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Allergy and Asthma Safety at Summer Camp


Camp memories last a lifetime - swimming in the Read more

Children’s Lives Saved by 3-D Printer Technology


3-D printers are a unique type of technology since Read more

Allergy and Asthma Safety at Summer Camp

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment   ,
Children with insect or food allergies should bring their EpiPen to camp.

Children with insect or food allergies should bring their EpiPen to camp.

Camp memories last a lifetime – swimming in the lake, making crafts, having S’mores by the campfire, and making new friends. In order to keep these memories positive ones, parents should make sure children with insect or food allergies have an EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector) available at camp. Anyone with a food allergy is at risk for anaphylaxis, and those with food allergies and asthma are at an even higher risk, which is why it’s so important to have epinephrine on hand.

Children should pack at least one EpiPen in case of an emergency, preferably two – one to keep with them at all times and one to leave with the camp nurse or a trained counselor. Campers that plan on canoeing or kayaking should pack their EpiPen in a Ziploc bag or a “dry bag” to keep it dry and secure since the epinephrine carrier tube isn’t waterproof.

Hot temperatures can reduce the effectiveness of EpiPens, but it can be hard to avoid the heat while at summer camp. Ideally, EpiPens are stored at room temperature (68-77 degrees), but they can be exposed to up to 86 degrees for short periods of time. On especially hot days, campers with EpiPens should try to find shade periodically and take breaks indoors. It’s not a good idea to use an ice pack in an attempt to keep an EpiPen cooler because extreme cold can also reduce the medicine’s effectiveness.

Campers with food or insect allergies that are exposed to these allergens should use an EpiPen immediately and go to the hospital for monitoring. It’s important to use an EpiPen right away, even if the affected individual doesn’t immediately exhibit symptoms.

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Children’s Lives Saved by 3-D Printer Technology

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment  
The 3-D printed device supports pediatric patients’ airways long enough so that eventually their airways strengthen on their own.

The 3-D printed device supports pediatric patients’ airways long enough so that eventually their airways strengthen on their own.

3-D printers are a unique type of technology since organizations are constantly finding new uses for the devices. What started as an almost novelty item has morphed into a useful tool to progress medical treatment – like these prosthetic limbs for a disabled dog. I recently learned about a wonderful way 3-D printers have been used to create splints in airways of children with tracheobronchomalacia (TBM). Children with TBM are often misdiagnosed as having treatment-resistant asthma, but TBM actually affects breathing by softening the windpipe, which eventually causes the airway to collapse, and leads to breathing failure. The condition is rare – affecting 1 in 2,200 babies, but most grow out of it by age 3. With pediatric TBM, the cartilage supporting the airway strengthens as children age, but in some severe cases, TBM can be life-threatening.

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital created a 3-D printed splint to support the airways of children with TBM; three children participated in the study and are doing quite well with no complications from the treatment. Previously, the only way to treat severe cases of tracheobronchomalacia was through high-risk surgeries that often resulted in cardiac and respiratory arrest.

The 3-D printed device supports pediatric patients’ airways long enough so that eventually their airways strengthen on their own. The device is made of biodegradable polyester called polycaprolactone, and the body reabsorbs the device after about three years. Children using the device no longer needed ventilators; paralytic, narcotic and sedating drugs; and no longer had to be fed intravenously. Researchers are awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to move forward with establishing the 3-D splint as the go-to treatment for TBM.

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Pregnant Mothers of Boys Have Greater Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Women's Health Leave a comment  
Nearly 9.2% of mothers develop gestational diabetes.

Nearly 9.2% of mothers develop gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes can be a real source of stress and concern for mothers. On top of stocking up on supplies for the baby and pouring over parenting books, mothers with gestational diabetes also have to regularly check their blood sugar and be extra careful about their diet.

A new study found that a mother’s risk of developing gestational diabetes is actually affected by the baby’s gender. Dr. Baiju Shah, one of the authors of the study, said that a “male fetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female fetus does.” In the study, researchers collected data from insurance records on about 643,000 women who had their first child between April 2000 and March 2010. Although the risk of developing gestational diabetes is greater with a boy, the study also showed that mothers with gestational diabetes carrying a girl had an increased risk of type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs as a result of combined underlying metabolic abnormalities that the mother has plus the metabolic changes that happen during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes generally develops during the 24th week of pregnancy, according to the Amercian Diabetes Association. As many as 9.2% of mothers develop gestational diabetes, and the condition develops when a mother’s body is unable to create and use all the insulin needed for pregnancy. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can be dangerous to the baby, increasing their risk of conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and breathing problems. By working with a doctor to develop a treatment plan, mothers with gestational diabetes can greatly improve their health and the health of the baby.

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Top 5 Worst Cities for Spring Allergies

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  
Over 45 million Americans have seasonal nasal allergies.

Over 45 million Americans have seasonal nasal allergies.

During the spring and fall, many of us (over 45 million!) are no stranger to the struggle with seasonal allergies. This biannual battle is even harder for those of us in southern states. The following cities are the top five most challenging places to live with spring allergies, according to a 2015 report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA):

  1. Jackson, MS
  2. Louisville, KY
  3. Oklahoma City, OK
  4. Memphis, TN
  5. Knoxville, TN

Each year, the AAFA analyzes data on pollen scores and allergy medication use for the annual Allergy Capitals report. This report identifies the 100 most challenging places to live with spring allergies in the U.S., and is designed as an educational resource to help allergy sufferers better understand their symptoms and make more informed decisions about allergy treatments.

“Even though it seems like you can get all the answers at the drug store, you really can’t manage allergies alone, you need to work with a doctor. Allergy sufferers who wish to avoid allergy misery need to know their allergic triggers by visiting an allergist and having the proper testing done,” says Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY and an Ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). “This will enable patients to have a specific, proactive treatment plan in place before symptoms hit,” says Bassett.

An allergist can help you determine whether combination therapies, mono-therapies or long-term therapies are best to treat your allergy symptoms. Once you and your allergist determine the best treatment plan, you’re on your way to a more enjoyable spring with less sneezing.


Scientists Identify Gene that could Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  
Researchers have linked a gene mutation to reduced risk of diabetes.

Researchers have linked a gene mutation to reduced risk of diabetes.

The media often focuses on the rising risk of type 2 diabetes on a regular basis, and the importance of diet and exercise as ways to prevent against the disease. A new study took a different route in investigating the causes of type 2 diabetes by looking at genetic factors.

Researchers compared the genes of 81,000 individuals without type 2 diabetes and compared their genetic information to individuals with type 2 diabetes. The study found that individuals with a mutation in the gene for the glucagon-like peptide-2 receptor (GLP1R) are 14% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The gene mutation is also linked to lower fasting glucose levels, which could also be a contributing factor in reducing the risk of diabetes for individuals with the gene mutation. For the rest of us, it’s still important to focus on the three pillars of health – sleep, diet and exercise – as the best way to prevent against type 2 diabetes.


Marijuana Allergies on the Rise

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment   ,
Marijuana smoke can agitate asthma symptoms, and cause conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis.

Marijuana smoke can agitate asthma symptoms, and cause conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis.

Allergists have noticed a rise in the number of people reacting to an allergy to marijuana as the use of marijuana becomes legal in more states. Marijuana smoke can agitate asthma symptoms, and cause conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis. Symptoms from a reaction to smoke inhalation can include inflammation of the eyes, coughing and wheezing, sneezing, nasal congestion, and even anaphylaxis. Pollen from cannabis can also trigger allergies; the pollen usually spreads later in the summer into the fall and can travel miles from the plant.

Not many cases of allergies to marijuana have historically been reported, probably since its use was largely illegal. Cases of patients with marijuana allergies are still rare, but allergists have noticed an increase in the number of patients exhibiting marijuana allergies. However, testing for the allergy can be difficult, depending on where you live. In Texas, for example, where marijuana is illegal, allergist Dr. David Engler was denied a request for a small sample of cannabis extract he needed for an allergy test for a patient with a potential marijuana allergy. In this case, Dr. Engler investigated the patient’s historical reaction to marijuana exposure to determine that she did have a marijuana allergy. Getting treatment coverage is also problematic since insurance companies don’t recognize marijuana allergies. If legalization of marijuana spreads to more states, we may see an even greater increase in cases of patients having marijuana allergies, but that will hopefully make it easier for allergists to test for it.

 

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Childhood Trauma Linked to Increased Risk of Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment  
A new study shows that childhood trauma is linked to an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

A new study shows that childhood trauma is linked to an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of type 1 diabetes, but a new study shows that childhood trauma is linked to an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Researchers polled over 10,000 Swedish families and discovered that children who had experienced a trauma were nearly three times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. Scientists questioned families about the occurrence of childhood stressors like divorce, illness or a death in the family. Researchers questioned families in southeast Sweden with children born between October 1997 and September 1999.

Dr. Johnny Ludvigsson, coauthor of the study, said that he’s not surprised by the results because of the “connections between the brain and immune system.” Doctors believe type 1 diabetes could be caused by genetics or environmental factors, like exposure to a virus. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system starts destroying insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. After many islet cells are destroys, the body produces little to no insulin.

Although this study shows a link between a stressful childhood event and an increased risk of type 1 diabetes, it doesn’t prove that those events cause type 1 diabetes. Dr. David Marrero, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, says that although you can’t say a childhood trauma was the direct result of your child developing diabetes, it’s worth making an effort to avoid exposing children to high stress events. Encouraging children to eat right and exercise frequently is also an important step in preventing type 2 diabetes.

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Popular Nasal Sprays Now Available Over-the-Counter

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma Leave a comment  
Nasal sprays maximize allergy relief since the medicine is delivered directly to the nasal passage.

Nasal sprays maximize allergy relief since the medicine is delivered directly to the nasal passage.

Many asthma and allergy sufferers, especially those with hay fever, have been happy to learn that Flonase® Allergy Relief, a corticosteroid nasal spray, is now available over-the-counter (OTC). Nasal sprays maximize allergy relief since the medicine is delivered directly to the nasal passage instead of through the blood stream, which is how allergy pills deliver medicine. They also won’t make you sleepy, which can be a common setback to taking allergy pills.

With any medication, nasal sprays do have side effects, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which allergy medication will work best for you. If you use a nasal spray, talk to your pharmacist about proper care – you may need to periodically clean the applicator, for example. When using a nasal spray, spray away from your septum (the tissue at the center of your nose) to avoid irritation or damage to the sensitive nasal tissue.

Saline nasal sprays can also offer allergy relief by moisturizing dry nasal passages and reducing inflammation of mucous membranes. This natural nasal spray option can clear mucus obstructing your nasal passage, and if used long-term, can decrease postnasal drip and reduce bacteria in your nose. Saline nasal sprays come in a variety of forms, from the Neti pot to squirt bottles to battery-powered sprays. Talk to your doctor about whether or not a saline nasal spray will sufficiently provide you with allergy relief, or if you should consider a corticosteroid nasal spray like Flonase or Nasacort® Allergy 24 HR.

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All About Asthma Month

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  
This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is “You can control your asthma.”

This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is “You can control your asthma.”

Every May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unites organizations across the U.S. in raising asthma awareness, working to get asthma under control, and improving asthmatics’ quality of life. Over 300 million people worldwide have asthma, and 15 million die each year from asthma-related complications or early death, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Asthma Month also reminds us to be aware of common asthma triggers and to be conscientious of how our behavior can affect asthmatics. Tobacco smoke is a well-known trigger, but irritants like strong perfumes and cleaning chemicals can even trigger an asthma attack. NIH-supported scientists are researching and developing a better understanding of how asthma is affected by exposure to allergens (asthma triggers), pollution and microbes. This type of research will help asthmatics better understand which triggers affect them, and how to improve their asthma management plans.

Many communities are also hosting Asthma Month events, like World Asthma Day and Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week. This year’s theme for World Asthma Day is “You can control your asthma,” and organizations are participating in the event by hosting Twitter chats with doctors, promoting educational materials about asthma triggers and management plans, and providing tools to share information about asthma.

Interested in local Asthma Month information and activities? Check out the North Carolina Asthma Program for resources about asthma triggers in residential environments, information for coaches about how asthma affects athletic performance, and more.

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This Musician Can Soothe Your Asthma Blues

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment  
Al Keith sings about important components of an asthma management plan

Al Keith sings about important components of an asthma management plan

Al Keith doesn’t want you down and out with the “asthma blues.” In fact, he’s so concerned about respiratory health, he produced a jazz and blues CD called “Asthma Blues” to educate asthmatics, their families and caregivers about how to have a successful asthma management plan. Al is a respiratory therapist based out of Chicago who understands that music is a powerful educational tool. He created CTK Clinical Consultants, LLC in 2002 as a way to build an “educational bridge between patients and physicians.”

Al’s songs were written based on the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines. He sings about important components of an asthma management plan like how to identify asthma triggers, how to use a peak flow meter, and why it’s important to have a written asthma action plan. You can download Al’s album on iTunes, or on the Asthma Blues website, and enjoy songs like “Breathin’ Right,” Get Your Peak Flow On,” and “You Need an Action Plan.”

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More Cases of Diabetes Diagnosed Since Expansion of Medicaid Program

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

diabetes checkMedicaid access expanded in 26 states in January 2014 and diagnosed cases of diabetes have also increased significantly in those states. Diagnosed diabetes cases among Medicaid recipients grew 23% in the states that increased their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. In the 24 states that didn’t expand Medicaid programs, the increase was only 0.4%.

Early detection of diabetes decreases the risk of complications related to the condition; undiagnosed diabetes can result in major medical problems like kidney failure, stroke, heart disease, blindness, and leg and feet amputations. The financial cost of diabetes is also high; total medical costs and the price of lost work and wages amounted to $245 billion in 2014, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Quest Diagnostics funded the research on the increase of diabetes cases related to Medicaid expansion, and found a greater uptick in diagnoses among men and older individuals aged 50 to 64.

At least one in three people will develop diabetes, according to the CDC. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can develop at any age, but unlike type 1, most cases of type 2 can be prevented. Combining medication with proper diet and exercise can make a big difference in the success of diabetes management plans. For more information on how to manage your diabetes, check out this infographic, “A Snapshot: Diabetes in the United States” by the CDC.


The Striking Truth about Thunderstorm Asthma

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

thunderstormThunder doesn’t just signal that lightning is coming—it can also trigger asthma attacks. We usually think the rain will help our allergies by washing away pollen, but on rare occasions, thunderstorms can actually make allergies worse. During thunderstorms, the low barometric pressure can stir up mold and pollen that can be an irritant to individuals with allergies and asthma. Some researchers believe the thunderstorm’s electrical charge can make mold and pollen particles more likely to stick to the lungs, and asthma-related emergency room visits actually increase during and after some thunderstorms.

Researchers have had a difficult time fully understanding thunderstorm asthma since it is a rare, localized occurrence. Thunderstorms generally don’t last very long, so it can be hard to determine if an asthma attack was caused by the thunderstorm or something else. Plus, different asthma sufferers have different sensitivities, so not everyone with asthma is at risk of experiencing a thunderstorm-related asthma attack. However, researchers believe the increase in ER visits due to thunderstorm asthma could be because individuals with mild asthma might not have a rescue inhaler on hand. Scientists are concerned that cases of thunderstorm asthma could increase due to climate change that would increase the amount of pollen in the air and lead to stronger thunderstorms. If you have asthma, make sure you have rescue inhalers on hand in case you are susceptible to thunderstorm asthma.

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Temporary Tattoo Painlessly Tests Blood Sugar

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes 3 Comments
This temporary tattoo lasts a day and painlessly tests blood sugar levels.

This temporary tattoo lasts a day and painlessly tests blood sugar levels.

Tattoos aren’t just a fashion statement anymore—nanoengineers have developed a temporary tattoo that can test blood sugar levels. This technology is promising for diabetics since their current option for testing blood sugar levels is by taking fingertip pricks several times a day. Using a temporary tattoo instead would be a much more comfortable and convenient way to test blood sugar levels.

Amay Bandodkar, graduate student and colleagues in Professor Joseph Wang’s laboratory at the NanoEngineering Department and Center for Wearable Sensors at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, developed the sensors in the temporary tattoo. The sensors emit a mild electrical current that measures glucose levels. The electrodes are printed on tattoo paper that gives the user a painless way to test their blood sugar. The tattoos last a day and only cost a few cents.

A closer look at the temporary tattoo that measures glucose levels.

A closer look at the temporary tattoo that measures glucose levels.

The tattoo was tested on seven healthy male patients that do not have diabetes. Although the tattoo recorded a change in their glucose levels, scientists had to remove the tattoo in order to collect data because it doesn’t currently provide the patient with a way to read or monitor their own glucose level. In the future, the tattoos will connect with Bluetooth so data collected by the tattoo can be transmitted to the patient’s doctor or stored in the cloud. The technology used in the tattoo could eventually be used for other medical purposes, like delivering medicine or identifying important metabolites.

 

 

 

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Photo credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego


Your Job Could Be Bad for Your Lungs

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  
Some common occupations increase your risk of developing respiratory illnesses.

Some common occupations increase your risk of developing respiratory illnesses.

Some jobs, like construction and manufacturing, put workers at a greater risk of experiencing a serious accident. However, there are many other professions that pose a less obvious threat. Some common occupations can actually put your lungs at risk for conditions like asthma, fibrosis, cancer, COPD and infections.

Jobs like construction and manufacturing are often thought of as dangerous because of the risk of equipment-related accidents. However, these jobs also expose workers to asbestos, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust from demolitions, or to the risk of inhaling microscopic fibers and metals. These risk factors can contribute to conditions like asthma, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (another type of cancer). Firefighters can also be exposed to harmful building materials, but can reduce their risk of exposure by using a “self-contained breathing apparatus” (SCBA).

Housekeepers are regularly exposed to cleaning chemicals, which can also emit VOCs. These VOCs can cause allergic reactions and lead to long-lasting breathing problems. While cleaning, housekeepers can run fans and open windows in an effort to improve ventilation in the area. Cleaning with vinegar, baking soda and water are effective alternatives to commercial cleaners, and are less irritating to the lungs.

Hair stylists are also regularly exposed to chemicals, but from hair-coloring and straightening products instead of from cleaners. Hair-coloring products can cause asthma, and hair-straightening products contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen. Health care workers with a sensitivity to latex can experience asthma-like symptoms, but latex-free synthetic gloves can be an effective alternative.

For workers with work conditions that can damage their lungs, it’s important to wear protective gear like masks and special breathing apparatuses. Working in well ventilated areas can also make a positive difference. Managers and employees should make an effort to understand job-related health risks, and utilize equipment that protects them from harmful chemicals and dust.

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Nascar Driver Teams Up With American Diabetes Association

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  
Nascar driver Ryan Reed didn't let diabetes slow him down.

Nascar driver Ryan Reed didn’t let diabetes slow him down.

Elite athletes have strict fitness routines and carefully calculated diets, and although Nascar drivers are more stationary, they still have to be in top physical condition. Drivers face strong G-forces and have to quickly manually shift so it’s important that they regularly do intensive cardiovascular, upper body, core and leg exercises. A Nascar driver’s overall health makes a big difference on their success on the track, but driver Ryan Reed recently faced a health challenge that threatened to end his Nascar career.

Ryan Reed started racing at a young age and won the Kid’s Kart Track Championship at only four-years old. In 2010, he was named Rookie of the Year in the Super Late Model Division at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, but in 2011 he received news that his career may already be over. Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and told he could no longer race. By working with doctors, his personal trainer, and support systems like his pit crew, Reed has been able to continue driving and also successfully manage his diabetes. He later founded Ryan’s Mission, a non-profit focused on encouraging diabetics and raising awareness about diabetes.

Reed’s story exemplifies how important it is for diabetics to have a strong treatment management plan for their condition. He saw his condition as an opportunity instead of an obstacle; Reed is now the driver of the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang. How does your story compare to Reed’s? Did you overcome an obstacle by implementing a better diabetes management plan? Share your story in our comment section!

 


Indoor Allergies Could Increase Risk of Childhood Asthma

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

asthma triggersParents know that the safety and health of their children will have an impact on their children’s development and health as an adult. Research has shown us that childhood obesity, for example, could be linked to an increased risk of diabetes; heart attacks; cancers; and in the immediate term, it could negatively affect academic performance. A new study revealed another children’s health risk parents should keep in mind, and it involves the relationship between childhood allergies in toddlers and preschoolers and the development of asthma later in childhood.

Researchers studied about 500 children from Cincinnati at ages 1, 2, 3 and 4, and administered skin prick allergy tests for common indoor allergies to cats, dogs, cockroaches and dust mites. Children in the study were tested for asthma at age 7, and researchers found that those with a year-to-year positive test for cat and dust mite allergies and an increased risk of having asthma. Although there’s a link between these specific allergens and an increased risk of developing asthma, more research is needed to determine if these allergens cause asthma since there are other factors that be at play.

Curious about other childhood conditions that increase the risk of asthma development? Check out our post on the link between childhood eczema and asthma.

 

 


Hand Washing Dishes Could Reduce Asthma Risk for Children

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ, Children's Health Leave a comment  

dishesDishwashers are not only a wonderful timesaving luxury, but they also give us the reassurance that our dishes are exceptionally clean. A new study revealed that there could be a downside to dishwashers making dishes “too clean”; the study found that hand washing dishes instead could lower your children’s risk of developing allergic conditions like asthma or eczema.

Researchers at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Sweden quizzed parents of approximately 1,000 Swedish children, all 7 or 8 years old, about the children’s history of asthma, eczema and seasonal allergies. 12% of the families in the study hand washed dishes, and the children in those families had nearly half the risk of developing allergic conditions in comparison to children in families that used a dishwasher.

Hand washing dishes exposes children to more bacteria, which could actually be beneficial in strengthening their immune system, and could be the reason why they have a reduced risk of developing an allergic condition.


Spring Cleaning Without the Sneezing

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

spring cleaningQuite a few cultures practice spring cleaning—the Chinese, for example, clean their homes to get ready for the new year. They clean as a way to rid the home of bad luck and invite good fortune in the coming year. In the past, families of many cultures kept their homes tightly sealed from the elements, but heating their homes with coal, oil and wood made dwellings dingy by the time spring rolled around. When spring finally sprung, families hauled everything out of the house to give furniture and clothes a thorough cleaning. Spring cleaning is a refreshing way to give old man winter the boot, and welcome warmer weather with a clean home.

If you have asthma, just the thought of stirring up dust, pet dander, and mold while spring cleaning is enough to make you sneeze. However, you can take a few precautions to prevent a flare up while cleaning.

  • If your asthma management plan has been successful, you have a better chance of avoiding an asthma attack while cleaning. If cleaning in the past has irritated your asthma, keep rescue inhalers on hand.
  • Wear a mask while cleaning to shield your nose from cleaning product chemicals. Also consider using more natural products like baking soda and vinegar, which will fight mold without irritating your lungs.
  • Start by cleaning the bedroom since that’s where we spend a lot of time. Wash bedding on the hot cycle; wipe down surfaces with soapy water; and dust items like lamps, fans and blinds.
  • Try to schedule your cleaning early enough in the day so you can spend a few hours out of the house afterward. That will give your lungs a break while dust settles and odors from cleaning products dissipates.

 

Are you on an asthma treatment plan, but need a refresher on how to get the most out of your medicine? Check out our asthma resources page for equipment instructions, educational videos, and other asthma resources.


An Asthma Diagnosis Didn’t Stop These Top Athletes

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

swimmersIt’s easy to put famous athletes on a pedestal—their toned physiques and ability to obliterate fitness boundaries makes them seem superhuman. We also hear stories about famous athletes that overcame physical challenges like the loss of a limb, a chronic illness, or even partial loss of sight. A new study’s results should be encouraging for asthmatics worried about their ability to exercise—John Dickinson from Kent University discovered that 70% of 33 swimmers on the British Swimming Squad have some type of asthma. He also found that 30% of the cyclists from Team Sky have asthma.

A number of well-known American athletes have also had successful careers despite having asthma. Former NFL football player Jerome Bettis was diagnosed with asthma at age 15 and worried that diagnosis would end his athletic career. However, he stuck with his asthma treatment plan and went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and win a Super Bowl championship. Olympic swimmer and six-time gold medalist Amy Van Dyken is another example of an athlete with a successful career despite an asthma diagnosis. Dyken was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child and her doctors recommended participation in sports as a way to make her lungs stronger and prevent against future asthma attacks.

The success stories of these athletes is an inspiration to asthmatics that are concerned that their condition will be a roadblock to an active lifestyle. Their stories also relay the importance of working with your doctor to develop an effective asthma treatment plan. If you need help adjusting to new equipment, check out our asthma instructional videos to enhance your treatment plan.


NBA Hall of Famer Launches Diabetes Dream Team

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

wilkinsMarch Madness will be heating up soon, sparking an annual heated rivalry among fans and players alike. One former basketball player has created his own “team” in the hopes of unifying a diverse group with a common goal. NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins launched a Diabetes Dream Team in 2014, and the Team’s goal is to help adults with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to manage the condition. Dominique’s Diabetes Dream Team stresses three important tools to a successful diabetes management plan: diet, exercise and proper medication. Dominique’s own team is comprised of his physicians, a diabetes educator, a nutritionist and a fitness expert, who together offer him guidance on daily diabetes management.

Wlikins said he realized that small changes can make a big impact in treating his diabetes, and he wants to encourage others to “think differently about managing their diabetes.” Diabetics can download Dominique’s “Diabetes Coaches’ Clipboard” for tips on diabetes management from Dominique and his team of experts.

Are you looking for additional support and ideas in how to better manage your diabetes? Download our free diabetes management resources and join our free diabetes newsletter!

 

 


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