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

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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.

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