At this time of year as the nights draw in common colds and flu associated with the cold weather start to appear. This doesn’t help anyone with respiratory illnesses. Christmas also brings on added stress and also excitement that may trigger asthma attacks.One of the best things you can do to make sure you have a symptom-free Christmas is to plan ahead.
Make sure you stock up on much needed medicines. Take extra care when you purchase your all important Christmas tree which can trigger attached even in artificial trees whereas real trees carry mould that breathes in warm areas so if you can place your tree in a cool area this would be better.
If you’re planning to travel this Christmas – whether it’s to visit friends or family, or go on holiday – planning ahead can help prevent problems and help you make the most of your festive time away. Small things such as dust can trigger asthma when staying at friends and family houses. Carrying anitihistamines can help or explaining to family to dust down and vacuum before you stay could help.
If you are travelling abroad then be sure to plan in advance as many places are not open all the time. Our team of experts will help plan your medical oxygen needs leaving you to enjoy and relax your special memories with your friends and family.
Although there are many different types of asthma, there are many patterns to which ones but they are all to do with inflammination of the airways. There are many types of asthma but mainly the follwoing ones listed here:
Allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis
Asthma with fixed airflow obstruction
Nighttime (Nocturnal) asthma
Asthma with obesity
Asthma is a long term disese and even though there may be different types based on lung function and symptoms it can be controlled.
Here at OxygenWorldwide we treat all our customers not just like a number. We as a team have been looking after our customers to travel with no stress with medical oxygen in over 50 countries across the globe.
Many of our customers travel with COPD, asthma, bronchitus, respiratory problems to name a few and are delighted that our services help them have their long awaited vacation, visit their loved ones many times a year.
Travelling with medical oxygen seems complicated but speak to one of our advisors and the dream can become a reality.
The summer has finally started to rear its head and for many people who suffer from respiratory disease the summer months can potentially worsen their condition. An increase in air pollution, pollen, dust and other allergens can irritate the lungs and worsen breathing. The general advice is to stay indoors at peak pollen or air pollution times. However on the flip-side of this advice is that exposure to the sun may actually be good for you, especially asthma sufferers.
A study by King’s College London has found that the Vitamin D that the sun provides may have a calming impact with asthma sufferers as Vitamin D helps to lower an asthmatic’s over-active part of their immune system.
Many asthmatics have high levels of Interleukin-17, which causes part of their immune system to be over-active and contributes to their respiratory reactions to allergens and is part of the cause of some asthma attacks. Some asthmatic sufferers do not respond to steroid treatment and find difficulty in managing their symptoms. This group of asthmatics tends to have very high levels of Interleukin-17.
Researchers have found that if Vitamin D levels are increased then this lowers the levels of Interleukin-17 and helps to calm down the immune system leading to a lessening of symptoms.
“We know people with high levels of vitamin D are better able to control their asthma – that connection is quite striking,” said researcher Prof Catherine Hawrylowicz.
The sun is an easy natural source of Vitamin D (the body can make Vitamin D in the presence of sunshine) rather than taking synthetic supplements so the more you are out in the sun, the more Vitamin D your body will get and the happier your immune system.
Many asthma sufferers also have concerns about the side effects of their medications so if Vitamin D is shown to improve their condition then many may have to rely less on medication and can improve their quality of life.
Researchers have suggested that covering up too much and using too much sun cream has actually contributed to increased asthma rates. Obviously too much sun is bad for you and you should ensure that you protect your skin to avoid sunburn and potential skin cancers.
So there needs to be a balance of going outside and increasing your levels of Vitamin D versus avoiding high pollen counts and sunburn.
Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the summer despite your condition:
• Check the Air Quality Index: Avoid peak times or areas with poor air quality.
• Always Take Your Medication: Whether this is ant-histamines, inhalers, steroids or supplemental oxygen.
• Check the Pollen Count: Try to avoid going out at times where pollen is particularly high.
• Use Air Conditioning Instead of Opening Windows: Open windows will just allow more pollen and allergens into your home or the car.
• Wash regularly: Washing your hair and clothes regularly gets rid of any allergens that may have settled on you.
• Talk to your doctor for advice.
References: http://www.healthoxygen.com and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health
Do your asthma symptoms change with the seasons?
While the winter months can mean pesky infections and extreme cold temperatures (both potentially troublesome for asthma), summer can bring its own set of ‘triggers’ for the 5.4 million people living with the condition in the UK.
Pollen is thought to be a ‘hidden trigger’ for 80% of people with asthma, according to LloydsPharmacy, who report that last year, 91% of their asthma control tests (the high-street pharmacy offers an Asthma Treatment and Advice service) took place from March-May, peak hay-fever season. Furthermore, 46% of the tests carried out during that period found people were not controlling their asthma well.
If you have asthma and are prone to hay fever, or find your symptoms flare-up in spring and summer, it might be worth checking out some of the apps that monitor and alert you to pollen forecasts. And if you’re struggling to keep symptoms under control, speak to your nurse or GP.
Depending where you travel to, a holiday could mean a new set of triggers, especially if you’re in a new environment and climate that’s different to what you’re used to. Other people may find that changes in routine, location, temperature, or even air travel, can make their asthma symptoms worse
“The best thing people can do to prevent symptoms and attacks when they’re on holiday is to keep on top of their medicine routine.
Asthma UK has more advice about travelling with asthma on their website it’s always a good idea to carry your inhalers (and all your spare inhalers) in your hand luggage, in case your inhaler runs out or if your checked-in baggage goes missing.
Summer is all about letting your hair down and enjoying life – and there’s no reason your asthma should stop you. But, from smoky barbecues to greater exposure to air pollution if you’re pounding the pavements on days out, it’s a good idea to be aware of any potential summertime asthma triggers.
Asthma results in difficulty in breathing, cough, excessive mucus secretion, and wheezing sounds during breathing.
An episode of asthma can be induced by a variety of triggers. Broadly, they can be categorized into two types: external triggers and internal triggers.
A vast majority of asthma triggers are external – exposure to an allergen. Pollens, dust mites, cockroach parts, and the dander of rodents or of other animals are known allergens that affect many individuals. Another category of common allergens include pollutants in the air. Smoke from charcoal grills or open fires, strong fumes of chemicals such as gasoline and paints, or even strong scents of perfumes and soaps may induce irritation of airways in certain people.
Food ingredients comprise another category of external asthma triggers. Several people have been reported to be allergic to food substances such as peanuts, soy, eggs, shrimp, cow milk, fish, wheat, and certain fruits.
Strenuous exercise is also capable of inducing asthma by causing airway constriction (also referred to as “exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
In some patients with very sensitive respiratory systems, even minor changes in weather or climatic conditions such as a drop in temperature, rise in altitude, or change in humidity levels can induce severe asthma episodes acutely.
While most triggers for asthma are external, there are a few which are internal, and these may often be ignored while analyzing the condition’s etiology.
Expression of strong emotions is often associated with asthma. Intense anger, excitement, crying, as well as laughing may aggravate airway constriction. Crying also causes stuffiness of the nose in most individuals, and thus makes it more difficult for them to breathe.
Dry airways become irritated and swollen, which worsens asthma symptoms. Cold air also causes your airways to produce a substance called histamine, which is the same chemical your body makes during an allergy attack. Histamine triggers wheezing and other asthma symptoms.
When you work out, your body needs more oxygen, so your breathing speeds up. Often, you’ll breathe through your mouth to take in more air. While your nose has blood vessels that warm and humidify the air before it reaches your lungs, air that travels directly through your mouth remains cold and dry. This is just one way that exercising outdoors in cold weather increases your likelihood of having an asthma attack.
Colds, flu, and other respiratory infections tend to circulate during the winter months. These infections are also known to set off asthma symptoms.
Cold air can also drive you indoors, where dust, mold, and pet dander flourish. These allergens set off asthma symptoms in some people.
Make sure your asthma is under control before winter arrives. See your doctor to develop an asthma action plan, and then take the medicines your doctor prescribed. You may take medicine every day or just when you need it.
Long-term controller medicinesare drugs you take every day to manage your asthma symptoms. They include inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta-agonists, and leukotriene modifiers.
Quick-relief medicines are medicines that you only take when you need them, such as before exercising in the cold. Short-acting bronchodilators and anticholinergics are examples of these drugs.
Here are a few tips:
Drink extra fluids in the winter. This can keep the mucus in your lungs thinner and easier for your body to remove.
Try to avoid anyone who appears to be sick.
Get your flu vaccine early in the fall.
Vacuum and dust your home often to remove indoor allergens.
Wash your sheets and blankets every week in hot water to get rid of dust mites.
Scientists have found that everyday household products, like soaps, paints and perfumes are causing nearly as much air pollution as cars and industries combined.
Most air pollutants come from the extraction, refining and use of fossil fuels. These pollutants include hundreds of different compounds that scientists clump into what they call Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). “Once they’re emitted into the atmosphere, they can lead to the formation of ground level ozone and particles, both of which are detrimental to human health,” says Jessica Gilman, an atmospheric chemist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and an author of the new study. However, in recent years household products have become a bigger source of air pollution, the team reports in today’s issue of the journal, Science.
They made similar observations for isopropanol, or rubbing alcohol, and acetone, the main ingredient in nail polish remover, and a whole range of other chemicals in everyday products like soaps, wall paint, printer ink, perfumes and pesticides.
The findings are important and surprising, says Albert Presto, an atmospheric scientist at Carnegie Mellon University. “We’re all conditioned to think about traffic and industry as the big drivers for air pollution and pollutants. And this study says, ‘wait a minute, a lot of it is really stuff we’re using inside our homes.'”
These household sources have emerged as big polluters because cars have become cleaner, says Jonathan Levy, an environmental health expert at Boston University. “As traffic sources decline, other sources become more and more important over time.”
Air pollution remains one of the top causes for the burden of disease worldwide. “Ozone can do things like worsen asthma, trigger asthma attacks,” says Janice Nolen, the assistant vice president of national policy at the American Lung Association. “It can also kill people, it can shorten lives.” Exposure to particulate matter has similar deleterious health effects.
So, the new study has implications for further reducing air pollution, says Presto, especially for cities that are struggling with meeting air pollution standards, like Los Angeles, which has one of the highest levels of ozone in the country. “You can only make cars so clean,” he says. “Maybe the way to get ozone below federal limits is to reduce emissions from indoors.”
The new study suggest we need “some national measures to help reduce emissions” from these everyday sources, says Nolen.
The festive fir in the corner of your living room harbours mould, which can aggravate the lungs.
Leading charity Asthma UK has urged people to be vigilant over the Christmas period.
Their data shows around 300 people are admitted to hospital on Christmas Day each year, suffering severe attacks, that could be linked to the festive favourite.
Mould that naturally grows on your tree can multiply in the warm temperatures of your living room.
And fake trees aren’t the safe alternative they may seem to be, gathering dust and mould in the loft, that can aggravate the lungs.
But, those with allergies as well as asthma sufferers should be alert to the dangers, Asthma UK urged. The moulds are naturally occurring on the trees, but flourish when they are inside our toasty warm homes in the winter.
But the charity also warns that both real and fake trees can also pose a threat.
Fake trees are a great alternative if the allergens that form on a real tree cause you too many breathing difficulties.
But artificial trees, and decorations, can gather dust and mould when they are kept in storage for the year which can cause a flare-up of symptoms when you put it up.
So it’s a good idea to wipe them down when you pull it out of storage and wrap them in plastic to keep the dust at bay when you put them away again.
Bonfires and fireworks could potentially cause fatal asthma attacks warns Asthma UK
Bonfires and fireworks could cause potentially fatal asthma attacks, a leading asthma charity has warned, issuing advice ahead of Bonfire Night on November 5.
The smoke fumes from burning wood and firework displays can linger in the air creating localised pollution, which could cause asthma attacks for the 5.4million people in the UK with the condition, says Asthma UK.
Asthma UK, who provide a nurse-staffed helpline for people with asthma, advice on its website and funds over 30 research projects, says three people die from asthma attacks every day.
Having an asthma attack can be incredibly frightening, and one occurs every 10 seconds in the UK. An attack happens when the airways start to tighten, which can leave people coughing, wheezing and gasping for breath. Some people with asthma describe having an asthma attack as feeling like someone is holding a pillow over their face.
Asthma UK has issued top tips for people with asthma on Bonfire Night:
Take your preventer medicines as prescribed
Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you at all times
If you find that smoke is making you cough, stand well back and admire the fireworks from a distance
Make sure your friends and family know what to do and when to get help if your asthma symptoms suddenly get worse
If it’s cold, wrap a scarf over your nose and mouth; this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.