» Indoor Health Matters

Give Your Guests An Allergy-Free Holiday

Posted by Ashley on December 16th, 2008

This week, many of you are prepping your homes to host family and friends for the December holidays. Yet between vacuuming deliriously, setting out fresh linens, and baking scrumptious cookies, you might find yourself pondering some very important questions: “Isn’t Aunt Meta allergic to the cat?” “Wait, which one of my cousins has a peanut allergy?” Continue reading

Teach Children to Use Asthma Inhalers Properly

Posted by John on November 15th, 2008

2008 is almost over! This is an important time for asthma awareness. If your child has asthma, by the end of the year, his or her inhaler will be replaced with a new one (if it hasn’t already been replaced). HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) inhalers will replace traditional CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) inhalers because the use of CFC inhalers releases greenhouse gases that may damage the ozone layer.

But the new eco-friendly inhalers are a bit different, and you should make sure that your child is aware of the differences. Continue reading

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Your Environment Determines Your Gene Expression

Posted by John on November 14th, 2008

Your environment not only determines your health, but it also determines who you are – quiet literally – at the level of gene expression. Continue reading

Indoor Air Quality and Asthma

Posted by John on November 2nd, 2008

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. Continue reading

RSV Virus May Cause Asthma

Posted by John on October 31st, 2008

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. Continue reading

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Teenager’s Research Exposes Harmful Air Cleaners

Posted by John on October 18th, 2008

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. Continue reading

Many Cannot Afford New Asthma Inhalers

Posted by John on October 15th, 2008

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. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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