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Asthma is Worse When Exposed to Smoke

September 21st, 2013 paulr Posted in Asthma No Comments »

Asthma is Worse When Exposed to SmokeMy asthma is worse when exposed to smoke from fires, pollution, or any particulates the air. If you are an asthmatic of suffer from allergies, you probably are already aware of this fact. But what about the people who smoke or do not have allergies or any breathing problems. You cannot blame them, they are just not aware of the problem and go about their own lives without giving it a seconds thought about the impact they have on other people. They do not even realize that their clothes smell, their cars smell and certainly their homes also smell of stale smoke. Some people are really awful. Their clothes just reek of stale smoke and you cannot stand to be close to them.

Asthma is Worse When Exposed to Smoke – Hospital Nurses Who Smoke

About the worst situation I have ever encountered is being in a hospital because I am having an asthma attack and being looked after by a nurse who is a smoker. They are not allowed to smoke in the hospital, thank goodness, but they still go outside and grab a quick smoke on their breaks and at lunch hour. When they come back in everything about them smells of stale smoke. Their clothes smell terrible, their skin and their hair all have that stale smoke smell!

You do not need to get very close to someone to smell the stale smoke smell. Some people smell so bad that just being in the same room with them is enough to set asthmatics off with an attack. Anyone working in a hospital should not be allowed to smoke while on the job and should also be required to wash their clothes every day! This is really difficult for asthmatics, we are not just being picky or making this up.

Pollution from Forest Fires

This situation can be very bad for people with all kinds of allergies. About all I can say about this situation is either stay inside or get out of town and get away from the smoke and the pollution. Some people will also wear a mask over their nose and mouth. This will work to some extent and probably block 80% of the contaminants which is better than nothing. Just get out of town and stay away until it is over. When you do come back you may have a cleaning job to do to rid your home of the smell of smoke. Before you leave make sure that all windows and doors are closed up tight to avoid allowing the smoke to come inside and contaminate your home.

Smoking in Public Places

Many people smoke in public places, because this is quickly becoming the only place they can smoke. They must be outdoors or in designated smoking rooms. Asthmatics will avoid these locations and they are smart to do so. The smell from cigarette second hand smoke can literally take your breath away when asthmatics are exposed to smoke in this manner.

Cigar smoke is really bad. Can you believe that there are still some places that allow the smoking of cigars in doors! Most are relegated to outdoor areas or at least cigar lounges. We routinely walk past a bunch of guys who sit outside along the sidewalk and smoke cigars.  They sit about 10 feet back from the sidewalk and it is still very over powering when you walk past them and the breeze is blowing in our direction. Hard to believe but people still smoke these things and enjoy them.

Perhaps you are thinking that the writer is just a non smoker who is trying to make an issue out of this and give smokers a difficult time. This is not the case at all. If you suffer from asthma or know someone who does, then you already know that this is a real problem for these people and they just need to get away from these smokers.

For more information about asthma is worse when exposed to smoke and other ways of dealing with asthma, click here.

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Does Heavy Smoke Affect Asthma

September 7th, 2013 paulr Posted in Asthma No Comments »

Does Heavy Smoke Affect AsthmaHeavy smoke from a wildfire or can cause a number of health problems. That’s because smoke contains harmful gases and fine particles that can irritate the lungs. When you breathe smoky air, you are inhaling carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) plus gases like formaldehyde, depending on what is burning. If you have asthma, take precautions and get away from these conditions or protect yourself by wearing a mask and taking your medication before a problem starts. Heavy smoke affects asthma patients almost immediately.

Does Heavy Smoke Affect Asthma

While exposure to smoke can affect everyone, certain groups are more sensitive. These include older adults, pregnant women, and anyone with heart or lung problems. Children are at increased risk because their airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than an adult. Children also are more likely to be playing outdoors where they are exposed to smoke and ash. Stay inside and make sure that your home is sealed and the air is filtered to protect yourself and your children from breathing this air. If you are already asthmatic, then you know this, however many people who are on the verge of being asthmatic may not be aware and will suddenly have breathing problems so severe they think they are dieing.  Don’t take chances take the precautions we mentioned immediately and get away from the smoke into fresh air.

Second Hand Smoke?

Even second hand smoke is bad for people with asthma and bronchitis. Being around people who are smoking or being in an area where people are smoking such as bars and casinos is generally not so good for people with asthma. If you must be in these places, try to sit where there is lots of ventilation and lots of fresh air. this is by far the best way to deal with what is really a bad environment if you must be in these places.

Another trick is to sit up wind from people who are smoking or smell of smoke. Usually there is a bit if a draft or air circulation in a building or room. If you can figure out which direction the air is moving and which people are smoking or even smell of smoke, sit up wind from them so that the smell and smoke from cigarettes blows away from you. Ask them to hold the cigarette on the other side if you must sit beside them. Most people do not mind if you ask them politely to move the cigarette to the other side of their person if you explain that you have asthma. Not everyone does, but most people today are very conscious of this issue and will cooperate.

Many governments are passing more and more legislation that prohibits smoking in casinos, bars and restaurants or even public buildings. Smokers are feeling ostracized these days because frankly they are not welcome anywhere the public goes. You have to feel sorry for them. Not only are they making themselves sick, they are not wanted around by the majority of people who do not smoke and they do not want them anywhere around food or where you can be exposed to 2nd hand smoke.

It is still amazing to the writer why people smoke other than it is a habit that is very difficult to break. In the mean time if you are a non smoker and especially if you are prone to asthma, try to stay away from people who are smoking and avoid breathing their bad air.

For more information about asthma and what you can do to control it, click here.

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Asthma Research Studies

July 7th, 2012 paulr Posted in Asthma No Comments »

Asthma Research Studies Asthma Triggers for AdultsI have asthma and I was also fortunate enough to participate in asthma research studies recently at the local Ottawa hospital. The purpose of the study was to assess patients who have been diagnosed with asthma and confirm that they actually have asthma. There seemed to be some doubt as to whether patients were actually being diagnosed properly or not with this problem.

In my case I was pretty sure that I had it, but then you never know, so I thought I would at least get another opinion. Even if they confirmed that I have asthma, I was sure that I would learn something and this is really why I am writing this post. I would like other people to learn what I learned. But first the details of how the study was run and whether it was really scientific enough.

Asthma Research Studies

When I first got a call from the hospital, they arrange for an appointment for me to come in a complete a questionnaire as well as several airway tests to confirm my baseline breathing capability. I was on medication and I was doing a good job at managing my asthma as it turns out. Once they reviewed these baseline results, they called me back for a second test.

The second test involved the application of what I call an irritant to see how my lungs would react. If I have more than 20% degradation in lung capacity, then I was deemed to have asthma. turned out that I only had a 17% degradation in lung capacity and confirmed that I was managing things well. Apparently the doctor had some doubt as to whether I actually had asthma, so he asked me to go to the next stage which was to stop all medication and record my lung capacity using a flow meter and also any symptoms I had, which I did.

No Medication and Asthma is Back

Well that was all it too. Over the weekend I was exposed to cut grass , humid weather and I went down hill fast. I had to use my emergency Ventolin puffers many times and they retested me on Monday morning. My lung capacity was down to 70% from 100% and when the finally gave me Ventolin, I improved by 17%. I have a way to go but I was feeling much better, once I had a treatment of Ventolin.

This confirmed I had asthma, so no big surprise. Was it all worth it, definitely and here is why.

What Did I Learn from this Clinical Asthma Research Study

First of all apparently 23 % of patients are misdiagnosed with asthma. These people may have had a small problem and were put on Ventolin and told they had asthma when they don’t

Second, I have always had trouble telling when my puffer was empty. What you need to do is shake it beside your ear and if you can still hear something sloshing around inside then there is still medication inside. Even when the medication is done, there still can be compressed air coming out of the puffer when it is depressed. Do not rely on this indicator for checking your puffer. Some manufacturers are now placing counters on them which is a great idea.

Third, I learned the proper way to use a puffer. As the picture above shows, you should be using a proper tube, press the puffer, then begin to breathe in at a regular rate. This is the best way to get all of the medication into your lungs. Otherwise much of it ends up on your tongue and the back of your throat were it will not do any good at all. Don’t breathe too hard or the same thing will occur with medicine on your tongue and the back of your throat.

Lastly they also told me that COPD and asthma are very different. Most people who smoke end up with pockets of dead air in their lungs were the lung tissue has died. This is caused 99% of the time by smoking! If you are smoking, try to stop immediately, since getting COPD is a terrible problem to have even worse than asthma.

they paid me for the parking and for the gas my car used, so I really was out of pocket at all. I am really glad that I participated in this asthma research study! For more information about asthma, click here.

 

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Bronchitis and Colds

May 21st, 2012 paulr Posted in Asthma 1 Comment »

Bronchitis and ColdsWhether you suffer from bronchitis or asthma, you probably already know that catching a cold is particularly problematic for you. Both conditions can be made a lot worse and medication may be needed. It turns out that Bronchitis and Colds are not a good combination. If you can imagine your bronchial tubes in a normal situation suddenly attacked by a cold virus causing them to swell and also produce mucus leaving a tiny opening for air to travel back and forth from your lungs, you get the picture. This is exactly what happens when some people catch colds and suddenly find it difficult to breathe.

They probably also begin coughing a tremendous amount as well which is difficult for the person as well as those around him or her. Sleeping is particularly problematic. Taking cough medicine reduces the ability to get rid of the mucus in your throat which may make your situation much worse. Follow your doctors orders regarding taking cough medicine when you have asthma or bronchitis. Many asthmatics are told to avoid cough suppressant.

 Your Bronchial Tubes Are Inflamed

A cold will irritate your bronchial tubes causing them to swell and also produce mucus. It is this combination that is particularly bad for people who have chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is define by persistent bronchial cough for 3 months 2 years in a row. For most people they never need to worry about this , however if you are susceptible to bronchitis, then a simple cold will trigger an attack and it may take a long time for the coughing to subside. A long time can mean a minimum of several weeks to several months. It is a good thing to cough since you want to cough up any mucus that you might have in your bronchial tunes or your lungs. Do not take cough suppressant since this would defeat the purpose of coughing.

Bronchitis and Colds – Visit Your Doctor

If you suspect that this is your problem, it is important to visit a doctor and be properly diagnosed. Writing from experience, someone who has had several colds in the last year and a bronchial attack each time, getting diagnosed by a doctor is very important. It is also extremely important that you take the regularly scheduled medication that will prepare and strengthen your lungs and bronchial tubes. Only take what has been prescribed by your doctor.

If you have chronic bronchitis it is important to note that your doctor has prescribed medication for a reason and you should not deviate.  Colds can attack at any time and like a prize fighter who is always in shape you need to have your lungs and bronchial tubes ready as well. This may seem melodramatic, but if you are supposed to take an anti inflammatory such as Singular and a puffer such as symbicort to assist your body in dealing with a cold then do it. The consequences of not following doctors orders are prolonged coughing and maybe even visits to the hospital.

Bronchitis and Colds and sometimes asthma as well can start over night, so be prepared at all times to deal immediately with the symptoms. Waiting even 24 hours can make a huge difference. I should mention that this is not based on any scientific fact. Instead it is based on experience in dealing with colds and having chronic bronchitis.

We are interested in hearing from other readers who have bronchitis and caught a cold. What happened, what triggered your bronchitis and what did you do to fight the attack? What do you do to deal with chronic bronchitis on a long term basis?  Any suggestions on how to deal with allergies, bronchitis, asthma are welcome. Any questions that you have as well are welcome and we will try to find some answers that make sense. Well written comments are welcome and we will even approve a comment with a link if it is well written and helpful to our readers.

For more information about asthma, click here.

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Asthma and Colds

May 7th, 2012 paulr Posted in Asthma 1 Comment »

Asthma Triggers for Adults Asthma and ColdsOne of the reasons we decided to talk about asthma on a diet web site is that people who suffer from asthma also have a hard time maintaining their weight. Being overweight also contributes to asthma as well so it is a vicious circle that is difficult to get out of. This post is exploring the relationship between asthma and colds from a personal perspective. I have had two severe attacks of asthma in the past two years and both of them were related to a cold that I started off with. Actually I am not sure if it is asthma or bronchitis, however it does not really matter because both are equally bad  and uncomfortable for me.

Catching a Cold

I caught a cold from a family member and really did not think much of it other than it was an aggravation. After all who wants a cold, right? It began the way all colds do, a sore throat, runny nose and headache. Next thing I know I am coughing like crazy and finding it difficult to get my breath. The first time it occurred I did not have a puffer or Ventolin treatments to take and so it got quite bad requiring several visits to the hospital.

The second time, I was prepared and took my medications. I still had an attack, but this time it was not nearly as severe. It took almost two weeks for the effects of the cold and the coughing triggered by the asthma to subside, but at least there were no visits to the hospital.

Asthma and Colds

It turns out that colds will trigger asthma attacks in people who have asthma and it is extremely important that these folks avoid catching a cold at any time.  Reading some material available it turns out that asthmatics lack some material that protects the lungs and makes them more susceptible to the impacts of colds.  The lungs and bronchial tubes are irritated and produce mucus to protect themselves. Unfortunately this mucus triggers a great deal of coughing and also blocks the airways. Imagine an airway that is already swollen due to the irritation now plugged with mucus and you are wondering why you cannot breathe!

My personal recommendation is too not ignore a cold. if you are supposed to take a regular puffer to deal with asthma or bronchitis, then make sure that you do take your medication all of the time as a preventative measure. Follow your doctors orders and do not deviate when you are exposed to people with colds. This is the best way to protect your lungs and ensure that they are as strong as possible when it comes to fighting a cold.

Asthma and Colds and Coughing

Whatever you do , do not stop coughing. This cough reflex helps to clear the lungs of mucus as well as the bronchial tubes. You really need to get this stuff out and coughing is the only natural way to do it.  Many people want to stop the coughing, after all they cannot sleep and no one around them can sleep.  It turns out that using cough suppressants is the worst thing you can do. What ever you do , do not take cough syrup or lozenges that prevent the cough urge, since this is the best way to get the mucus in your lungs out.

So What Does Asthma and Colds Have to do with Diets?

If you are busy fighting a cold and worse asthma, a diet will be the last thing on your mind. In addition, you may also find that you do not have the energy you need to be active due to lack of oxygen, hence you will not burn calories as effectively.

If you are trying to diet and lose weight you will have to work that much harder and be diligent about controlling the food you eat and exercise.  It is a tough life but you need to make the best of it.

That’s it for this post. If you want to make a comment or add to what we have posted here , please do so. valid and helpful comments are welcome and will be approved if they are helpful to our readers. For more information about asthma, click here.

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Develop an Asthma Action Plan

April 21st, 2012 paulr Posted in Asthma 1 Comment »

Asthma Action PlanConsumers suffering from asthma must develop an action plan that leads to controlling your exposure to whatever is causing your asthma to flare up. This is the only way you can lead a normal active life. The best way to do this is to first of all see your doctor and then possibly a specialist. They will assess you for the best treatment and ongoing maintenance treatment you require.  Developing an asthma action plan is not that hard, provided that you have good input from your doctor as well as your pharmacist and yourself.  Ultimately it is up to you to manage your asthma. Staying away from those things that trigger an attack, taking your medication as prescribed and paying attention to your body. all of these things will help you to lead a regular life and manage your asthma.

What is an Asthma Action Plan

The short version is that it is a series of steps that can help you manage your asthma when your symptoms get worse. The objective is to get it under control and keep it there so that you can avoid sudden flairs ups. These flare ups ruin your life and cause unneeded concern for your family and friends. Even your friends and family should know what to look for to assess when you are in distress and then what to do about it.

The following are a series of steps that you can consider that will lead to a personalized action plan for you:

  • Visit your doctor for an assessment
  • Discuss your medication with your pharmacist
  • Take advantage of web sites like these and other asthma education centers
  • Make a note of the possible triggers for your asthma attack
  • Based on all of the input, formulate a plan that is tailored to your personal situation
  • Review your plan often and customize it as you become familiar with all medications
  • Once you reach your maintenance plan, leave a copy pinned to the fridge.  Your family can remind you of the treatment you need to take.

 

Asthma Action Plan – Treatment

An example of an asthma treatment plan for an asthma sufferer, based on recommendations from Symbicort is as follows (always confirm with your doctor):

  • Take Symbicort every day, __ inhalations in the morning and __ in the evening
  • Consider an extra inhalation if necessary for relief
  • Take no more than 6 inhalations on any single occasion and take no more than 8 per day
  • Always carry your Symbicort with you for relief
  • Contact your health care provider if your asthma is getting worse, even after taking your inhalations.
  • If you are unable to obtain relief from inhalations, find it hard to speak or are breathless, or have a sudden unexplained severe attack of asthma go to your local emergency room immediately.

Whether you use Symbicort or some other drug, this is a good plan. However always review this plan with your doctor and pharmacist to ensure that it is customized for your personal situation and condition. We all have different triggers and we all react differently to various drugs. It is vitally important to develop a treatment plan, adhere to the plan and notify the doctor if something significant changes. Your doctor should of course approve the plan in the first place to make sure that it is tailored to you situation.

Note: we are not recommending Symbicort in this post, instead we are using it is an example only . Talk to your doctor to ensure that you are prescribed the correct treatment plan.

Comments are welcome and we will even approve your link to if you provide a constructive comment that is useful to our readers. For more information about asthma related issues, click here.

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Understanding Asthma

April 7th, 2012 paulr Posted in Asthma 1 Comment »

understanding Asthma is Worse When Exposed to SmokeManaging asthma and understanding asthma is a huge issue for many people. We have decided to do a few posts on this subject with the hope that we will help those people who have asthma as well as help people around asthma sufferers to understand their issues better.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects many millions of Canadians and Americans as well as other people all around the world. Asthma affects your airways and when it does, symptoms usually include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightening  and often a lot of coughing. the night time and early mornings are usually the worst for most people.

What causes Asthma to Get Worse?

A variety of outside as well as internal things will trigger an asthma attack. Everyone has a slightly different reaction to various stimulants and it is important for each person to become familiar with what ever triggers an asthma attack.

For many it can be allergens in the air, pollutants from industry as well as various smells in  your home. It can also be triggered from someone smoking around you or even the stale smoke smell on a person’s clothes. Even your diet can have an effect on you. Many people will also sometimes trigger an attack from vigorous exercise. These triggers and symptoms can all be controlled with treatment. Athletes can run races and have tennis matches with no problem what so ever.  They need to take the proper precautions and manage their asthma with the appropriate medicine.

What Actually occurs when You have an Asthma Attack?

First of all your airways become red and swollen and will fill up with mucus leaving less space for the air to get in and out of your lungs. In severe cases these airways can close up completely. Secondly the muscles around your airways will squeeze and tighten making an already difficult situation worse. With little air able to get in and out, many people find it very uncomfortable. They will have little energy and will not be able to go about everyday activities without some sort of intervention.

Treatment Plan for Asthma

There are a variety of drugs and inhalants on the market that work wonders for people with asthma. They all should be prescribed by a doctor. It is very important to be under a doctors care before you take any on these drugs or change your dosage in any way.

These drugs work in various ways, however they tend to focus on relaxing the muscles around your airways as well as reducing the inflammation of your airways. Some treatment plans are based on reacting to an emergency. While others are to be taken at regular intervals every day. Your doctor will be the best judge of how often and when you should be taking these medications.

Always carry your puffer with you so that you can deal with any asthma attack anytime you begin to experience symptoms. Regular treatment is usually first thing in the morning and again in the evening. However emergency puffers can also be used to react to symptoms as needed.

Whatever you do, do not let it linger. Seek a doctors assessment and treatment. Take the treatment when and how your doctor recommends.  There is no sense in allowing your life to be ruined because you did not take an inhaler when needed. Your life is just too important.

Comments are welcome. In fact if your leave a genuine comment that is helpful to our readers, we are more than happy to approve a link as well. We also accept links from other sites as well that focus on a similar subject. For more information about Asthma, click here.

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Allergy & Asthma Triggers for Adults

June 21st, 2011 paulr Posted in Allergies, Asthma 2 Comments »

Asthma Triggers for AdultsIf you have allergies or asthma, then this post will be interesting to you. I have had allergies for years and now it has transitioned into asthma. I am doing a lot more investigating these days to find out what I can do to minimize the effects of these two conditions. Most important trying to figure out how I can avoid asthma triggers  for adults that might cause an attack. If you can avoid the triggers you will have far fewer attacks and a better life.

One post I read recently listed the top 10 things that can cause triggers for asthma as well as allergies.  Note that for other people the triggers could take on a different order or there may be others that cause these attacks.

We all have a few tricks to avoid triggers, like not running inside when pollen counts are sky-high or keeping the windows closed and blasting the AC. There are other factors that can make symptoms worse, which can be avoided.

Asthma Triggers for Adults

Here is the list of the top ten things in my order of priority for me to avoid asthma triggers for adults.

  1. Friends who smoke. Cigarettes—with their numerous toxic chemicals and irritants—are nasty for everyone, but as an allergy sufferer, I am really sensitive to cigarette smoke and especially stale smoke on a persons clothes. In fact I often lose my breath and cannot take a breath when I am around someone who smokes a lot.
  2. Showering in the AM only. If I have been outside working or relaxing, I always take a shower before going to bed. In fact I undress in the laundry room so that pollen is not carried into our bedroom.  A shower washes any pollen on my skin or hair down the drain. My clothes get washed before they get to the rest of the house to minimize the spreading pollen throughout the house.
  3. An extra glass of wine or beer with dinner. I can tolerate about two drinks before I start to have a runny nose. Hops in beer are especially bad since the alcohol has not only relaxed by bodies defense, I am also allergic to the hops in the beer. I try to stick with light beer and low alcohol beer. There are also beers that are made from rice and other non hop products.  It is an awful thing to be allergic to hops, but I still manage to drink a few beers in the summer time.
  4. Skipping medication in the evening. Some times I forget to take my medication before going to bed. Night time is the worst. The body is relaxed, the histamine is reacting with my body and presto I have a runny nose or worse. Symptoms such as sneezing, weepy eyes, and runny nose peak for me at night, while for others they peak in the morning,
  5. Air freshener, deodorizers, hair spray – These things have all triggered loss of breath, asthma attacks and runny nose. I try to avoid them like the plague! Hotels routinely use deodorizers to freshen a room, particularly if someone smoked in the room. This is a disaster for me.
  6. Stressful work deadlines. A sleep deficit and then stress which often makes your sleep deficit worse can worsen both allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. Having an asthma attack is a very stressful event.
  7. Waiting too long to take meds. Waiting too long can mean a far worse asthma attack. It has personally happened to me and I now know the danger of waiting too long. Medications that block histamines work best before you’re even exposed to allergens. Start medication a couple of weeks before the season commences or before you’ll be around allergens .
  8. A not-hot-enough washing machine. If you find yourself sniffling in bed, crank your washing machine to the hottest setting. this is a new one to me and I have never associated this issue with my allergies.
  9. Houseplants that make you sneeze. Your innocent orchid could bring tears to your eyes.  If a plant gives off a strong smell, it may be the one that is causing you to have a problem with your allergies
  10. Water workouts in an indoor pool. Chlorine-filled lap lanes can wreak havoc on your system. Some people are allergic to chlorine. Protect your eyes and take a shower after your swim to remove all possible chlorine effects. Try to swim in outdoor pools, where the gas is more readily dispersed, instead of indoor ones, and avoid swimming in chlorinated pools daily.

Let us know if this list of asthma triggers for adults helps anyone and leave a comment if you have other items that impact you that should be added to the list.

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Allergy Season is Here

March 7th, 2011 paulr Posted in Allergies, Asthma 1 Comment »

Allergy Season is HereThis is a 3rd post about allergies and asthma. We feel so strongly about this subject that we are devoting four posts to this subject. Our family has to deal with allergies and asthma on a daily basis and spring time is the worst time of year for us. You can also read “Asthma From a Patients Perspective” and “Allergies and Were You Live”, which were our two previous posts. Allergy season is here for us and we are dealing with it the best we can.

There is also a link to diet and allergies. When you are suffering from allergies, there is a tendency to be less active, which means you burn less calories and sit around more leading to weight gain. If we can assist you in managing your allergies, then maybe you will not gain weight.

Allergy Season is Here – Spring can Be Difficult

This post is being made live on our web site at the beginning of March. Which for some people will be in the middle of prime time for their allergies. While for others they will be just starting. People living in Florida for example may be already dealing with severe allergies. While those of you in northern Canada and Alaska, your season may be just beginning as the evergreen trees begin to pollinate. Allergy season is here for many.

We decided to provide a simple list of the things that people can do to make their lives a little more bearable during allergy season. Depending on how severe your reactions are you may want to apply all of them or only a few. It really depends on were you live. It depends how severe your reactions are to the local allergens in the area that you live or spend most of your time. Allergy season is here!

Here we go:

  • Keep your home and office spotlessly clean
  • Keep all windows and doors closed.
  • Ensure that all furnace filters are changed on a regular basis
  • Leave your outdoor clothes in the laundry room
  • Avoid taking them into areas were you sleep
  • Take a shower before going to bed at night to remove pollen from your hair and skin
  • Request that members of your family and especially your spouse follow the same rules about clothing and also taking showers to avoid pollen / dust contamination
  • Avoid strong perfumes / cologne / hair spray etc
  • Drive to work
  • Delegate out door gardening to other members of the family or hire someone
  • Take prescribed medication as required and explained by your doctor
  • Avoid being around pets and other animals if you are allergic to pet dander
  • Install an in-room air purifier or have one on the forced air system
  • Ensure there is no mold in your home
  • Think about were your allergens might come from and try to avoid them
  • In extreme cases
    • keep your bedroom door closed
    • cover your bed with a plastic sheet
    • wipe the plastic sheet off at night and then remove it
    • dress and undress in another room to keep your room clear of pollen
    • keep the windows closed
    • use an in-room air purifier

If  we missed something obvious, please leave a comment and let us know. It will help other readers improve their quality of life as well.

Living inside a Bubble

If it feels like you have to live inside a bubble then you are probably right. Basically you are trying to eliminate all of the possible exposure to the things you are allergic to. This will require some thought on your part and maybe even some work as well depending on what needs to be done. The good news is that you only need to do this when the allergy season is here for you.

It is always a trade off, even with the medication that you may be taking. There are side effects to everything, it just depends on whether the medications benefits are worth more to you that the potential side effects. This is also true when it comes to depriving yourself from going outside or spending money on air purifiers etc Is the expense worth the quality of life improvement that you are going to receive.

Did You Know that Allergens are Additive

What we mean by this is that if you are allergic to let’s say 3 different things and when you are exposed to only one of them, you may not react at all or only in a minor way. If you are exposed to all of them at the same time, you may have a significant reaction due to the cumulative effect of all of these allergens.

Even if you can eliminate one of the allergens from your environment, you may receive a significant improvement in your quality of life. Avoiding newly cut lawns for example might be all that you need to do when you are also allergic to tree pollen and mold.

Everyone has to work this out for themselves and attempt to make their own quality of life improvements. The immune system is very complex and the best way to deal with allergies is to educate your self and also experiment until you find the best approach for your particular situation.

If that does not work, then you may want to consider moving to a climate that is more suitable to your particular health needs. Comments are welcome, especially those that will help our readers deal with allergies and the management of the environment around them. Spam comments will be auto deleted.

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Allergies and Were You Live

February 21st, 2011 paulr Posted in Allergies, Asthma 2 Comments »

Allergies and Were You LiveAllergies and were you live can make a huge difference in the number of allergies you have and your reaction to them. There are some areas of the continent that are just worse than others due to the predominance of pollen, dust and mold as well as pollution that just makes it uncomfortable for millions of people every year. There is not much you can do about it if you want to live a normal life. However you can protect yourself by avoiding those things that trigger allergic reactions.

We recently read a report that provided a list of the cities in the United states and ranked them for bad to best in terms of allergies. They ranked them based on pollen counts and over the counter drugs and prescriptions used to treat allergies.

Allergies and Were You Live

What they found was pretty interesting and yet when you thing about it not that surprising. The conclusions are that if you live in an area were there are lots of trees, grasses and flowers, dust and mold, along with high humidity, there are going to be more people being treated for allergies as well as asthma. If you have traveled the continent at all you will quickly realize that any were in the eastern side of the continent is not a good place to live if you have a lot of allergies.

High Pollution Not a Huge Factor

Even Los Angeles with it’s high pollution, was well down on the list due to its arid climate and location close to the ocean. There are pockets of areas that are better than others on the eastern side of North America. For example if you live close to the ocean and there are strong off shore breezes blowing the pollen away from you then this will be a good place to live.

If you happen to be allergic to grass pollen and not tree pollen, then many forested areas in the north east will be fine. You need to understand and learn what your body reacts to and then find out what the pollen levels are in your area.

Worst Areas to Live

Knoxville, Tenn had the highest ranking of all of the cities, while places like Los Angeles, much maligned for its air pollution, ranked far better — number 92 on the 2010 list. San Diego was 99, with both cities being near the ocean, off shore breezes and arid climates.

The study took into account factors such as the region’s pollen score (pollen count and other factors), along with the number of allergy medications prescribed and the number of board-certified allergists practicing there. Each city received  a score and then the list of 100 cities is drawn up.

Cities with an exceptionally high concentration of trees, grass, or weeds will have more pollen in the air, and local environmental factors such as wind, humidity, typical temperatures — and air pollution — also play a role in allergies. Knoxville is were it all came together to put it at the top of the list.

Geography Also Plays a Part

Anywhere grasses and trees do well may be places that you want to avoid. If you are allergic to certain types of weeds, such as golden rod you may want to stay away. River basins, such as in Ohio or Mississippi, were higher pollen counts occur due to high humidity levels, were everything sits,  pollen is likely to be worse.

In mountainous areas, there are fewer plants, resulting in less pollen overall.

Pollen from evergreens is typically heavy pollen, so it falls to the ground relatively quickly. It poses less of an allergy problem simply because it is airborne for a shorter time however if you are allergic to this type of pollen you will want to stay away. Try going from the desert into a mountainous area in the spring  were there are lots of evergreens  and see what happens. I did and will never go back at that time of year due to the almost immediate reaction from the pollen in the air.

The closer to the sea the better, especially if there are off shore prevailing winds which keep the pollen away from that part of the land.

How Do you Decide Were to Live Based on Your Allergies

The first step is to get tested and find out specifically what you are allergic to. Knowing that you are allergic to grass and trees is not enough. You must find out which types of grass and which types of trees that will impact you the most. Armed with this information, you can then look at various cities to see what is best.

Next find out what is the prevalent type of pollen in the area, or dust or mold.

For example, if you are allergic to evergreens, then the north eastern areas of the continent, mountainous areas are places to stay away from along with some river basins. If grasses do not bother you, the plains states might be a good place to live. It is also the type of grass or the type of tree that may be important for some people.

On the other hand, if grasses are a problem, then arid areas would be better, although you will have to be careful about the various local tress that are in the area. Asthmatics must take a great deal of care both in treating their symptoms as well deciding were to live.

Avoiding your Triggers

Basically it is all about avoiding your triggers, those allergens that could trigger an asthmatic attack or at least a severe allergy attack. Coastal areas seem best, however try to avoid polluted areas. Although Los Angeles ranked well on the list we saw, I would not want to have to deal with the pollution and the traffic every day.

If you generalize in your assessment you may not get the results you expect in terms of improvement to your allergies. Be specific, know exactly what you are allergic to and how to avoid them.

Comments about allergies and tactics to avoid them are welcome. Spam comments will be auto deleted.

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Asthma From a Patients Perspective

February 7th, 2011 paulr Posted in Asthma 1 Comment »

Asthma From a Patients PerspectiveAsthma is  a Problem for Millions of people and if you have ever experienced an asthma attack then you know how scary it can be. The first time I had the experience,  I was so tired, could not get enough air. I really was not functioning at even 80%. I drove myself to the hospital, which was not a good thing to do.  However I was probably worse than someone who had been drinking in terms of reaction time and ability to deal with emergency driving situations. Not a smart thing to have done. I could have easily had an accident or gone through a red light. This is not a good situation to be in. It would have been better to call a friend to drive. This is Asthma From a Patients Perspective.

Asthma From a Patients Perspective

The worst part is that I really did not know what was happening to me at the time and why I could not get enough air. I found that I could only walk about 50 feet before I had to stop and rest. This is really scary for a young guy who is fit and active!

Turns out that there are millions of people in the US and Canada that have Asthma and suffer from it on a routine basis. Going to emergency rooms at the hospital is not fun, the waiting, the explanations , the assessments and being treated although the relief is truly huge, when you can breathe, your head clears and you can function again.

What Brings on an Asthma Attack

There are many different trigger factors that will bring on asthma. In my case it is a combination of pollen’s, dust, mold and specifically aerosols from hair spray and deodorizer. In my case I have a lot of allergies to dust, pollen and mold, but it was the hotel deodorizer that really put me over the top.

There are many people with asthma in the US and Canada and many visit the hospital every year to get help and treatment. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any magic pill that you can take to be cured. They can treat the symptoms and make you feel a little better for a while, but they cannot cure the underlying problem. Asthma From a Patients Perspective is really scary.

Why does your body react to something in the air or something you eat? How can you stop it from ever happening again? All they can do is tell you to avoid those things that trigger a reaction in your system or give you something that will help to manage the symptoms.

Asthma seems to affect all races and colors of people.  Although Asians seem to have this problem a little less than whites and black people apparently have more reactions than white people do.

Asthma Rates Higher in Northeast

Were you live can sometimes make a difference, especially if things like pollen, mold and dust are the triggers for your asthma attacks. Reports have shown that people living in the north eastern part of the continent are more prone to asthma attacks. If you are lucky enough to live in the desert areas of the south east, you may be better off when it comes to how many asthma attacks you experience. Dryer air , less mold, fewer trees means less pollen and there may be more dust, but them you stay inside on windy days.

Asthma From a Patients Perspective – Triggers

For me it is all about avoiding triggers. I learned pretty quickly that I would get much worse when I was exposed to aerosol sprays, particularly the kind that many hotels use to make a room smell nice. Even scented candles will trigger a response.

We were visiting a friend one night and she likes to have scented candles burning all of the time to make the house smell nice. By the end of the night I could hardly breathe. She does not light these candles any more when we are visiting!

We live in the north east and try to get away to the deserts of Arizona and California in the late winter and spring. This is prime pollen and mold time back in the northeast and if I can avoid these triggers I will. For many people without the means to get away there are other ways to avoid pollen and mold that is in the air we breathe.

Avoiding Triggers

Staying inside, using filters on your furnace which are changed regularly, keep the windows closed, taking a shower at night before going to bed, even wearing a mask are ways to reduce the pollen intake. Obviously it depends on how strongly your body reacts to these triggers and which ones.

Taking the time to figure out which ones your body does not like and then avoiding them is well worth the time spent. Go see an allergist and get tested. He or she will be able to tell you which allergens you most react to and when to avoid  them.

Educate yourself about the avoidance mechanisms and the treatments that you should consider. Get tested for asthma to determine at what stage you are at and what the short term and long term treatments are for you.

Follow the doctor’s advice. Trying to second guess the doctor usually does not work. In my case I got better and then decided that I could stop taking the longer term puffers that I was on. Bad idea, because my asthma came back quite quickly!

Asthma From a Patients Perspective – Summary

  • Get tested by an allergists
  • Avoid your triggers as much as possible
  • Find out what you need to do to decrease the chances of an attack
  • Take your puffers and manage your asthma
  • Educate yourself on the disease, symptoms and solutions
  • There is no cure, but you can manage the problem well

If you have read this post and would like to contribute, please leave a comment that will help our readers. We all can use any help we can get to avoid this problem or at least make it livable. Spam comments will be auto deleted.

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