Nebulizers: What You Should Know

A woman using a nebulizer.Over 34 million people throughout the United States live with a chronic lung disease such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Any type of lung disease can have a significant detrimental impact on your quality of life without effective treatment to manage it. One of these treatments is the usage of nebulizers, which turn liquid medicine into a mist that can be easily inhaled.

While they function in a similar way, nebulizers are not the same thing as inhalers. An inhaler delivers medication more quickly, is often smaller and more portable, often costs less, and usually causes fewer side effects. However, they are not as easy to use properly as nebulizers, which allow you to breathe normally to get the dose of medicine you need.

You may need a nebulizer if you plan to take certain types of medication, such as bronchodilators (which relax your airway muscles) or corticosteroids (which prevent airway inflammation). Nebulizers can also be used with some antibiotics (if you have a bacterial lung infection) or medications that loosen mucus in your lungs.

Before using your nebulizer, it’s important to make sure you’re setting it up correctly. You should:

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up and using your nebulizer, which should be included
  • Wash your hands
  • Fill the medicine cup and close it tightly
  • Make sure the hose is connected to the air compressor, mouthpiece, and medicine cup
  • Plug in and turn on the nebulizer

While using the nebulizer, you should:

  • Keep your lips firmly around the mouthpiece
  • Breathe through your mouth until the medicine cup is empty (this can take up to 20 minutes)

It’s also important to make sure you’re keeping your nebulizer sanitary for future use. Each time you finish using it, you should:

  • Turn off and unplug the machine
  • Wash the mouthpiece and medicine cup under warm, running water
  • Air dry the nebulizer and run air through it for at least 20 seconds to ensure all parts of it are dry
  • Remove all detachable parts (such as the mouthpiece and medicine cup) and store the nebulizer in a covered place until the next time you use it
  • Change the machine’s filter as needed (see the instructions that came with your nebulizer)

If you experience symptoms of asthma or another type of lung disease, you can receive high-quality treatment from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7126.

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.

Learn The Facts About Asthma

Asthma is a disease that affects the airway’s ability to deliver oxygen to the lungs. It causes periodic attacks of wheezing and difficulty breathing. An asthma attack occurs when the airways become inflamed in response to a trigger. Triggers are factors that bring about an asthma attack. There are many types of triggers including:

• Allergens – Such as pollen, mold, animal fur, dust, dust mites, and cockroaches

• Viral Infections – Viral infections of the respiratory tract often act as major triggers, since they irritate the airways, nose, throat, and sinuses

• Irritants – Examples of irritants are perfumes, household cleaners, cooking fumes, painting supplies, coal, chalk, and sudden changes in the weather

• Tobacco Smoke and Wood Smoke – No one should smoke in the home of an asthmatic

• Exercise – It is estimated that 85% of all asthmatics encounter wheezing after exercise

• Sensitivity to Medications – Up to 20% of all adult asthmatics experience an attack as a result of allergic reactions to medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and sulfites

During an asthma attack, the walls of the airways become inflamed and the mucous membrane covering the walls becomes swollen with fluid. Sticky mucus fills the remaining space, making it difficult to breathe. Because air cannot flow in and out of the lungs freely, a whistling or wheezing sound may be heard. During severe attacks, wheezing may stop because there is too little air moving to make any noise.

The key to diagnosing asthma is recognition of the recurrent symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or wheezing. If these symptoms are present, a physician will perform a pulmonary function test, also known as a spirometry. The test measures the “peak flow,” which is the speed of air blown out of the lungs. Asthmatics have trouble blowing air out, and therefore have lower peak flow measurements. A normal range for peak flow is based on the person’s age, weight, and sex. Daily measurement of the peak flow at home is essential to effectively manage asthma. Decreases in peak flow will alert the patient of the need for further treatment or an emergency medical visit to the doctor.

To treat asthma, the first step is to avoid the triggers that you are sensitive to whenever possible. Prescription medicines are usually needed to combat asthma. There are two main groups of asthma medicines: bronchodilators, which help stop asthma attacks after they have started and anti-inflammatories, which help prevent attacks from starting.

After a course of treatment is prescribed, it is very important to check regularly with your doctor to make sure that the medicines are helping you.

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.

What is Exertional Asthma ?

Do your asthma attacks coincide with participation in physical activity such as exercise? As in all types of asthma, as the airways tighten, it becomes  difficult to take a complete breath, and the airways produce extra mucous.

 

The symptoms of exertional asthma include:

  •  Wheezing
  •     Tightness of the chest
  •      Coughing
  •      Feeling tired
  •      Inability to catch your breath

Some activities that can lead to heavier than normal breathing such as recreational sports including:  running, basketball, football, soccer, and aerobic exercise. These can lead to exertional asthma.  Additionally, when the air is cold and dry, activities such as shoveling snow or walking for long periods of time can also trigger an asthma attack.

Other contributing factors of exertional asthma can include:

  •  Smoke or smog
  •     High pollen counts
  •     Having a cold or other respiratory infection
  •     Chlorinated pools or other chemical irritants

Treatment of exertional asthma includes taking medications both on a regular basis and  prior to doing strenuous exercise to limit symptoms and control breathing. Some activities and sports should be avoided if they bring on asthma attacks.

If you are experience difficulty breathing while participating in strenuous activities, you should consult with a pulmonary specialist for a complete respiratory evaluation. Please call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

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 Relationship Between Asthma and GERD

There is strong evidence that a relationship exists between asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to research, more than 75 percent of people living with asthma have GERD. The reason for this is not certain but studies show a relationship between stomach acid and airways.

GERD which is the reverse flow of stomach acid into the esophagus seems to worsen asthma. One explanation as to why this happens may involve stomach acid which flows back in to the esophagus irritating the throat, the airways and the lungs. It is also a possibility that the acid affects a nerve in the esophagus which causes the lungs to tighten.

Ways to avoid the effects of GERD include:

  • Raising the head of the bed by 6 inches to keep stomach acid from flowing back in to the esophagus
  • Waiting three to four hours after eating a meal before laying down
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Keeping your weight under control
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoid eating fatty food, chocolate, spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomato sauce,  coffee, tea, or alcohol before laying down

Speak to your physician about treatment options that may be best for you. You can also schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling 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.

What is Popcorn Lung and Can Vaping Cause It?

“Popcorn lung” is the nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease that can damage the smallest airways in your lungs, resulting in coughing and shortness of breath.

popcorn lung, pulmonary medicine, Jamaica Hospital, vaping, e-cigarettes, lungs

The condition got its nickname because of the chemical diacetyl, a buttery flavored chemical that was commonly found in microwave popcorn.  After workers at the factories that produced microwave popcorn began to experience symptoms associated with bronchiolitis obliterans after inhaling diacetyl, manufacturers removed it from their products.

While diacetyl is no longer a threat from microwaved popcorn, many are now being exposed to it through e-cigarette vapor. Diacetyl is often added to “e-juice” liquid by some e-cigarette companies to complement flavorings such as vanilla, maple, coconut and more. In fact, recent studies have found that more than 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes and refill liquids tested positive for diacetyl

So how does diacetyl cause popcorn lung? Your lungs are where your blood receives oxygen before carrying it to cells in the rest of your body through tiny air sacs called alveoli. Exposure to diacetyl can irritate or scar the alveoli, causing inflammation or narrowing, making it difficult for them to deliver oxygen to your blood.

The main symptoms of popcorn lung are a dry cough and shortness of breath. These show up between two weeks and two months after you’ve been around a toxic gas or had an illness. You’re especially likely to have them after exercising or heavy labor.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Flu-like illness with fever
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Eye, skin, mouth, or nose irritation, if caused by chemical exposure

Popcorn lung is often misdiagnosed as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. To diagnose popcorn lung, your doctor will order an X-ray, CT scan or a surgical lung biopsy. Your doctor may also want to measure your lung’s function by conducting a pulmonary function test.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for popcorn lung, but there are treatments to help alleviate the symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. Treatment options include prescription corticosteroids, cough suppressants, bronchodilators to open the airways or immunosuppressant therapy to decrease your body’s immune response. In severe cases oxygen supplementation may be needed. If left untreated, popcorn lung can be fatal in some cases.

The best way to prevent developing popcorn lung is to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals like diacetyl, found in e-cigarettes.

If you are experiencing symptoms of popcorn lung, make an appointment to see your doctor. To make an appointment with a Pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call our Ambulatory Care Department 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.

Are You At Risk for Asthma?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 13 people has asthma. That translates to more than 26 million Americans.

Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell, producing extra mucus resulting in difficulty breathing.

If this narrowing and swelling occurs and worsens, it may lead to an asthma attack.

Some tips to help you prevent asthma symptoms from occurring include:

  • Family history of asthma
  • Viral respiratory infections as a child
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Air Pollution
  • Obesity

Some strategies you help prevent the symptoms of asthma are:

  • Stop smoking and avoid public places where cigarette smoking occurs
  • Avoid outdoor exposure on heavy smog days
  • Adopt a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein
  • Avoid allergens that trigger asthma attacks, such as pet dander, dust, mites, mold and pollen.

If you have recurrent coughing or wheezing that lasts more than a couple of days or any other signs or symptoms of asthma listed above, you should schedule an appointment to see your doctor since treating asthma early can help prevent long-term lung damace and reduce the likelihood of your asthma worsening over time.

If you would like to speak with a respiratory specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001 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.

Treating Asthma When You Have a Cold

Colds make us feel miserable and coughing fits tend to bring attention to us at times when we want it least. For most catching a cold is a nuisance but for others with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, colds can be very serious.  Colds are one of the most common causes for flare ups in asthmatics.  The mildest of cold symptoms can easily lead to wheezing, shortness of breath or trigger asthma attacks.

Taking preventative measures to avoid catching a cold is one of the best recommendations that asthmatics can follow. Some of these precautions include: frequently washing or sanitizing hands, staying away from individuals who have colds and avoiding contact to the eyes and nose.

Even though prevention is highly recommended, during the cold season avoiding a cold is sometimes easier said than done. If you do contract the cold virus there are several things you can do to help control your asthma:

  1. If you are sick stay home and take care of yourself. Staying home can help you avoid environmental factors that could worsen your condition.
  2. Monitor your air flow by frequently using a peak flow meter. If there is a drop in peak flow rates contact your physician to discuss adjustments to medication.
  3. Keep track of changes in your condition and developing asthma symptoms such as wheezing, tightness of the chest or coughing.
  4. Take medication as advised by your doctor.

Following these recommendations can help you manage symptoms and reduce the risk of a serious attack.  If your condition continues to get worse after several days, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.

If you’d like to make an appointment with a doctor at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Ambulatory Care Center, call 718-206-7001 to schedule 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.

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.