The sun could help to treat asthma

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.
autumn-sun
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

Why do i need oxygen more in the summer?

inhaler
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.
ref: http://www.nwemail.co.uk

Does your crying make it hard to breathe?

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.
 
ref: https://www.news-medical.net

Why does cold air trigger asthma?

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 medicines are 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.

Perfumes and Paints Are Polluting…

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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ref https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/15/585886321/your-wall-paint-perfumes-and-cleaning-agents-are-polluting-our-air

Christmas trees could trigger deadly asthma attacks, doctors have warned.

christmas-tree
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.
 
 
 
reference: https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/4981922/warning-doctors-christmas-tree-deadly-asthma-attacks/

Asthma suffers given warning over bonfires and fireworks

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.

ref: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/asthma-suffers-given-warning-over-11454993

THE BEST supplements to boost your diet during dark winter months include vitamin D, which has now been found to protect against severe asthma attacks.

The best supplements to take during cold winter months include vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine.

However, a new study has found that topping up on the essential vitamin could also protect against severe asthma attacks too.
Asthma attacks can be more prevalent during winter because cold air in the airways can cause them to go into spasm, according to Asthma UK.
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London discovered that people who took oral vitamin D supplements in addition to standard asthma medication could halve their risk of an asthma attack that required hospital attendance.
“On average, three people in the UK die from asthma attacks every day.
While getting vitamin D from sun exposure is the most efficient way to absorb it, people can struggle to get enough during the winter months and there is also the risk of skin cancer.
 
Reference: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/861375/best-supplements-vitamin-d-diet-asthma-attack-winter

Thunderstorm Asthma on the Rise


For seasonal allergy sufferers, rain is usually thought of as a friend—it washes the pollen out of the air. However, there are circumstances in which a particular type of wet weather event can make things much worse: thunderstorms. Asthma epidemics have occurred under such circumstances and have affected patients who have never exhibited asthmatic symptoms before. The most recent severe episode occurred in Melbourne, Australia, in 2016, with 8500 emergency asthma visits and nine deaths.[1]
Recently in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dr Gennaro D’Amato and colleagues[1] explored the nature of this phenomenon and implications for the future. The authors point out that although rare, these events are expected to occur more often with anticipated climate change. According to the authors, the evidence for this so far is limited to pollen and outdoor mold seasons—but even in the northeastern United States, that is about three quarters of the year.
 

Who Is at Risk?

Certainly, people who are sensitized to the relevant allergens are at risk. Beyond that, we can presume that patients who already have poorly controlled asthma or more bronchial hyperresponsiveness would be at risk, as would patients who have other concurrent risk factors for allergic asthma (such as rhinovirus infection[5]).

What differentiates people who died of asthma from those who did not? Did they have bronchodilating asthma inhalers? Were these fatalities akin to fatal food anaphylaxis in patients who did not have treatment with injectable epinephrine? Many questions remain.
Thunderstorm asthma is an uncommon event that can overwhelm healthcare systems and kill patients. It is yet another reason to screen atopic patients for asthma. Those who are sensitized to pollens or outdoor molds and also wheeze with colds are prime candidates for additional evaluation for undiagnosed asthma. Likewise, patients with exercise-induced asthma (who perhaps have more than just this condition) should probably have spirometry to assess for baseline airway hyperreactivity and perhaps exhaled nitric oxide as well. Perhaps for milder asthmatics who are deemed at higher risk, instead of a bronchodilator alone, we should prescribe a combination inhaler with a corticosteroid and a long-acting fast-onset bronchodilator.

Get stronger lungs with these exercises!!

Exercise is a fanastic way to help strengthen muscles and improve heart function all at the same time. It will also give a person overall health benefits and motivation to feel good.


So how does this help you if you have a condition like asthma?

There are breathing exercises that, like aerobic exercises, can strengthen the lungs to relieve asthma symptoms or, in some cases, even prevent the recurrence of asthma attacks.

To make up for the lessened functionality of the lungs through asthma, the body uses other muscles for breathing – such as your neck, back and chest. This, however, doesn’t assist with breathing; it only adds more stress to your body, which is not good for people living with asthma.

With the following breathing exercises, asthma patients can strengthen their lungs and, thus, improve their breathing.

Pursed-Lip Breathing
With a pursed lip, breathe into your nose and breathe out at least twice through your mouth.

Belly Breathing
Breathe into your nose and breathe out through you mouth at least two times. Make sure that each exhale is as long as your inhale. This helps with training your diaphragm to do most of the work while breathing, which builds up the strength to fill and empty your lungs.

If you begin to feel dizzy while practicing any of these exercises, stop immediately.Once you feel better, try again. If the dizziness continues, you should contact your doctor for help.
 
refernce : Jason Hughes, tricounty