Your environment not only determines your health, but it also determines who you are – quiet literally – at the level of gene expression. Read more about environment and gene expression
If you have asthma, you should be familiar with all of your asthma triggers so that you can avoid them. Get tested for allergies if you haven’t already. Most asthmatics are sensitive to at least one common household allergen.
Indoor air quality is a major concern for people with asthma. If you can manage to avoid inhaling the particles that make you sick, then you’ll feel better. Read more about air quality and asthma
Nearly every child is infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) early in life. The virus usually clears up in a week or so, but in some cases, this “harmless” virus may persist and lead to chronic lung diseases like asthma, according to Reuters Health.
Researchers found that RSV can stay in the lungs of some mice and cause overactive airway symptoms associated with asthma. Previously, doctors thought that the body quickly cleared itself of this virus. Read more about asthma and RSV
At just 14 years of age, Otana Jakpor of Riverside, CA has already received a scientific award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after showing that ozone-producing air cleaners actually harm the lungs. Read more about ozone and air cleaners
Writing an opinion column for Abilene Online, Kathy Bunkey points out that the new asthma inhalers, mandatory beginning in 2009, will be too expensive for some:
The worst part of this is that a lot of the people who need this medication in an emergency situation will no longer be able to afford it. This will specifically affect the disabled, the children whose parents cannot afford this increase, the jobless and the elderly. There is no generic for this new medication. We are being offered Pro Air HPA, Xopenex HPA and Proventil HPA, and the cheapest that I was able to find one of these in Abilene was for around $25. They can retail for as much as over $55 per inhaler. Read more about HFA inhalers
BBC reports that a new British study is putting air purifiers to the test. Air cleaners will be placed in the bedrooms of over 70 children to see if their asthma improves.
So far, preliminary results from 28 children show that air purifiers in bedrooms do indeed reduce the need for asthma medication.
“They also reported they were able to do sport better and sleep better, which was really good,” said research nurse Heather Hanna. Read more about air purifiers and asthma
The West Australian reports that common household chemicals can damage the lungs of unborn babies and predispose them to childhood asthma.
Professor Peter Sly of the World Health Organization says, “We have evidence that everything from the pesticides used on roses to the bleach in the bathroom impact badly on the developing lungs of unborn babies.” Read more about household chemicals and pregnancy
Dr. Andrew Weil, a pioneer in holistic medicine and frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, recently addressed the following question at MSN Health & Fitness:
I use air fresheners in my home, but have been told I shouldn’t. Are they bad for my health?
It certainly looks like they are. Recent research strongly suggests that they raise your risk of a number of pulmonary diseases. Last year researchers found that being exposed to chemicals from air fresheners as little as once a week may increase your odds of developing asthma symptoms by 71 percent. Read more about air fresheners and indoor air quality
Vitamins and supplements that mothers take during pregnancy could predispose children (and even grandchildren) to asthma, reports NewScientist.
A study at Duke University Medical Center showed that mice fed vitamins similar to human pregnancy supplements had offspring with signs of asthma. The supplements turned down the expression of certain genes, and the lungs of offspring had high levels of immune cells and proteins that predict asthma; furthermore, this effect was passed down through generations in a process known as epigenetics. Read more about asthma and pregnancy vitamins
If your baby or toddler has a low-grade fever, you should resist the parental urge to reach for a Tylenol bottle. Young children who are given Tylenol (also known as paracetamol or acetaminophen) have a 50 percent increased risk of developing allergic disease, according to The West Australian.
Children who take Tylenol frequently have triple the risk of developing asthma and nasal allergies and double the risk of developing eczema. Read more about Tylenol and asthma
As Hurricane Ike evacuees return home and begin to rebuild their communities, they will encounter various environmental health hazards including mold, contaminated soil, infections, and respiratory ills.
Speaking to Galveston County Daily News, Dr. Scott Weaver points out that organisms living in soil contaminated by human waste can be easily transmitted from hand to mouth; these germs can lead to Hepatitis A, tetanus, or other infections. He advises that people should avoid touching their mouth and eyes and wear rubber boots and gloves. Anyone involved in extensive clean up efforts should get a tetanus shot to be safe. You can also order special disinfectants to clean up areas damaged by flooding. Read more about health hazards in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike
Most allergy sufferers are familiar with dust mites, pollen, mold, but did you know that cockroaches also produce powerful allergens? Cockroach allergen is also a common cause of asthma attacks. The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American (AAFA) reports that 23 to 60 percent of urban residents with asthma are sensitive to cockroach allergen. In one study of inner city children, 23 percent were allergic to cats, 35 percent were allergic to dust mites, and 37 percent were allergic to cockroaches.
Cockroach allergens come from the feces, saliva, and bodies of the insects. Studies show that 78 to 98 percent of urban homes have cockroaches – and up to 330,000 roaches may live in a single home! If you see just one roach in a basement or kitchen, it’s safe to assume that at least 800 more roaches are hiding under sinks, in cabinets, and behind walls. Read more about cockroach allergies
Earlier this year, a Harvard Medical School study found that eating oily fish may reduce asthma symptoms.
Researchers discovered that Resolvin E1, a metabolic product of the omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish, helps resolve and prevent respiratory distress in laboratory mice. Resolvin E1 appears to reduce airway inflammation and could be used in medicine in the future. Read more about asthma and fish oil
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. Read more about HFA asthma inhalers