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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall allergies........argh!

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Does this look familiar? Itchy, watery eyes?

Some people think the only time they have allergies is in the spring when the flowers are blooming. WRONG! Many people can also have fall allergies.

My kids are complaining about itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and a throat that won't stop itching.

Hellllllooooooo Ragweed! 

Fox 59 in Indianapolis had a story on the news this week about fall allergies. They said one ragweed plant can produce up to 1 billion grains of pollen each year. Yuck!! 

Mold is also common in the fall. You know how your kids love to rake leaves into a pile and jump in? Better be careful - the leaves are full of mold. 

The Fox 59 story has several helpful things you can do:

"The first and most critical step to controlling allergies is to avoid triggers.
  • Avoiding ragweed is similar to avoiding Spring pollen. Minimize time outdoors, keep windows shut during the day, and check ragweed pollen counts.
  • Avoiding mold is a little different. Mold grows in moist areas. Therefore, it just loves piles of fallen leaves.If your children are playing in the leaves, make sure to wash them and their clothes as soon as they enter your home. If your child is the allergy sufferer, keep them out of the leaves. If you have a pet that spends time outdoors, it is important to wash them when they reenter the house as well. Otherwise, they will be shaking mold spores all over your home."

I'm not saying you can't have any fun in the fall - but know what brings on your allergy symptoms. Ragweed? Mold? And what is the best way to treat allergies? Everyone is different, but there are a lot of over the counter allergy medicines available - as well as nose sprays that help with allergies.

Talk to your doc to see what is right for you. For our family, we use a combination - over the counter allergy medicine and nose sprays (and this is after my kids have all completed 5 years worth of allergy shots.....) And they STILL suffer from allergies.

Sigh. I hate allergies and I hate the asthma attacks they trigger!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wildfires and asthma

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Many of you who read my blog know that I am VERY nervous when it comes to forest fires. Son #2 ended up in ICU and almost died several years ago when we had a fire here. The whole valley filled with smoke (and smoke and asthma are NOT a good mix!)

It's so scary to read about what is happening to people with asthma in California. Did you know they  had to close schools in Central California?! (I know that's every kid's dream - that school is closed - but I'm not sure if that means they are stuck in their house of if they can take off to the beach.)

The article says, "Record drought in the Western US that has contributed to an explosive wildfire season is sending droves of wheezing, coughing patients to physicians and asthma clinics."
No wonder people with asthma are having a hard time! In the article, they list all of the pollutants in the smoke (it's a long list and I can't pronounce half of the list). 

And with no rain in sight, there's nothing to help with the fires. Dr. Vipul Jain, is a University of California San Francisco pulmonologist. He says that
"Patients feel it coming. Typically patients with COPD and asthma. They get coughing spasms because their lungs are trying to expel the irritants."

He tells them to stay indoors, use their inhalers, and keep the windows closed at night.

Another doctor from Bakersfield, Dr. Thu Yein, is also a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at San Joaquin Community Hospital. He says he sees patients too from forest fires. 

"It's usually within 3 weeks of a forest fire. It happens every year."   
I feel sorry for all of the people in California that have asthma. I know how hard it is to try to breathe when the valley is filled with smoke. When the fires first started in California, the smoke covered our state (2 states away!) We had to keep our windows closed for a week, turn the air cleaners on full speed, and stay inside. I can't imagine being stuck in that smoke week after week.

And how do the fire fighters stand being out in that thick smoke?

All I can say is that I am keeping my fingers crossed for rain for California! Just not too much - because then they would have flash floods.......
Record drought in the Western US that has contributed to an explosive wildfire season is sending droves of wheezing, coughing patients to physicians and asthma clinics. - See more at:
Record drought in the Western US that has contributed to an explosive wildfire season is sending droves of wheezing, coughing patients to physicians and asthma clinics. - See more at:
Record drought in the Western US that has contributed to an explosive wildfire season is sending droves of wheezing, coughing patients to physicians and asthma clinics. - See more at:


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Peanut butter for babies

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Some of you may have already read about the new study that showed that feeding babies peanut products early may prevent an allergy to peanuts later in life.


"The medically supervised study tracked 640 babies with severe eczema, egg allergy or both. Half ate a peanut product at least three times a week for five years. Half avoided peanut products. Infants who were fed peanut products were at a much lower risk of having a peanut allergy at the end of the study.

“The high-risk infants in this study were tested to be sure they were not already allergic to peanut,” said Scott Sicherer, M.D., FAAP, an AAP expert in pediatric allergy and immunology. “At age 5 years, only 3% of the infants randomized to eat peanut had peanut allergy compared to 17% among those avoiding it.”
In the article, they remind parents to talk to your doctor first. They can help you find the best way to introduce peanut products to your child. Notice that they tested children first to make sure they were NOT allergic to peanuts before they fed them any peanut products. 

I would NOT try this at home on your own. This is something that needs to be done with a doctor. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics article lists the possible symptoms of a food allergy:

"Signs of a food allergy may include rash, swelling, vomiting and trouble breathing, typically within minutes to an hour of consuming food. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately." 

It's something that I never want to see again as long as I live. It can be deadly. I am lucky that I caught it quickly and Asthma Nurse was able to save my son's life.

The article also says to be careful and not give peanuts or pieces of peanuts to kids under the age of 4, because they could choke on them. Yikes! 

This is great research. If children in the study were able to to reduce the chance that they were would be allergic to peanuts, it would be worth checking into. Especially since it was carefully supervised by doctors. Talk to your doctor about it - I would NEVER try it on my own.

Food allergies are a pain. Son #2 has a tree nut allergy. I have a seafood allergy. We have to carry an Epi Pen everywhere we go and be VERY careful about any food that we eat. 

What a great scientific breakthrough to figure out how to decrease the chance that kids may be allergic to peanuts. I love these scientists with their smart brains! 



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Virtual doctor visits

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I can't keep up with technology. Good thing I have two adult sons and one teenager who can help me with my new things (did you know you can use your thumbprint to access your iphone instead of trying to type in a 4 digit code every time?! Thanks to daughter Kitty for showing me that and setting up my phone. I LOVE IT!!!!)

Did you also know that in some states, if your child has Medicaid, they can see a doctor virtually from school? You don't have to leave work and your child doesn't have to leave school. I just read an article about a school district in Texas. Here's how they explain the program:

"They say adults shouldn’t have to take time off work and kids shouldn’t have to miss school to get routine health care, like when a child has an ear infection or skin rash, because modern technology allows a remote doctor to get high-quality, instantaneous information about patients. An electronic stethoscope allows the doctor to hear a child’s heartbeat, for example, and a digital otoscope offers a look into the child’s ear — all under the physical supervision of a school nurse."

I have never heard of an electronic (or digital) stethoscope until a few months ago. The Washington Post has a great article that explains how they work. Can you image the nurse using the stethoscope to on your child's lungs at school while the doctor listens from his office miles away? They can do the same thing with an otoscope to look in the ear. Welcome to modern technology!

If there's a problem, the doctor can call in a prescription and you can pick it up on your way home from work. Wow!

This would be really helpful for parents who can't leave work (because they don't have sick time). If they have to leave work and take their child to the doctor, they don't get paid. And the child misses school.

Here's how one doctor explains it. 

“Ninety percent of what you would see in a general pediatric clinic, we can handle it by telemedicine,” said Richard Lampe, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center. He said that included sports injuries, strep throat — and among middle and high school students especially, mental illnesses like anxiety and depression."  

This may not work for everyone, but I think it's a good idea for some families. 

What will they think of next?!