May is National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the number of people living in the United States who suffer from allergies and asthma has doubled over the last 20 years.  Last year alone, there were over 2 million emergency room visits due to asthma and allergy attacks.

In an effort to bring attention to numbers that continue to grow and approach epidemic proportions; the White House has designated May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. The month of May was chosen to raise awareness as it coincides with the peak season and a perilous time for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Education is the primary objective of Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.   It is hoped that by educating the public about both chronic health conditions, more action will be taken to prevent symptoms and improve the quality of life of those affected.

Prevention and awareness are the best defenses against asthma or allergy symptoms. The first step in preventing symptoms is becoming aware of your triggers, which can be achieved through testing.  Dr. Lisa Roth, Allergist and Immunologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, explains, “It is important that you speak to your doctor about receiving allergy tests. Testing can help to determine the cause of your symptoms. Often people purchase over the counter medications to treat symptoms but they may not be treating the correct cause for their discomfort.”  Once your triggers are identified you can learn how to lessen their effects and seek proper treatment.

Dr. Roth recommends the following tips to lessen your exposure to triggers and alleviate symptoms:

  • Monitor pollen and mold counts
  • Keep doors and windows shut in your home and car,
  • Take medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Clean the air in your home with a HEPA filter
  • Wash your face and hair as soon as you get home
  • Wash linens and clothing frequently.

To learn more about Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s website http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-and-allergy-awareness-month.aspx

To schedule appointment with an allergist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Asthma and Flu Season

Young woman using throat spray

Asthma is a lung disease that is caused by chronic inflammation of the airways, which can result in an asthma attack. During an attack, people experience symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Many things can trigger an asthma attack and one of the most common is the flu.

With flu season upon us, what impact can the flu have on those with asthma? According to the CDC, though people with asthma are not more likely to get the flu, an infection can be more serious for people with asthma, even if their asthma is mild or their symptoms are well-controlled by medication. An influenza infection can trigger asthma attacks and a worsening of asthma symptoms. It also can lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases. In fact, adults and children with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with the flu than people who do not have asthma. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with the flu and one of the more common medical conditions among hospitalized adults.

If you have asthma, it is recommended that you get an annual influenza vaccine. Flu shots are generally recommended for people six months and older regardless of whether or not they have asthma. The flu shot has a long established safety record in people with asthma. In addition to getting the flu vaccine, proper hand-hygiene is strongly advised in order to prevent the spread of the flu.

If you do get sick with flu symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately to see if antiviral medications are an option for you. If prescribed, anti-viral drugs should be administered with 48 hours after the on-set of symptoms and can help minimize the effects of the flu. For people with asthma, this can help by reducing the risk of influenza from progressing into pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.

If you have asthma, and would like to receive a flu shot, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment or visit our website at www.jamaicahospital.org to find our closest MediSys Family Care Center to your home.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is This Job Killing Me?

Nervous businesswoman pulling her hair out

Some workplace stress is normal, but excessive stress can interfere with productivity and impact your physical and emotional health. If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, you can lose confidence, and become irritable or withdrawn.

Health issues that can be caused by excessive stress are:

  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal problems

How you manage your stress is one way of avoiding the negative health impacts of a stressful lifestyle. By realizing that not being able to control everything in your work environment does not mean you are powerless, you can find ways to manage your workplace stress without rethinking career ambitions.

Some quick, office stress relievers are:

  • Take a short walk
  • Drink water
  • Stretch
  • Make a plan or to-do list
  • Unplug from email and social media
  • Breathe
  • Act rather than react
  • Ask for help

One of the best ways of coping with stress is to identify what your stress triggers are. Once you have identified them, you can find ways to resolve them.

If using these steps to relieve your feelings of being stressed is not helping, you may want to consult a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry. Call 718-206-7160 for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Are You Having Difficulty Breathing While At Work?

stk109169corDo you experience symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing or chest tightness while you are at work? Do these symptoms seem to go away when you are on vacation or away from work? There is a possibility that you may have a condition called occupational asthma.

As defined by Medicine.net, “Occupational asthma is a type of asthma that is caused by exposure to a particular substance in the workplace. Occupational asthma is not the same as previously diagnosed asthma that is worsened by being at work (this condition would be called work-aggravated asthma).”

There are several substances or triggers that can cause occupational asthma attacks. The most common are chemicals used in insulation, packing materials, paints or resins. Other irritants include metals such as nickel sulfate, smoke, gases and plant substances such as wheat, hemp or cotton.

Additional symptoms of this disease can include: inflammation of the lining around the eyes, runny nose,   tearing of the eyes and nasal congestion. Symptoms may get worse during the work week and go away after you have left work. They can also continue to occur both at work and outside of work. The longer you are exposed to the cause of the asthma attacks is the more likely you can develop long-lasting symptoms.

Some people are more at risk for developing occupational asthma. You may have an increased risk if you have a family history of asthma or allergies, you have a pre- existing asthma or allergy condition, you are a smoker or you work in an environment that has asthma triggers.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of occupational asthma it is advised that you see a physician as soon as possible because asthma attacks can be life-threatening.  Upon your visit to the doctor, he (she) may perform a series of tests such as pulmonary function, spirometry or peak flow measurement. Treatments and suggestions may include wearing a mask or respirator while working as well as prescribed medications.

To make an appointment with the Ambulatory Care Center at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Asthma in the Winter: Bundle up and Prevent your Symptoms

The cold weather has arrived and aside from worrying about the flu and other upper respiratory infections, people who have asthma should also worry about an increased risk of experiencing an asthma attack. Are you one of the 25.5 million people who have asthma? If so, follow these helpful tips to prevent triggering asthma symptoms or attacks in the cold weather.

 

  • Half hour prior to going out in the cold, take one or two puffs of your inhaler
  • Wrap up well and wear a scarf over your nose and mouth – this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
  • Take extra care when exercising in cold weather. Warm up for 10-15 minutes and take one or two puffs of your inhaler before you start.
  • If possible, avoid fireplaces. As cozy as the thought of a warm fireplace may sound, the burning wood smoke from the fireplace can trigger asthma symptoms or an asthma attack.

Often times, pAsthma_176896123eople stop taking medications because they do not feel any symptoms. If you are on medicines for asthma, consult with your doctor to see if you should continue taking them even when you are asymptomatic.

Create your asthma action plan and share it with your close friends and family. It may be a good idea to make sure your friends and family know what to do if you have an asthma attack and what symptoms to look for such as: coughing more than usual, getting short of breath, wheezing or having difficulty speaking in full sentences.

 

Remember, prevention is key and you can breathe easy knowing your are taking a proactive approach to your asthma condition. By keeping these tips in mind, being consistent with treatments and bundling up in the cold weather, you can still enjoy the winter months.  If you need to speak to a physician about your asthma and plan of action, contact Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to set an appointment at 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Children with Asthma Keep Pets?

kid and pet 178496846The presence of some pets in the home can trigger asthma attacks in children. While many believe pets’ fur is the culprit, it is actually the allergens such as dust and proteins found in pets’ dander, saliva, dead-skin flakes, urine and feathers that can cause a reaction.

These allergens and proteins are airborne-they can enter the body by way of the mouth or nose. When they are combined with antibodies (a substance that the body recognizes as foreign) and inhaled into the lungs, they can trigger the body’s defense mechanisms, causing inflammation and eventually restricting air flow.

It is recommended that the easiest way to reduce the hazards of pet dander and allergens in the home is to relocate the animal. For some, this decision can be difficult as pets often become members of the family. If the option of relocating the animal is not likely, then the following solutions should be considered.

  • Minimizing contact by keeping your pet outdoors as much as possible or prohibiting the animal from the bedroom of the person with asthma.
  • Using vacuums with HEPA filters to frequently vacuum surfaces where dander can accumulate.
  • Wash pets often and groom them outside the home.
  • Keep animals off surfaces such as the couch, which collects pet dander.
  • Dust frequently. It is best to dust when the person with asthma is not home.
  • Clean bird and rodent cages thoroughly at least once a week.
  • Purchase air cleaners with HEPA filters.
  • Keep children away from litter boxes or places designated for the animal to eliminate waste.
  • Change carpeted floors to hard wood floors.

It is highly advised that you consult a physician to confirm that it is okay to keep your pet and to explore the best ways to reduce the risks of triggering an asthma attack.  Your doctor may be able to develop a treatment plan, which can include allergy shots, sprays or pills to help manage symptoms.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

please do not smoke!Secondhand smoke is a combination of side stream smoke-which comes from the end of a burning cigarette and mainstream smoke-which is exhaled by the smoker.  It may seem harmless but the smoke that comes from the end of the cigarette is considered to be even more harmful than the smoke inhaled by the smoker; because there are no filters. Secondhand smoke is harmful to everyone; however, pregnant women, children and partners of people who smoke are the most vulnerable.

There are over 250 harmful chemicals that can be found in the smoke created by tobacco products. Some of these chemicals are carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, arsenic, vinyl chloride and formaldehyde. The Environmental Protection Agency categorizes secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen; meaning that it can cause cancer in humans.

The more you are exposed to secondhand smoke, the higher your risk of developing diseases and suffering from the health effects. Respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness and coughing can be triggered by secondhand smoke. Other harmful health effects include the increased risk of developing heart disease, respiratory disease and strokes.

Pregnant women who consistently breathe secondhand smoke may have miscarriages or give birth to low birth-weight and premature babies.  For newborns exposure can escalate the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Children can experience increased occurrences of asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections.

Secondhand smoke is harmful, despite the level of exposure.  Breathing in even a little smoke can be dangerous and the effects on your health can be immediate. There are several ways to reduce the risk of exposure to second hand smoke. You can ask members in your family not to smoke in your home, disallow smoking in your car and choose smoke- free restaurant and indoor places.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.