CBS News reports that, by the end of this year, 22 million asthmatic Americans will have to throw out their CFC inhalers for new, ozone-friendly HFA inhalers.
CFC inhalers use chlorofluorocarbons to propel the medicine; however, CFCs also damage the planet’s protective ozone layer. Beginning December 31, 2008, CFC inhalers will no longer be manufactured or sold in the United States.
If you have asthma, please note that the new HFA inhalers will not work exactly the same as the old CFC inhalers. HFA inhalers may taste and feel different; for instance, the spray may feel softer. Also, most HFA inhalers require more cleaning and care to prevent clogs, and shelf life is shorter for some of the new inhalers.
HFA inhalers will also be about twice as expensive. According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, Americans will spend an additional $1.2 million per year on asthma inhalers until generic versions become available in 2012. Until that time, patients will pay about $312 more per year.
Be sure to talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the differences in your new inhaler. When it comes to asthma medication, you should always follow your doctor’s orders exactly.
Some asthma patients have reduced their reliance on medication by focusing on their indoor environment. Asthma triggers abound in homes and offices. We all know that our outdoor air is polluted, but indoor air can be 10 to 100 times more polluted because of the tight, energy-efficient seals in modern buildings.
Here are some tips to help you avoid indoor asthma triggers:
- Do not allow smoking indoors. Cigarette smoke is not only a carcinogen but also a powerful asthma trigger. If you cannot avoid environmental smoke, install a smoke eater air purifier to eliminate it.
- Place dust mite proof covers on your pillows and mattresses to eliminate dust mite allergen, a common asthma trigger.
- Do not allow pets in the bedroom.
- Limit the use of artificial scents and perfumes.
- Use a HEPA vacuum to capture dust, mold, pet dander, and other allergens. Don’t forget to vacuum upholstery, curtains, and all those hard-to-reach spots.
- Cockroach allergen – their secretions, droppings, and body parts – is a major asthma trigger. To avoid a roach problem, keep your kitchen clean, and never leave food out.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity below 50 percent; this will keep the mold spores and dust mites from growing out of control.