment and help our patients reach their optimal level of health on a long-term basis.”
Snö staff educate patients on how to self-manage their illness to prevent attacks and arrange regular follow-up meetings to ensure optimal control.
The centre, which was opened after extensive discussions with the UAE Ministry of Health and the Government of Abu Dhabi, also offers expertise in the assessment and management of suspected food allergies, including appropriate testing and diagnostic food challenges.
Snö Asthma & Allergy Centre, Al Nahyan Camp, www.snoasthmaandallergy.com.