Kids and Asthma Twitter Party

With the success of our allergy and asthma Twitter party, we’ve decided that we’re going to host a chat every other Friday throughout May to raise awareness!

This Friday is a topic that is especially important: Children and asthma.

Do you have questions for Dr. A. about asthma and your children? Let us know!

Beating Asthma Chat: A Resounding Success!

Our first Beating Asthma Twitter chat took place last Friday and it was really exciting! We explored asthma and allergies in the spring pollen season and covered everything from peak flows to HEPA filters.

Our featured guests, eVacuumStore and SoundAsthma, brought a lot of valuable information to the table. From the best equipment to keep your home allergen free to what you should take to your asthma appointment, they provided invaluable insight for asthma and allergy sufferers.

And our participants offered some great commentary, as well! Two of our favorite tweets from the evening encourage asthma and allergy sufferers to take care of their lungs!

You can see much of the conversation on Twitter here.

We hope that you’ll join us on May 4th to discuss pediatric asthma. Helping kids tackle their asthma is so important! Do you have any questions you’d like to address during the chat? Let us know!

Beating Asthma App and a Giveaway!

We’re excited to announce that the Beating Asthma iPhone App launched yesterday! The app is designed to empower asthma patients to effectively manage their disease as effectively as they can so they can enjoy life on their own terms. This is especially important as recent studies find that adults are taking potentially deadly risks by not treating their asthma.

With this application you will find a wealth of information to get you started on your journey to “beating” asthma. Discover the simple principles that can help you put asthma in its place and get back to living life, free and easy.

Using the simple Asthma Action Plan, test your peak intake score and monitor asthma symptoms in order to best take care of your asthma. Learn about the Rule of Two, the Asthma Control Test, and much more. Download the app for your iPhone today!

 

A Celebratory Giveaway!

Beating Asthma

To celebrate the launch of the app, we’re giving away a digital copy of the Beating Asthma book! If you’d like to enter, simply send a tweet to @SJApaliski telling us how you’re beating asthma to enter!

All entries must be received by Sunday April 15, 2012. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced Monday at 9am ET!

Nasal Health and Asthma

If you are like many people, acute asthma attacks often begin with nasal symptoms. I have heard this time and time again. People report that developing a runny nose, nasal congestion or post-nasal drip, and then, over the course of days, or even quicker, they develop chest tightness, cough and/ or wheezing. Keeping in mind the chapters on Prevention by Avoidance in Beating Asthma. Seven Simple Principles, we are reminded of the importance of maintaining nasal health in beating asthma.

Avoiding your known triggers, as well as taking your allergy meds as prescribed, are key factors here. Is there anything else you can do? Are there any natural approaches to maintaining a healthy nose?

The answer is yes. In fact it is quite simple. Irrigation of the nose with saline (salt water) daily will help you do this. There are various commercial products out there for this purpose, but the one I recommend for your consideration is Neil Med Sinus Rinse.  I have no financial interest in Neil Med. As with many other physicians, I have found it to be extremely helpful in my patients with chronic rhinitis, otherwise known as postnasal drip (whether allergic or non-allergic). This product uses a squeeze bottle or Neti Pot. It is important to follow the directions carefully. It can be used in adults and children. Watching the instructional videos on their web site are really helpful. Performing nasal irrigation may seem odd at first, but most people appear to easily and quickly adapt to it.

Continuing along the lines of natural products, there are 2 nasal sprays available over the counter, without prescription, which have been shown in scientific studies to provide rapid reduction in nasal symptoms. I am not aware of any studies specifically using these in asthma patients, but they clearly work to reduce nasal problems. They are natural, non-addictive, and work rapidly. Again, I have no financial interest in these products, but after using them myself I can attest to their helpfulness! Be aware, though, that the natural ingredient used is capsaicin, the chemical that causes hot peppers to be hot, so initially you will feels an intense burning sensation in your nose, but that rapidly resolves. The products, Sinus Buster, and Sinol M are available at select pharmacies and online from places such as Amazon. If you would like to see my initial reaction to using Sinus Buster, go to YouTube and search for the Beating Asthma Channel.

If nothing else, it’s good for a quick laugh (seeing a physician taking a medicine they recommend!).

The bottom line? Taking good care of your nose should play a major role in your efforts at Beating Asthma!

If you have any techniques or helpful hints in keeping your nose healthy, please share them with us here!

Be kind to yourself!

Dr. A

Acetaminophen & Asthma: Cause and Effect?

Dr. John T McBride, a pediatric pulmonologist at Akron Children’s Hospital, published an article in Pediatrics late last year reviewing the data concerning the association of asthma and the use of acetaminophen (APAP) in children and adults.

The bottom line is that, yes, there seems to be an association between asthma prevalence and APAP use. I would agree, looking at the evidence.

Given that, what are patients and physicians to do regarding the use of acetaminophen? In Dr. McBride’s opinion, until evidence proves that it is found to be safe, he will recommend avoiding APAP in all children with or at risk for, asthma, and he plans on promoting awareness of this possibility to others.

While I understand his viewpoint, I must respectfully disagree with his approach. Why? Most importantly because epidemiologic studies – which show an association between two things – do not prove that one causes the other.

Dr. McBride states this clearly in his article. I would like to see causation proven in a controlled clinical trial before we make such recommendations to patients. Keep in mind the concept of unintended consequences (all actions may have unintended consequences, good and bad), and try to carefully balance this against the desire to not promote something that may be harmful (i.e. APAP in asthmatics).

I call on Dr. McBride to take things a step further, perhaps by playing a role in performing the necessary clinical studies to prove or disprove his suspicions about APAP, and determine that confounding variables are or are not the reason for the epidemiologic findings.

Having said that, I would agree that the need for anyone to take any medication, including APAP, should be clearly indicated. I suspect that most children who receive APAP are given it for fever control, and this in fact, may not be a strong enough reason. I am not giving APAP use a free pass here. The reasons to use APAP are a story for another day.

In a commentary in Journal Watch on Dr. McBride’s article, Cornelius W. Van Niel, MD summed it up succinctly when he wrote;  “I agree that acetaminophen use is often unnecessary and fueled by fever phobia and that inappropriate dosing can be a problem. However, I would like to see additional experimental studies in children with asthma before I subscribe to acetaminophen phobia.”*

Well said.

*J Watch Pediatrics 2011; 2011:1221


Beaten by Asthma: The tragic death of Anthony Shadid

Shadid filed by moonlight and satellite modem on a hotel rooftop in Najaf, Iraq, in 2003. (Bill O'Leary/Washington Post)

From what I have learned of New York Times journalist Anthony Shadid, I might surmise that he would meet his end violently during some danger-ridden venture in pursuit of a news story directly from people affected by conflicts in the Middle East. Over the course of his career as an international journalist, he he had been shot, held hostage, beaten, threatened, and Lord knows what else. Relentlessly pursuing the truth, not from behind the safety of a desk somewhere, but from the scene itself, he was always in the thick of the fight. In the classic sense, he was all about “boots on the ground” journalism. Mr. Shadid received two Pulitzer prizes for his work, and was nominated for a third this year. He seemed larger than life, but by all reports he was a humble, dedicated father, son, and husband.

On February 16th this year, Anthony Shadid died, not from bullets or violence, but from asthma.

He was returning to Turkey from a perilous journey into Syria on assignment for the New York Times. It was known that he had asthma, but it is unclear to me how severe. We know from his father that he was highly allergic to horses. We know that those who secreted him into Syria from Turkey and back used horses. Tyler Hicks, an award-winning photographer who accompanied him on this trip, reported that he seemed to have some initial asthma symptoms after the first night of contact with the horses, but these seemed to resolve. Several days later his asthma problems again intensified, and he collapsed. Attempts by Mr. Hicks to resuscitate him failed, and he died along the long lonely trail home.

What can we learn from this tragic story? Just as he sought to inform and teach his readers about current events during life, Anthony informs and reinforces several important points for us to remember about asthma after his death. They are:

  • For those with allergic asthma, every attempt should be made to avoid offending allergens. Prevention by avoiding allergens is a cornerstone of asthma treatment.
  • The asthma action plan needs to be individualized. For those who travel to isolated locations without close medical support, consideration should be given to carrying a course of oral steroids, such as Prednisone, so that more aggressive treatment can begin as soon as possible if needed.
  • A close collaborative relationship with a physician who both understands asthma and your unique needs gives life to your asthma action plan.

Thankfully, death from asthma is rare compared to deaths from heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses, but it still can and does occur, 11 times each day in the United States. Anthony Shadid’s untimely death is a painful reminder of this.

My condolences go out to his family, and, thank you Anthony for informing us, even after you are gone.

Category Archives: Prevention

Kids and Asthma Twitter Party

With the success of our allergy and asthma Twitter party, we’ve decided that we’re going to host a chat every other Friday throughout May to raise awareness!

This Friday is a topic that is especially important: Children and asthma.

Do you have questions for Dr. A. about asthma and your children? Let us know!

Posted in asthma, Goals, Prevention, Twitter Chats | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Beating Asthma Chat: A Resounding Success!

Our first Beating Asthma Twitter chat took place last Friday and it was really exciting! We explored asthma and allergies in the spring pollen season and covered everything from peak flows to HEPA filters.

Our featured guests, eVacuumStore and SoundAsthma, brought a lot of valuable information to the table. From the best equipment to keep your home allergen free to what you should take to your asthma appointment, they provided invaluable insight for asthma and allergy sufferers.

And our participants offered some great commentary, as well! Two of our favorite tweets from the evening encourage asthma and allergy sufferers to take care of their lungs!

You can see much of the conversation on Twitter here.

We hope that you’ll join us on May 4th to discuss pediatric asthma. Helping kids tackle their asthma is so important! Do you have any questions you’d like to address during the chat? Let us know!

Posted in Prevention, Twitter Chats | Comments Off on Beating Asthma Chat: A Resounding Success!

Beating Asthma App and a Giveaway!

We’re excited to announce that the Beating Asthma iPhone App launched yesterday! The app is designed to empower asthma patients to effectively manage their disease as effectively as they can so they can enjoy life on their own terms. This is especially important as recent studies find that adults are taking potentially deadly risks by not treating their asthma.

With this application you will find a wealth of information to get you started on your journey to “beating” asthma. Discover the simple principles that can help you put asthma in its place and get back to living life, free and easy.

Using the simple Asthma Action Plan, test your peak intake score and monitor asthma symptoms in order to best take care of your asthma. Learn about the Rule of Two, the Asthma Control Test, and much more. Download the app for your iPhone today!

 

A Celebratory Giveaway!

Beating Asthma

To celebrate the launch of the app, we’re giving away a digital copy of the Beating Asthma book! If you’d like to enter, simply send a tweet to @SJApaliski telling us how you’re beating asthma to enter!

All entries must be received by Sunday April 15, 2012. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced Monday at 9am ET!

Posted in asthma, Breaking news, Prevention | Comments Off on Beating Asthma App and a Giveaway!