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Do you have asthma? The best way to remain safe from an attack is to avoid the triggers. Check out our video to learn about asthma triggers.
Transcript: If you have asthma, an attack is always possible --even if you're not short of breath right at the moment....
If you have asthma, an attack is always possible --even if you're not short of breath right at the moment. Most people with asthma have airways that are always a bit SWOLLEN, inflamed and hyper-sensitive. When you're exposed to a TRIGGER, airways can swell up rapidly and your body may produce a lot of airway-clogging mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Knowing - and AVOIDING -- your asthma triggers is a vital step in preventing attacks, so let's run through a list of the 10 most common. SMOKE is a VERY common asthma trigger. If you smoke, seek help to quit. If you hang out with smokers, ask them to put out their cigarettes or to go outside. AIR POLLUTION is another major culprit. You probably can't avoid it altogether. Listen for air quality reports-if pollution is high, you may want to limit your time outdoors. Dust mites, mold, and rodent and COCKROACH droppings are ALL liable to spark an episode. Avoid these by keeping up with household tasks- fix water leaks, wash your sheets, vacuum, dust, and keep your home ventilated. People with asthma may not want to own a dog, cat or other furry pets due to their DANDER. If you do have one, try and keep the pet OUTSIDE and away from your bed and furniture. Otherwise, you may have to find your pet another home. Pollen also elicits attacks -50% of people with asthma developed the condition as a result of allergies. If this is you, listen to the weather reports and consider staying indoors on days with high pollen counts. Colds and flus are also common attack triggers. Everyone with asthma should get a FLU VACCINE every year. Also, try to prevent colds by avoiding sick people and washing your hands often. INTENSE EXERCISE is a common asthma trigger because increased respiration makes your lungs more sensitive. But you definitely SHOULDN'T avoid physical activity - work with your doctor to figure out which medications to use BEFORE you exercise or if you have an attack. Just like exercise, laughing is fun, and it's good for you. But INTENSE laughing--as well as yelling and crying--can actually SET OFF an attack. Emotional STRESS can spark one too. If you feel like you're ready to EXPLODE with anger or anxiety, take a break and calm down. Intense odors are known to prompt attacks, so choose the unscented versions of detergents, deodorants, hair products, and more. Some patients experience an attack after taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen. If you have a reaction to one, it's best to avoid ALL anti-inflammatories. Knowing your triggers can help you prevent an asthma attack and let you breathe much, much easier.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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People with asthma know that an inconsiderate smoker can turn a pleasant day into one filled with wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Want to find out what other triggers affect your fellow asthmatics the most? Take the survey!
Last Modified: 2012-07-13 | Tags »
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There are many triggers that can cause adult onset allergies. Some believe that it is due to an underdeveloped immune system. Learn more about the increase in adult onset allergies
Transcript: You may have been able to avoid allergies for decades, when suddenly at age 20 or 30 or older, you develop...
You may have been able to avoid allergies for decades, when suddenly at age 20 or 30 or older, you develop them. It hardly seems fair, but according to research, adult onset allergies are increasingly common. But why? Research suggests that many adults actually had allergies as a child, but may never have known, or have forgotten about them. The allergies subsided as they grew up. But NOW, as people get older and their immune system WEAKENS, the allergies flare up again. For other adults, repeated exposure to allergens finally sensitizes their immune system. They develop an allergy to cats, for example, after having been a long-time cat-lover.Allergies can also develop if a WEAKENED immune system is exposed to allergens. This may occur after a viral infection or during pregnancy. In fact, it's pretty common for women to develop allergies after pregnancy.Then there's the HYGIENE hypothesis. This theory claims that our immune systems-these remarkable ENGINES designed to fend off assaults from germs-are underused these days. Due to an overuse of sanitizing agents, antibiotics, and a our highly germ-free environment, our immune systems don't come in contact with the disease-causing antigens that our forebears did. That causes our underused immune systems to turn on own bodies, creating allergies and autoimmune diseases. The immune system is acting like a bored adolescent, getting in trouble just because there doesn't seem to be anything else to do.Luckily, adult onset allergies-including allergic asthma--can be treated with antihistamines, antileukotrienes and nasal corticosteroid sprays. And immunotherapy with shots or sublingual drops can help reset the immune system so the allergic reaction is reduced or even prevented. Only a board certified allergist can determine what form of immunotherapy is best for you, depending on the type of allergies you might have as well as their severity.More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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If you're an asthmatic, learning how to use a peak flow meter can be a lifesaver. This instrument helps measure lung function. Check out this video to learn more.
Transcript: Wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are all OBVIOUS signs that your asthma isn't well-controlled....
Wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are all OBVIOUS signs that your asthma isn't well-controlled. But to get a measurement of just HOW inflamed and narrowed your airways are, use a PEAK FLOW METER. Children and adults with moderate to severe asthma SHOULD have a peak flow meter. It measures lung function on a SCALE; a lower peak expiratory flow rate-or PEFR-- means LESS air is moving through your lungs. To USE a peak flow meter, move the marker to zero, or the bottom of the scale. Take a DEEP breath, hold it, and give one HARD blow out into the mouthpiece for 1 to 2 seconds. DON'T cough, spit or let your tongue cover the mouthpiece-if you do, START OVER. Do it correctly THREE times, and RECORD your highest number in your asthma diary. The number is important because it can indicate DECREASED lung function, even though you FEEL fine. Your doctor will tell you how OFTEN you should check your PEFR--it depends on the severity of your asthma. But no matter the severity, you should ALWAYS check your peak flow before and AFTER you use a rescue inhaler to check to see how well medication worked. Before frequent testing though, you should determine your "personal best" PEFR so you have a number to which you can compare all your SUBSEQUENT scores. To do this, check your peak flow EVERY day for 2 to 3 weeks when your asthma is NOT acting up. The best number is the one you should ALWAYS aim to have. Many doctors teach their patients the 'traffic light system' as a guide for assessing lung function at any given time. If your PEFR is 80 to 100 percent of your personal best score, then-- according to the system--you're in the GREEN zone. Your asthma IS under control. You're in the YELLOW zone if your score is only 50 to 80 percent of your personal best. Your asthma ISN'T well-managed anymore, and your doctor should adjust your prescription. If your PEFR is UNDER 50 percent of your personal best, you NEED to use your rescue inhaler to bring airflow back. If your score STILL isn't rising after inhaler use, contact your doctor or call 911. To learn more about asthma, take a look at more videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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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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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 »
Last Modified: 2013-09-27 | Tags »
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Airborne allergens like dust mites and pollen affect more than 35 million people throughout the US. Some symptoms include sneezing, coughing and postnasal drip. Find out more about airborne allergens in this video.
Transcript: From pollen to diesel fumes, the air we breathe is filled with potential allergy triggers that can irritate...
From pollen to diesel fumes, the air we breathe is filled with potential allergy triggers that can irritate the nose, throat, eyes and skin. POLLEN, the most common airborne allergen, is a fine, coarse powder responsible for plant reproduction. It is likely to set off allergy attacks from early spring through late fall. Symptoms include sneezing, itching, congestion and post-nasal drip. MOLD is another airborne allergen that causes many people a lot of discomfort. About 20 percent of people who suffer from airborne allergies are also affected by mold. Mold can grow in any damp environment, from a bathroom or basement or around a garden. Symptoms include itchy eyes and trouble breathing. DUST MITE droppings are a common airborne allergen found floating around your home. They are often a problem in pillows and bedding--anywhere that we shed skin cells. PETS also are a significant source of airborne allergens. Their irritating dander is mixture of small particles of fur and dandruff-like skin scales. Cat allergies, however, are caused by a protein in their saliva. Because cats are constantly licking themselves, saliva latches to their fur, which floats into the air and toward your nose and throat. Before you know it, your nose is runny and stuffy at the same time, while your throat and eyes become itchy. In addition to these "natural" allergens, many chemicals can cause allergies.Nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide found in smog and cigarette smoke, can cause nasal hyper-responsiveness resulting in extreme sensitivity. Diesel fumes can weaken the delicate nasal lining, allowing irritants to more easily trigger an attack. Even air conditioning, which is supposed to help clear the air, can produce allergy-laden residue that contains pollen along with a number of other allergens. To avoid airborne allergens as much as possible, keep pets out of the bedroom, get dust-mite protective mattress and pillow covers, wash your hair before going to bed to remove pollen that's accumulated during the day, and stay in filtered air indoors during high-pollen days. For more information on managing your allergies, watch the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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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 »
Last Modified: 2013-09-27 | Tags »
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Fluticasone nasal spray is used to treat airway spasms in asthma patients. View our video to find out more.
Transcript: When fluticasone and salmeterol are combined, they form a prescription drug which is available only under...
When fluticasone and salmeterol are combined, they form a prescription drug which is available only under the brand name Advair Diskus. This medication is made up of a bronchodilator, salmeterol, and a corticosteroid, fluticasone. Like other bronchodilators, the salmeterol in Advair Diskus causes the muscle cells around a person's airways to relax, in turn opening them and making breathing easier. Meanwhile, the fluticasone component of this medication serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the airways, easing some of the long-term symptoms of the disease. Advair Diskus is most commonly used in the treatment of asthma. It can also be prescribed to treat bronchitis in people with chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. Advair Diskus is available to be inhaled in doses of 50 micrograms of salmeterol combined with 100, 250, or 500 micrograms of fluticasone. Advair Diskus is generally inhaled twice a day. Follow the picture instructions on the package and rinse your mouth with water after using this medication. The most commonly reported side effects of Advair Diskus include headaches and upper respiratory infections, but please ask your doctor for a complete list. Also, tell your doctor IMMEDIATELY if you experience swelling, a rash, an asthma attack that you can't treat with your short-acting medication, or any other significant changes. Advair Diskus should not be taken DURING an asthma attack, as it is for long-term asthma treatment only. Ask your doctor for a full list of medications and conditions that should not be combined with Advair Diskus. Advair Diskus is commonly prescribed to treat asthma and bronchitis over the long-term. However, this medication must always be used under the direct care of a physician. Please ask for and review all of the patient information provided by your doctor before taking Advair Diskus.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-17 | Tags »
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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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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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