Common Cold & Flu Treatments
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Did you know that there are a number of common cold and flu treatments available? For a quick tip on the subject, watch our video.
Transcript: When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can...
When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can get - but sometimes you also want the comfort of being taken care of by mom. Dr. Mom has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, but she's also a mom who raised two kids, one husband, and two golden retrievers. Today, Dr. Mom shares some tips for combating cold and flu symptoms. Although colds and flus are caused by different viruses, they have many symptoms in common. Regardless of whether you've got a cold or the flue, here are some ways to feel better faster. There a couple of basic things you can do to speed your recovery from cold and flu: * First, Drink lots of water. When you have a cold or a cough, you can often get very dehydrated without realizing it. Drinking water continuously throughout the day will make you feel better. Also, drinking water makes your mucus flow more freely and allows you to blow or cough it out of your system easily. Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day while you are ill. Second, get lots of rest. Being well rested helps your body fight off the illness, and if you're running around all day, it'll take longer to recover. So give yourself permission to get the rest you need - even if it means sleeping longer than usual. Also, if you have a cold or the flu, make sure to avoid dairy products, like milk or cheese, which increase mucus production. Chicken soup has been heralded as a cold therapy since the famous 12th-century physician Moses Maimonides prescribed it to patients. Sipping hot chicken soup can really help clear up congestion. In fact, many of the traditional ingredients in chicken soup are natural versions of the cough medicines and expectorants commonly sold in pharmacies. The bottom line is that your Mom was right: chicken soup is one of the best therapies for a cold or flu. If your throat is sore and scratchy, try gargling every two hours or so with warm salt water. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water, and gargle for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Salt relieves your discomfort by killing bacteria and reducing swelling, but it doesn't treat the underlying illness. If you have a fever over 100 degrees F or are experiencing achiness, try taking a low dosage of Tylenol, which is known generically as acetaminophen. Tylenol is an effective pain reliever and fever reducer. Tylenol is not the same as aspirin, but whenever I mention analgesics, I like to remind people never to give aspirin to children, as it can cause a serious illness called Reye's syndrome. * There are literally dozens of cold and flu remedies on the market and new formulations come out all the time. In my next segment I'll look at the over-the-counter treatments available, and help you decide what's best for you. In the meantime, I hope these tips help you and your family to feel better. Remember, if your symptoms don't go away after a couple of days, make sure to see your doctor. I'm Dr. Mom, and thanks for listeningMore »
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OTC medication for cold and flu can work wonders. Watch this video to see what your choices are.
Transcript: Dr. Mom has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, and has raised two children. She has learned...
Dr. Mom has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, and has raised two children. She has learned that people sometimes need both the knowledge of a doctor and the comfort of a mom. Dr. Mom, when someone has a cold, what kinds of over-the-counter medication can they take? Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments are medications you can get without a prescription. They usually are marketed under familiar brand names, like Motrin or Tylenol, and commonly can be found at your local pharmacy. But with all of the options you see on the pharmacy shelves, it can be hard to figure out what kind of medication will work best for your symptomsAnalgesics are one important type of OTC medicine. Commonly referred to as pain-killers, analgesics include aspirin, Motrin, and Tylenol. Taking any analgesic will reduce your pain, but Tylenol is the most effective at reducing fevers. Remember, if youre treating a child, never give aspirin to someone under the age of 12. When you have a runny nose or are stuffed up, there are two kinds of medicine that can help. Pseudoephedrine, commonly sold under the brand name Sudafed, helps dry and clear nasal passages and will also make you feel alert and awake. Make sure to check with a doctor before taking pseudoephedrine, as it can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. Combination medications containing Antihistimines, such as Actifed, block histamines, which can help to dry a runny nose. Antihistimines often cause drowsiness. Both of these medications can help you get through your cold, just be sure to take the right one at the right time of day. Another way to treat stuffiness or a runny nose is with a decongestant like phenylephrine, which is sold under the brand name Neo-Synephrine. Decongestants help to reduce swelling and can provide quick relief. Some decongestants can cause drowsiness, so make sure you check the label before taking them. Be careful not to use decongestants for more than 5 days in a row, since this can actually lead to worse congestion in the long run. If you have a wet cough where you are producing mucus, you should use an expectorant. Expectorants, found in branded medications like Robitussin, work by thinning mucus so that it can more easily be coughed up. Once the mucus has been expelled, coughing lessens considerably. Also, take note if your mucus is green, be sure to see your physician immediately, as this is often a symptom of pneumonia or bronchitis. On the other hand, if you have a dry cough without much mucus, you should use a cough suppressant like dextomethorphan. These medications work by blocking the cough reflex center in the brain. No one likes having a cold. But treating each symptom with the right medicine and avoiding medicines that arent recommended for your symptoms is the way to feel better while you get healthy. So, the next time you or someone in your family is under the weather, youll be able to make them feel better faster. And remember, if you or a loved one is sick for more than 7 days, please see a physician. Im Dr. Mom, and thanks for listening.More »
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Feeling sick? You may have to see a doctor but sometimes getting a little rest is all you need. Check out our video for tips on when to see a doctor.
Transcript: When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can...
When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can get - but sometimes you also want the comfort and simplicity of being taken care of by mom. Dr. Mom has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, but she's also a mom who raised two kids, one husband, and two golden retrievers. Most of the time when we are sick, we get better with rest and time. But sometimes, we need some help from the Doctor to get well. Dr. Mom has some tips on when you should go to the doctor. Having the cold or the flu is no fun. The good news is that most people recover from the flu in a few days, and from colds in a week. But not everything that seems like a cold or the flu is really that innocuous. Here are some symptoms to watch out for. If you or a loved one exhibits any of these symptoms then you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. One unambiguous symptom to be on the lookout for is earache. If you have an earache, during a cold, chances are that you have a bacterial infection, and you will need antibiotics in order to get better. Another fairly distinct symptom to be on the alert for is green mucus. If your mucus is green, be sure to see your physician immediately, as this is often a symptom of pneumonia or bronchitis. Neither a cold nor the flu should not make you short of breath or cause pain in your chest. If you are experiencing either of these symptoms, it could indicate a more serious problem like pneumonia or heart disease, so please call your physician. Painful swallowing is also not a normal symptom of cold. It can often be the sign of an infection or injury that needs to be treated by a doctor. If you have a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or a fever that lasts more than 3 days, then you see your doctor to make sure you don't have a secondary infection. Vomiting while you have a cold poses a serious danger of dehydration. Try to drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. If you are unable to keep the fluids down, you may need to go to the hospital to receive fluids intravenously. The other important factor to be aware of is time. The length of time that a cold or a symptom affects you is an important indicator of whether you need to see a doctor. For example, a typical cough is nothing to worry about, but a persistent cough that lasts for more than 2 weeks could be a sign of an infection. Similarly, congestion is a common cold symptom, but if your congestion does not go away with medication for several weeks, you may need to be treated for a sinus infection. See your doctor if either of these symptoms persist. If your cold lasts for "too long", that is also an important indicator that you should see a doctor. How long is "too long?" It depends on who the patient is. For newborns, any cold is too long. At the first sign of cold or flu symptoms, take your child to the pediatrician immediately. If you are pregnant, or nursing a baby, then if the cold persists for longer than three days it could be dangerous for you and the baby. For everyone else, cold and flu symptoms should run their course in 7 days or less. If your cold lasts longer than that, it is time to see a doctor. Remember, cold and flu symptoms are usually indicative of a comment ailment, so don't worry unnecessarily. But, it is smart to be on the lookout for indications that you might need a doctor's care, and respond appropriately. I'm Dr. Mom, and thanks for listening. Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.More »
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Think asthma can prevent you from exercising? Think again! Learn more about exercising with asthma by watching this video.
Last Modified: 2013-10-07 | Tags »
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What is ADHD? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common childhood behavioral disorder that affects millions of kids and adults. Find out more about this disorder in this video.
Transcript: Fidgeting. Daydreaming. Extreme energy. Is it normal childhood behavior, or something more? Attention...
Fidgeting. Daydreaming. Extreme energy. Is it normal childhood behavior, or something more? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or AD/HD, is the most frequently diagnosed childhood behavioral disorder and affects millions of Americans. A child who suffers from AD/HD is extremely hyperactive, has real trouble focusing and acts very impulsively. They can't take tests, can't sit still, and talk excessively, often interrupting others. Most children exhibit these behaviors sometimes. But for sufferers of AD/HD, these behaviors persist in a continuous fashion for more than 6 months, and affect the sufferer's ability to function-both at home and in the classroom. The first known reference to a child or one with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder occurs in the poems of the German physician Heinrich Hoffman, who in 1865 described 'fidgety Philip' as one who won't sit still, wriggles, giggles, swings backwards and forwards, tilts up his chair... growing rude and wild'. In 1902 by Sir George Still, a British doctor, published a series of lectures on impulsive children with significant behavioral problems, which ultimately led to the disorder being classified. Today, the exact cause of the disorder is still unknown, although scientists believe emphasize genetic factors. Causes that have been proposed, and dismissed, include poor parenting, bad diet and watching too much TV. The good news is that AD/HD symptoms can be treated with behavior management and medication. In a healthy brain, chemicals called neurotransmitters relay instructions for everything from body movements to memory recall. In AD/HD sufferers, some of these chemicals-namely dopamine aren't transmitted properly. To compensate, the brain looks for more stimulation. It does this by triggering body movement, or by alternating its focus. These actions do release more dopamine, but also cause the sufferer to be physically restless or mentally distracted. Most cases of AD/HD are diagnosed in children before age 7. Boys are three times as likely as girls to be diagnosed, but this difference levels off when boys reach the age of 19. By their 20's many formerly diagnosed children, especially boys, have outgrown the disorder, though symptoms often persist to adulthood for about 40% of sufferers. Professionals recognize three basic kinds of AD/HD. Children who have hyperactive-impulsive or HD will appear restless, fidgety and impatient and often consider immediate rewards rather than long-term consequences. Children who have inattentive AD/HD appear to be daydreamers. Because the primary symptom of this type AD/HD is an inability to focus on any one thing, it is also referred to as ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. Patients who exhibit both hyperactivity and inattention are considered to have combined ADHD. AD/HD is not easy to diagnose. Symptoms may not be easily distinguishable from normal childhood behavior, and can also be caused by other disorders. If you believe you or a loved one may have AD/HD, talk with a physician about your concerns.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Diagnosing ADHD is a complex procedure. If you think your child has ADHD, see what steps your doctor will take for diagnosis.
Transcript: Your normally bright child suddenly has problems staying focused in the classroom. At home, he can't...
Your normally bright child suddenly has problems staying focused in the classroom. At home, he can't remember the details of his homework, and it's a real chore to get him to sit still long enough to try it. You're worried-could it be AD/HD? Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or AD/HD, include impatience, fidgeting and an inability to focus. Children with AD/HD are often intelligent and extremely creative-they simply have less control over their impulses than other children of the same age. It's important to have a qualified medical professional make a diagnosis of AD/HD. In some cases, a boisterous, energetic child is exactly that, and has no disorder at all. Diagnosing AD/HD is tricky. No blood test, MRI or other medical procedure can determine if someone has the disorder. Diagnosis depends entirely on a doctor's interpretation of the symptoms, through his own observations and those of others who know the patient well. In fact, AD/HD is much more frequently diagnosed in the U.S.A. than in other countries. This is in part because of differing attitudes towards the disorder, in the U.S.A. AD/HD is treated more as a medical condition, whereas other countries are more narrow with their definition of the disease. To ensure accuracy, look for a pediatrician or child psychologist who has some experience with AD/HD. Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a comprehensive assessment for AD/HD. Throughout the process, the doctor must consider if the symptoms have persisted for six months or longer, are interfering with the patient's ability to function, and are indeed more severe than the behavior exhibited by other children of the same age. Expect at least two doctor's visits before a diagnosis is made. First, the doctor will take a detailed medical history of your child and of your entire family, including allergies, illnesses and medications used. Doctors believe that AD/HD has a strong genetic component. To rule out other medical causes for your child's symptoms, a physical examination will be performed, including hearing and vision tests. It is difficult to diagnose ADHD in children 5 years of age and younger. This is because many preschool children have some ADHD symptoms in various situations. In addition, children change very rapidly during the preschool years. It is also difficult to diagnose ADHD once a child becomes a teenager due to adolescent hormonal fluctuations. There is no single test for ADHD. The process requires several steps and involves gathering a lot of information from multiple sources. You, your child, your child's school, and other caregivers should be involved in assessing your child's behavior. Questions may be asked about classroom performance, relationships with others and independence, among other topics. This part of the assessment may be coordinated with the psychologist at your child's school. Do not attempt to diagnose AD/HD without speaking to a physician. Effective treatment, including behavior management and medication, starts with the proper diagnosis from your doctor. To learn more about the basics of AD/HD, and how it can be treated, be sure to check out the other videos available in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-20 | Tags »
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Do you have cough, shortness of breath or wheezing? You could be suffering from asthma. Understanding Asthma is important to deal with this chronic respiratory condition. Watch this video and learn more.
Transcript: More than 20 million Americans suffer from the condition known as asthma. But what exactly is this disease?...
More than 20 million Americans suffer from the condition known as asthma. But what exactly is this disease? Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition in which a person's airways become narrowed, making it difficult to breathe. There is currently no cure for this disease. Asthma is typically characterized by coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. When allergens or environmental factors cause a spike in these symptoms, it is known as an asthma attack. During an asthma attack, the large airways...called bronchi...react to a trigger, like an allergen, with contracting spasms. The bronchi inflame and produce mucus, further narrowing the airways and leading to the symptoms of asthma. Attacks may last just a few minutes, or can linger over several days. Symptoms can usually be relieved using asthma medications, but may also dissipate naturally in mild attacks. Asthma is not new. In fact, it made its first appearance in The Iliad, where the poet and author Homer coined the term from the Greek word for "sharp breath." Centuries later, in 450 B.C., the philosopher Hippocrates used the term to describe breathing difficulties and spasms that he had observed in tailors, anglers, and metalworkers. Today, doctors agree that there is a strong genetic component to asthma. However, it takes more than genetics to make a person have an attack. Environmental triggers are necessary, as well. There are many different theories about which stimuli can cause asthma, among them: early-childhood infections, chemical exposure through air pollution, and insufficient immune system development. Once asthma does develop, exposure to certain factors, called triggers, spur symptom flare-ups. People who experience symptoms after exposure to allergens, like dust, cat hair or even cockroach "dust," are said to have allergic asthma. Many people with allergic asthma also react to environmental irritants like cigarette smoke. Some basic medical conditions, like colds, sinus infections and acid reflux disease, can also trigger symptoms. Vigorous physical activity and stress are other likely causes of an asthma attack. Serious attacks can be life threatening. The good news is that people with severe asthma can often overcome, or at least control, their symptoms, even excelling at sports. Just look at swimmer Mark Spitz, who held the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics... despite his asthma! And fellow asthma sufferer Jerome Bettis, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was a popular NFL running back. While asthma can be life-altering, with proper treatment, people living with the condition can lead very full, normal lives. If you or your child is suffering from breathing difficulties characteristic of asthma, please see your doctor immediately!More »
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Treating asthma can help you lead a normal, fulfilling life. Watch this video to learn about possible treatments.
Transcript: Just because you have asthma doesn't mean you need to sit on the sidelines! With proper treatment, asthmatics...
Just because you have asthma doesn't mean you need to sit on the sidelines! With proper treatment, asthmatics can lead normal, active lives. Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition which currently has no cure. But an allergist or pulmonologist can help you create a specialized treatment plan to help keep your symptoms under control. During an asthma attack, the large airways, which are known as bronchi, spasm repeatedly. The bronchi then inflame and produce mucus, further narrowing the airways and making breathing difficult. The goal of asthma treatment is to eliminate symptoms, and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Treatment plans typically include three components: medication, environmental management and monitoring. Medication works by reducing inflammation, which opens up the bronchial tubes, allowing air to flow easily through them. One type that is inhaled directly into the lungs through use of an inhaler is "rescue" medication. These relax bronchial tubes and improve airflow, and is used during an asthma attack to alleviate symptoms in the short-term. Long-term control medications, like Aerobid, are also inhaled. These corticosteroids work around the clock to relax bronchial tubes and suppress reactions to asthma triggers. In this way, corticosteroids can help prevent an attack, or limit its intensity. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend a rescue medication alone, or a combination of medications to provide long-term control and immediate relief. Asthma attacks can be set off by any number of triggers, which can include factors like allergens, stress, exercise, smog and even the common cold. The second component of treatment is to determine which of these factors aggravate your symptoms, and then to take precautionary steps to reduce your exposure to them. Is cold winter air a trigger? You might cover your mouth with a scarf when you're outdoors. Does cigarette smoke cause a symptom flare-up? Alert the people around you to your condition. If exercise triggers attacks, your doctor may recommend using a rescue medication as a preventative measure before beginning any physical activity. Daily monitoring is the third component of successful asthma treatment. A device called a peak flow meter can help you monitor your lung capacity. To use it, take a deep breath, and exhale into the inhaler-sized device. The meter measures how easily you move air in and out of your lungs. When you notice a drop in your peak flow numbers, it's an indication that an attack may be imminent. At this point, it's important to limit your exposure to triggers, or take medication to thwart the attack. Once you and your doctor have devised a treatment plan, stick to it. If you have questions or concerns about your asthma treatment, talk to your physician.More »
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If you're asthmatic, you probably deal with flare-ups at times. Learning how to prevent an asthma attack can go a long way in managing your asthma. Watch this for more.
Transcript: If you're one of the 20 million Americans who have asthma, your biggest priority will probably be preventing...
If you're one of the 20 million Americans who have asthma, your biggest priority will probably be preventing an attack. Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition, which currently has no cure. Anyone who has asthma can suffer an attack, but these can often be prevented through careful monitoring of symptoms and early preventative action. When asthma flares up, your airways inflame and produce excess mucus, which constricts the airways. This makes it difficult to breathe and causes the wheezing, gasping, and coughing that are typical of an asthma attack. By enlisting the aid of a device called a peak flow meter, you can spot problems...and take preventative action...BEFORE you have noticeable difficulty breathing. To use it, take a deep breath, and exhale into this inhaler-sized device. The meter measures how easily air moves in and out of your lungs. Generally, when your peak flow measurement drops below 80 percent, you're at risk for a moderate attack. Below 50 percent signifies that a serious attack is forthcoming. The better informed you are about what factors trigger your asthma attacks, the easier it can be to avoid a flare-up of symptoms. Track the progression of your asthma in a medical diary. By discussing your diary with your doctor, you can help identify triggers and create the best course of asthma treatment. Note the symptoms you experienced, when they occurred, and what factors triggered them. If you can't spot a connection, describe what you did and how you felt emotionally. Include information about medications you took and your peak flow numbers. Finally, note any changes in your daily activities as a result of symptoms. While you're keeping an asthma diary, be aware of some common triggers of asthma attacks. These triggers include airborne dust or pollen particles, allergens of any kind, cigarette and wood fire smoke, strong odors, changing weather conditions, and exercise. Once you know your triggers, take steps to reduce your exposure to them. For example, you might limit your time outdoors when air quality is poor or the pollen count is high. Or, if dust is a trigger, you could wash your bedding weekly in hot water to reduce dust mites. Serious sufferers may also want to invest in anti-allergen bedding. It can help to notify friends, family members and coworkers of your triggers, too. These people can help support you and work to reduce your exposure to the factors that prompt an asthma attack. Round out your preventative measures by getting enough sleep, exercising and eating a healthy diet. Stress and illness are two common asthma attack triggers that can be minimized or avoided by taking care of yourself. Asthma attacks are frightening, but by taking preventative measures, you can gain control of your symptoms. If you are currently experiencing breathing difficulties, please see your doctor for a check-up.More »
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Is your child suffering from asthma? Your little one is not the only one who is suffering from this condition. Check out this video to learn about childhood asthma in detail.
Transcript: It seems like your child is always suffering from a cold or respiratory infection. But could it be something...
It seems like your child is always suffering from a cold or respiratory infection. But could it be something more than the sniffles? Nearly nine million children suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory condition in which the airways narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Rapid spikes in these symptoms, due to allergens or environmental factors, are called asthma attacks. Because children have smaller airways than adults, they are more likely to experience these severe symptoms. Each year, asthma flare-ups account for an estimated 14 million lost school days. The capacity to have asthma is inherited and is usually diagnosed in childhood. But doctors are unsure exactly what causes asthma to develop in some children and not in others. Asthma is closely linked to allergies. Many scientists believe early allergic responses to allergens and infections may trigger asthma's development. Diagnosing asthma in children can be tricky because children usually can't fully describe their symptoms. Therefore, doctors rely on parents' observations and family history to make a diagnosis. Children who are diagnosed with asthma typically have had at least three episodes of prolonged wheezing that aren't related to a cold or other illness. Other indicators include hay fever and itchy, scaly skin. Once diagnosed, children will need help to control their asthma. Because younger children may not be able to tell you how they feel, watch closely for physical symptoms and behavioral changes that indicate an oncoming attack. Symptoms are unique from child to child. Some children develop a fever, while others will begin sneezing or have red, watery eyes. Many children appear tired, restless or cranky just before an attack. Ask your doctor about what symptoms are serious enough to head for the emergency room. Blue-tinted lips or fingernails, shallow breathing, or a persistent coughing fit are all indications that your child is having a severe attack. Preventing attacks in the first place is even more important. Exposure to certain factors, or triggers, often spurs symptoms. To reduce your child's exposure to asthma triggers, keep your home thoroughly clean. Eliminate any pest infestations, prohibit smoking and use an air filter to reduce airborne allergens. Take other steps based on triggers you observe. If dust is a problem, for example, regularly wash bedding and stuffed toys in hot water. Keep pets out of the child's bedroom. Should Fido or Fluffy prompt an attack, consider keeping them outside or finding them a new home. For nearly 80 percent of children, physical exertion is a trigger. Pay particular attention to your child's symptoms when he or she is playing and keep an inhaler on hand. Talk about your child's asthma with teachers, babysitters and family members. It's vital that these people recognize the signs of a pending attack, and know what to do. There is no cure for asthma, but with proper treatment, symptoms may disappear or markedly improve. If you think your child may be suffering from asthma, please make an appointment with your doctor.More »
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You can exercise with asthma! Get the information you need to know before you play sports with asthma.
Transcript: Sorry to say it, but having asthma doesn't give you license to become a couch potato! Even asthmatics...
Sorry to say it, but having asthma doesn't give you license to become a couch potato! Even asthmatics can...and should!...maintain active lifestyles. Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition in which the airways narrow and breathing becomes difficult. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Constricted airways are a hallmark of asthma that can make it tough to stay active. That's because physical exertion can be an asthma-inducing trigger: The chief one, in fact, for 90 percent of sufferers. So-called exercise-induced asthma is actually brought on by cold, dry air. When you're at rest, the air you breathe in through your nose is warmed, moistened and filtered on its way to your lungs. During exercise or physical activity, you draw breath faster, usually through your mouth. This brings dry, cool air to your lungs very quickly. Even in non-asthma sufferers, this harsher air causes the muscles surrounding the large airways, or bronchi, to tighten. But for asthma sufferers, a few minutes of this tightening motion is enough to prompt a full-on attack. The bronchi inflame and produce excess mucus, narrowing the airways further and leading to coughing and difficulty breathing. The good news is that with proper asthma treatment, you can play sports or exercise to your full potential. Many professional, and even Olympic, athletes succeed despite suffering from this condition. Track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee overcame her asthma to win five Olympic medals, including three that were gold! And despite being asthmatic, Dennis Rodman is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. When exercising, there are some basic rules to follow that will keep you safe. First of all, avoid physical activity on days when you aren't feeling well, or are already experiencing asthma symptoms. To discern whether you should exercise, breathe into your peak flow meter, a device that measures lung capacity. If your peak flow is less than 80 percent, it's not smart to exert yourself. You should also limit your exercise on days when the air quality is poor. Watch your local weather channel and check the air quality index to gauge how bad the pollution and pollen levels are for the day. If you've decided that it's a good day to exercise, begin with a slow and thorough warm-up, and always end your routine by stretching. Easing into and out of these exercises helps your body adjust to the different styles of breathing required. While exercising, drink plenty of fluids. Hydration relieves bronchial irritation from dry air. Of course, you should take your asthma medication BEFORE exercising and keep your inhaler at hand. Should you have an exercise-induced asthma attack, stop immediately and use your inhaler. After five minutes or so, if your symptoms have stopped, you may choose to continue your exercise. If you have a second attack, call it quits for the day. Then check-in with your doctor. Learning to manage your exercise-induced asthma is key to your overall physical health. Inactivity can only make you feel worse! But remember to talk to your doctor before you attempt any exercise program.More »
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Is your cough persistent? It could be a sign of asthma! Check out this video to learn in detail about cough-variant asthma.
Transcript: That cough sure is persistent. Is it just a nasty cold, or something to be more concerned about? A chronic...
That cough sure is persistent. Is it just a nasty cold, or something to be more concerned about? A chronic cough is the fifth most common reason people head to the doctor. But the real, underlying problem can sometimes be surprising: It could be asthma. Most people recognize asthma as a respiratory condition characterized by episodes of shortness of breath and wheezing. This chronic disorder affects nearly 20 million Americans, primarily children. Some asthma sufferers, however, don't have trouble breathing at all. For people who have cough-variant asthma, the primary symptom is a dry cough that lasts several days. During a typical asthma attack, the body's large airway, the bronchi, react to allergens and environmental irritants with contracting spasms. Inflammation and mucus narrow the airways even further, leading to difficulty breathing. In patients with cough-variant asthma, however, cough receptors in the lungs react to allergens. The airways may still constrict slightly, but not enough to hamper breathing because the expulsive force of the cough keeps them clear. This type of asthma is tough to diagnose. Unlike other asthmatics, cough variant sufferers may not have noticeably constricted airways or a wheezing aspect to their breathing. Patients themselves may inadvertently make diagnosis tougher by taking over-the-counter medicines for what they believe to be a cold or respiratory infection. This reduces symptoms enough that diagnosis becomes difficult. To confirm that a patient has cough-variant asthma, a doctor must conduct a simple test called broncho-provocation. During this procedure, a patient uses an inhaler to breath in a minute amount of allergens. For someone who does have cough-variant asthma, these tiny allergens are enough to provoke an immune response and start a bout of coughing. If there's no reaction, then that chronic cough may not be asthma and could require further evaluation. Treatment for cough-variant asthma is similar to that of other forms of asthma. The same medications are used and a patient must manage his environment doggedly to avoid symptom-triggering allergens. The only key difference is how a CVA-sufferer monitors asthma symptoms to prevent an attack. Peak flow monitors, which measure how easily air moves into and out of the lungs, aren't as effective for cough-variant asthma sufferers as they are for other asthmatics. Sufferers of cough-variant asthma may have peak flow levels within the normal range even if they are experiencing symptoms. Because symptoms tend to be worse in the morning, cough varient-sufferers who do choose to use a peak flow monitor will have the most luck then. These patients should pay particular attention to their coughing, because even a cough here and there may indicate a worsening of symptoms. It's also important to keep a record of the circumstances surrounding each attack. This will help people with CVA get a better handle on their symptom-inducing triggers. There is no cure for cough-variant asthma. But with treatment, symptoms may lessen or disappear entirely. If you think you may have cough variant asthmsa please see your doctor.More »
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