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Friday, January 30, 2015

Real risk of inheriting asthma

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There's new research showing that the chance that you can inherit asthma from your mom or dad is much smaller than what people used to think.

Hmmm......I'm not sure if I believe that. 

I had always read research that said if you have one or both parents who have asthma, its' more likely that you will develop asthma. 

"Blame Mom or Dad or both for your asthma. Your inherited genetic makeup predisposes you to having asthma. In fact, it's thought that three-fifths of all asthma cases are hereditary. According to a CDC report, if a person has a parent with asthma, he or she is three to six times more likely to develop asthma than someone who does not have a parent with asthma."

"The exact cause of asthma isn't known. Researchers think some genetic and environmental factors interact to cause asthma, most often early in life. These factors include:
  • An inherited tendency to develop allergies, called atopy (AT-o-pe)
  • Parents who have asthma
  • Certain respiratory infections during childhood
  • Contact with some airborne allergens or exposure to some viral infections in infancy or in early childhood when the immune system is developing
If asthma or atopy runs in your family, exposure to irritants (for example, tobacco smoke) may make your airways more reactive to substances in the air.
Some factors may be more likely to cause asthma in some people than in others. Researchers continue to explore what causes asthma."

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center studied 11,00 people and found that there were 3 genes that were linked to asthma. Those genes were only found in 5% of the people. So, they say that the chances that you can inherit asthma from your mom or dad are small.

Lucky me! And my 3 kids - who all inherited their asthma from me :(

In our family, hubby and I both have parents that have asthma, as well as brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. It's everywhere!! :(
So, in our case it seems like we may carry the 3 defective genes. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Allergies year round?

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Do you ever feel like this? Do you ever panic when your tissue box is empty?

In our family, Hubby and I and all three kids have allergies -to everything. Trees, flowers, bushes, grass, cats, dogs, horses, food. Sigh. It's depressing some times.......

Do you have allergies year round?

I found a story from Dayton Daily News. They interviewed several doctors and wrote about how year-round allergies could actually be caused by mold. Wow!

Daughter Kitty sneezes all the time. Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall....doesn't matter when. Sometimes, we'll count her sneezes, and it will be over 20 times in a row!

So I was interested to read this quote from the article:

"Allergy reactions such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes that extend beyond the traditional spring and fall allergy seasons may be a strong signal that the source is mold. Mold – a fungus that thrives in warm, damp and humid environments – can cause persistent allergy issues because it can grow any time throughout the year and exist both outside and inside the home."

The article says there are a lot of different kinds of mold, and just because you are allergic to one  type of mold doesn't mean you will be allergic to all types of mold. They suggest being tested by a doctor to see if you are allergic to mold. 

 It makes me wonder if there could be mold in my house. I clean the bathrooms and both kitchens very carefully. But is there something I am missing?

Is there something behind the walls that I can't see? I have a moisture meter (from when our basement flooded last year.) It has two prongs that you use to touch walls, floors, etc and it will tell you if there is moisture there that you can't see.

You can also use thermal imaging cameras. They are a little pricey, so I wouldn't buy one. I may have to hire a home inspector to see if they can bring their equipment. 

 The Dayton Daily News article lists 10 tips from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) you can do to keep reduce the chance of mold in your home.
Look them over and see if there are some things you can do to protect your home. 

Meanwhile, I will be adding Puffs Tissue with Lotion to my grocery store list.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Test your kid's pee to figure out medication dose??!!

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Wow. Scientist come up with some really amazing ideas. The latest one I read about was testing the urine (pee) of kids with asthma. 

An Anglo-Saxon team found that by testing urine, they could find inflammation in the bodies of kids with asthma. Inflammation (swelling) is what causes problems with asthma. If your asthma isn't treated properly, you can have swelling in your lungs that you can't see or feel.

They also found one particular sign that could predict an asthma attack.

The researchers (from Jagiellion University Medical School in Krakow and Queen Mary University in London) tested the urine of kids with asthma on days they didn't have symptoms. They also tested it on days they were having asthma symptoms. They also compared that with the urine of kids who DON'T have asthma.

"Dr. Rossa Brugha, co-author of the report and clinical research fellow at Queen Mary University of London hospital, says in a statement: "The key factor in treating children with asthma is to tailor their medicine accurately, ensuring the right amount of anti-inflammatory medication is being prescribed."

 This helps parents and doctors make sure kids are on the right dose of asthma medicine. Since there isn't a one-size-fits-all when it comes to asthma, this helps doctors know if the kids are getting the right amount of medicine. This will help them better control their asthma.  Which is important if you want to make sure your kids aren't missing school/soccer games/piano concerts, etc because their asthma is causing problems. 

This should help kids live the best life possible with asthma.

Cool stuff! Who knew they could tell so much be testing kid's pee?!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Asthma and colds

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One of the frustrating things about having asthma, is that a cold to most people is just that - an annoying cold. For those of us with asthma, it's ALWAYS much worse.

I saw a story on Fox25 (Oklahoma City) that explains why. 
Here's a quote from Dr. Stanley Fineman, an asthma and allergy expert: 
"Because that asthmatic has airways that are very hyper-sensitive, they're already inflamed, so the virus does more damage in the asthmatic patients than they would do in somebody who doesn't have asthma,"
When you have asthma, your airways are very sensitive and it doesn't take much to push them over the edge. For myself and my three kids with asthma, a cold will turn into bronchitis or pneumonia (and another trip to be admitted to the hospital.) 

I picked up a cold from someone at work, but this time, it hit me a little different. Usually when I get a cold, I get the nasty cough  - the kind of cough where you are coughing so hard that you gag and throw up. Last year, I either pulled a muscle by my rib or broke a rib from coughing. It was soooo painful!!!

This year's cold almost shut my lungs down. I woke up one morning and was weak I could hardly breathe. Just changing out of my bathrobe left me out of breath.

I managed to drive myself to Asthma Doc's office (don't ask me how.....)

I could only speak in a whisper when I got there, I didn't have enough air in my lungs to talk. He didn't hear any bronchitis or pneumonia in my lungs , but I told him I can't seem to get any air in. 

He listened again closely and said I wasn't moving much air at all. Scary!! That same thing had put my kids in the hospital numerous times over the years. He prescribed a steroid to open up my lungs. (I am so weak that I am using the nebulizer for my rescue medication. I can't breathe in deep enough to use my inhaler. When I am that sick, it's easier to just lay there and breathe in the mist from the nebulizer.)   

 I staggered back home from the pharmacy and spent the next 3 days on the couch. There's probably still an indention in the couch where I laid!

If you are sick, PLEASE stay home from work!!!!! Especially if you have coworkers who have asthma. Remember, it may be an annoying cold to you, but to someone with asthma, a cold can be VERY dangerous and put them in the hospital!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

NFL player makes smart choices about asthma

Well, it's probably not the best screen shot of all time, but I'm not very tech savvy. It's from an article in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel about Green Bay Packer's running back Eddie Lacey. The story about Eddie talks about how he can still play NFL football with asthma. 

One of his asthma triggers is the cold weather (I know how you feel Eddie!!) I have a hard time breathing out in the cold.We are in the middle of winter here, and we had a cold snap a few weeks ago. The kind of cold where I can only breathe in once and my chest tightens up and I start coughing. (The daytime high was around 16 degrees Fahrenheit, at night it dropped down to 2 degrees.)

People living in Wisconsin are used to cold weather. In fact, Hubby met a new colleague who had spent a couple years in grad school in Wisconsin. He said it was the only place he lived where his eye lids froze shut. Yikes!

So, what do you do if you have asthma and cold is one of your triggers? Well, Eddie did the smart thing and told his running back coach that he couldn't breathe. They sent another running back into the game while Eddie waited for his inhaler to work. 

I'm so impressed by that, because a lot of athletes DON'T want to be taken out of the game, and they will just keep playing through it. That's dangerous to do. Did you know that 9 people die in the U.S. EVERY DAY from asthma? 

In fact, the website for Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America shows:

Every day in America:
  • 44,000 people have an asthma attack.
  • 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.
  • 27,000 adults miss work due to asthma.
  • 4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
  • 1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
  • 9 people die from asthma.

Is it worth risking your life to play in a football game? I think not. Here's what Eddie said in the article:

"You know your body is good enough to go out and play," said Lacy. "But ... you just can't breathe. And it's a breathing thing. It's not something you want to go out and risk...risk something bad happening. There's nothing I can do about it. It's a medical condition. I take my inhaler, I do everything I'm supposed to do. When it happens, it happens."

Thank you Eddie for not only being incredibly talented, but smart! That guy knows how to manage his asthma and take care of himself. I think he is a great role model for younger kids.

Way to go Eddie!! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Helping someone who has a child in the hospital

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It's VERY difficult having a child in the hospital. I should know - my two youngest kids were hospitalized 14 separate times (two of those were in ICU.) All three of my kids have asthma, and they would end up in the hospital with pneumonia, RSV, or from breathing smoke from a forest fire.

It can really rip your world apart. 

Everyone's life is going on, and you are in the hospital with a VERY sick kid. It's stressful and scary! Sometimes you look out the window and are jealous of the other people driving down the road without a care in the world. Did I mention how scary it can be?

And you are sitting next to a very sick child. Hooked up to oxygen, an IV, and sometimes a heart monitor too.You hear the beeping of the machines, have endless visits from nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and nurse's assistants. You can set your watch by the respiratory therapist coming in to give your child a breathing treatment every 4 hours (around the clock.)  If they were really bad, it would be every 2 hours.

You can't sleep with all of the medical personnel dropping by the room, the endless beeping of the machines, and the stress of the situation. 

Then you have other kids at home. So you worry about that - who is taking care of them? In our case, Hubby and I would take turns at the hospital, never leaving our child's side. The other parent would go home to shower and change and spend time with the other kids.

Friends and family would ask how they would help. Tell them! Don't be shy.

Ask for someone to drive your carpool shift for school aged kids. Have someone take your garbage can out to the curb. Let your friends come help with laundry.  Let people shovel snow/rake leaves/mow your lawn (depending on the season.)

Have someone help with the other kids. They are scared too. It's the perfect time for friends and family to spoil them with mini golf, going to the movies, going out to eat, riding bikes, skiing, etc. Doing something - anything - to help ease their stress. 

If you have a friend who has a child in the hospital, drop off a goodie bag for her. When someone would drop off a goodie bag for me, it gave me a tiny moment of joy. Knowing that I have friends that cared enough for me to drive to the store and load up on mini bags of crackers, fruit snacks, candy and gum. (I never felt like eating, but would snack on crackers, cheese, fruit, etc.) One friend even brought a batch of fresh (and still warm) chocolate chip cookies because I was craving them. (And it's not an easy to drive to the hospital, go through security and come up to our hospital room.)

They would also add in Dr. Pepper and chocolate (chocolate makes everything better, right?!) and a few magazines to thumb through.

I have been lucky enough to have friends drop goodie bags off to me over the years. 

It's my turn now. 

I have a Wonderful Friend who has a daughter in the hospital. It's been a 
ROUGH 2 weeks for their family. My heart hurts for them. You have good and bad days in the hospital. Sometimes it's two steps forward and one step back. It can be really discouraging.

I felt that I needed to bring a goodie bag for her.  What joy I had in packing her favorite treats, caffeine,  magazines and hand sanitizer and driving up to the hospital.

It's amazing how healing a goodie bag and a good strong hug from a friend can be.