» Indoor Health Matters

Air Purifiers Reduce Need for Asthma Medication

Posted by John on October 8th, 2008

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

Household Chemicals Can Hurt Unborn Babies

Posted by John on October 7th, 2008

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

Air Fresheners Pollute the Air

Posted by John on October 2nd, 2008

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

Pregnancy Vitamins May Trigger Asthma in Kids

Posted by John on September 25th, 2008

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

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Tylenol Use Linked to Child Asthma

Posted by John on September 24th, 2008

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

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Health Advice for Hurricane Ike Evacuees

Posted by John on September 22nd, 2008

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

Cockroaches: The Forgotten Allergens

Posted by John on September 18th, 2008

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

Got Asthma? Eat More Oily Fish!

Posted by John on September 16th, 2008

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

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Asthma and Obesity

Posted by John on September 13th, 2008

Yahoo! Health reports that obese asthma patients are five times more likely than non-obese asthmatics to be hospitalized for asthma. Read more about asthma and obesity

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Asthma Inhalers Go Green, Get More Expensive

Posted by John on September 5th, 2008

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

Endotoxins in Dust – Asthma Triggers

Posted by John on September 4th, 2008

It turns out that dust mites, mold, and pet dander are not the only allergens in houshold dust…

New research reveals that endotoxins produced by bacteria in dust can inflame airways and trigger asthma, according to ScienceDaily.

What are endotoxins?

Peter Thorne, environmental toxicologist at the University of Iowa explains, “If you think of a bacterium as an orange, the endotoxin is the material that makes up the peel. It’s the outer layer. And this becomes shed from bacteria, and it’s everywhere in the environment.

“Endotoxin in the home is related to higher rates of asthma.” Read more about asthma triggers in dust

Back to School Asthma Checklist

Posted by John on August 25th, 2008

Asthma affects 11% of school-age children, and it will cause them to miss some 13 million days of school this year!

The American Lung Association has released the following back to school asthma checklist to help parents ensure that their child’s asthma doesn’t interfere with academics:

Olympic Athletes with Asthma Faced Special Challenges in Beijing

Posted by John on August 24th, 2008

As the Olympics draw to a close today, many asthmatic athletes head home after facing special challenges because of the poor air quality in Beijing.

Up to 20 percent of elite athletes have some type of asthma, depending on the sport, according to the The Sacramento Bee.

With their lungs already prone spasm and irritation, asthmatic athletes had to perform at their peak in air pollution well outside international health guidelines. Haile Gebrselassie, a well-known runner from Ethiopia, decided not to compete in the marathon because the pollution could hurt his health. Read more about Olympic athletes with asthma

Roomba Vacuum Review: Don’t Waste Your Money

Posted by John on August 16th, 2008

I recently attended my grandmother’s 90th birthday party (Happy Birthday, Grandma!) at my aunt and uncle’s house. I noticed that they had an iRobot Roomba vacuum, and being in the business of indoor health products, I just had to inspect the little robot.

I remember the first time that I saw the Roomba in a magazine. An intelligent, robotic vacuum that does the work for you! What could be better? “The future has arrived,” I thought. “Before long, we’ll all be living like The Jetsons.”

Well… Not quite. Read more about Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners

How to Clean Grout Like a Pro, Without Chemicals

Posted by John on August 15th, 2008

lady bug steam cleanerIf you do an Internet search on how to clean grout, you’ll find all sorts of different methods involving harsh, toxic chemicals. These chemicals not only irritate asthma and allergies, but they also leave behind microorganisms in tiny cracks and crevices.

Vapor steam cleaners spray hot vapor deep inside cracks and indentions to kill all microorganisms – without any chemicals! A steam cleaner works much like an espresso machine; it heats water in a boiler to produce a “dry” steam vapor that dries in seconds. Read more about how to clean grout without chemicals