Exercise Asthma Prevention


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Exercise-induced-Asthma“Exercise asthma” or as it is more commonly called “exercised induced asthma” can trigger an attack in 80 to 90 percent of people with asthma.  In fact, even amateur and professional athletes have particularly high rates of exercised-induced asthma, with studies finding that between 11 and 50 percent are affected.

However make no mistake: exercise-induced asthma, also called exercise induced bronchospasm, is asthma. It’s not a type of asthma, an “asthma-like” condition or a separate disease. It is almost always diagnosed shortly after a person has had an asthma attack or spasm of the bronchial airways, usually with the symptoms starting 5 to 15 minutes after beginning or ending physical exertion. The main cause isn’t really known, but researchers suspect it’s related to the loss of heat, water or both from the lungs during exercise. This occurs because of the common tendency to breath through the mouth when exercising, so cooler air is taken in verses warmer air which passes through the nose (which warms and moistens it).

Some asthmatics may go months before learning they may have exercise-induced asthma. This is because the breathlessness and wheezing they experience after exercising may be the only symptoms of their exercise-induced asthma leading them think that they may only get out of breath easily. That could be why one study found unrecognized exercise-induced asthma in as many as 29 percent of athletes studied.

Exercise-Induced Asthma Prevention Tips

As with any form of asthma, medication plays a major role in controlling the symptoms, but there are several non-medical tips you can use to possibly avoid exercise-induced asthma:

  • Improve your overall physical condition. The better shape you’re in, the stronger your lungs are. Thus, they’ll be less sensitive to the cool, dry air you may take in while exercising.
  • Warm up for at least 10 minutes before you start exercising.
  • Try not to exercise outside in cold weather. If you must (as with skiing), cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face mask to help warm and moisten the air. Exercise in warm, humidified environments. Swimming in a heated indoor pool is actually considered a good exercise for persons with exercise-induced asthma.
  • Try not to exercise outside in areas of high pollution or at times when the air quality is poor.
  • Wait at least 2 hours after eating before exercising. This ensures that your stomach has emptied and reduces the risk of gastric reflux or heartburn.
  • Try to breath through your nose, not your mouth when possible.

Make sure you always have an EpiPen with you and you know how to administer it to yourself during an emergency attack.

Go to Exercise Asthma for more information about Exercise-Induced Asthma.

Related posts: Avoiding Asthma Attacks.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Exercise Induced Asthma

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Exercise Asthma


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Exercise-induced-Asthma

“Exercise asthma” or as it is more commonly called “exercised induced asthma” can trigger an attack in 80 to 90 percent of people with asthma.  In fact, even amateur and professional athletes have particularly high rates of exercised-induced asthma, with studies finding that between 11 and 50 percent are affected.

However make no mistake: exercise-induced asthma, also called exercise induced bronchospasm, is asthma. It’s not a type of asthma, an “asthma-like” condition or a separate disease. It is almost always diagnosed shortly after a person has had an asthma attack or spasm of the bronchial airways, usually with the symptoms starting 5 to 15 minutes after beginning or ending physical exertion. The main cause isn’t really known, but researchers suspect it’s related to the loss of heat, water or both from the lungs during exercise. This occurs because of the common tendency to breath through the mouth when exercising, so cooler air is taken in verses warmer air which passes through the nose (which warms and moistens it).

Some asthmatics may go months before learning they may have exercise-induced asthma. This is because the breathlessness and wheezing they experience after exercising may be the only symptoms of their exercise-induced asthma leading them think that they may only get out of breath easily. That could be why one study found unrecognized exercise-induced asthma in as many as 29 percent of athletes studied.

Exercise Asthma Warning Signs

When you exercise, watch out for shortness of breath or wheezing, decreased exercise endurance, chest pain or tightness, upset stomach or a sore throat. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop exercising immediately and allow your breathing and heart-rate to return to normal. Usually the “attack” should only last only a few minutes, but it can be as scary as any other asthma attack, often leading otherwise healthy people to avoid exercise altogether.

The only way to know for sure if your symptoms are related to asthma is to see an asthma and allergy specialist, who should conduct an “exercise challenge” test to confirm a diagnosis. This test usually involves evaluating your lung function before and after you’ve run on a treadmill or exercise bicycle.

Go to Exercise Asthma Prevention for related prevention tips.

Related posts: Asthma and Allergies.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Exercise induced asthma

Avoiding Asthma Attacks


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avoiding-asthma-attacksThe task of continuously avoiding stimulants such as airborne allergens and other specific irritants which pervade the environment is often difficult if not impossible. While certain food allergens can cause asthma attacks, we will focus on the more difficult asthma irritants to prevent and control throughout your daily routine. The irritants I am referring to and we will be discussing in this article are all the non-food asthma causing allergens.

There are other less-known contributing factors asthmatics should be aware of such as drastic changes in barometric pressure, temperature/ humidity or airborne pollutants. These factors may be avoided by:

  • Not sitting near or in front of air conditioner vents or fans
  • Cover the mouth and nose with a scarf or special mask before going out in very cold air
  • Not entering certain areas of a retail store which have concentrated allergens such as the pesticide aisle in an home improvement store
  • Taking control measure to control airborne dust and dust-mites in your home by using true-HEPA vacuums and air purifiers

People who work or live in areas are forced to avoid areas and indoor environments where pollutants are more concentrated. A person who knows he or she is allergic should try to remove irritating factors from the indoor environment they spend the most time in such as their home or work area. An easy example would be; people suffering from asthma unquestionably not smoke or be around people who smoke indoors; as ongoing exposure to smoke can lead to the development of chronic bronchitis or emphysema in asthma sufferers.

However, airborne particles are the primary asthma causing irritant which can cause an acute attack when exposed to. Unfortunately, these airborne particles are microscopic and cannot be seen by the human eye, yet when they are breathed into the lungs an asthma sufferer does not exhale them. They are referred to as sub-micron (microscopic) “respirable particles.” Most all airborne pollutants which cause asthma attacks in the indoor environment fall into the category of “respirable” which can include but are not limited to:

  • Dust mites
  • Dust mite feces
  • Mold spores
  • Broken-down pesticide dust
  • Broken-down dead insects
  • Bacteria from vacuum cleaner bags
  • Broken down tree and grass pollen
  • and more

People with chronic asthma or other respiratory problems probably have some level of a hypersensitivity (allergic response) to one or more of these respirable allergens found in household dust particles. In fact, it is a protein cell found within these irritants that causes the asthma attack itself. In effect, the asthma sufferer is actually allergic to that particular protein.  In some cases, the concentrations of asthma causing dust particles are even worse in some work environments.

The bottom line to controlling and avoiding asthma attacks directly caused by these airborne dust particles is by limiting the amount of these sub-micron dust particles floating in the air of your home or work. Without doubt the most valuable tool to removing and controlling these asthma causing dust particles is the regular use of a HEPA (High Efficient Particulate Air) vacuum cleaner. I have had clients who virtually eliminated the asthma attack frequencies in their own home just by using my suggested protocol for vacuuming a home with a True-HEPA vacuum.

With the correct knowledge and equipment, it is possible to drastically reduce asthma attacks in your home and work environment. I encourage everyone asthma sufferer reading this to continue to learn more about the methods available for fighting asthma attacks.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Related Posts: Asthma Triggers List.

Recognizing an Asthma Attack in Your Child

Allergic Diseases


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allergic-diseasesWhat is an allergic disease?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance or substances. The substances, called allergens, may be inhaled, swallowed, injected or contacted by the skin.

What are the most common allergic diseases?

Allergic diseases or reactions can involve any part of the body. The parts or systems most frequently involved are the respiratory system, where an allergic reaction may take the form of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma, and the skin where a reaction can take the form of allergic dermatitis or atopic eczema, contact dermatitis (for example poison ivy) or hives (urticaria). An allergic disease may also be a factor in numerous other diseases.

Hay fever is caused by allergy to the pollen of trees, grasses, weeds or molds or any combination of these. Depending on the section of the United States and pollinating periods, it may occur in the spring, summer or fall and it may last until the first hard freeze. Hay fever sufferers may have spells of sneezing, itching, weeping eyes, runny nose and/or a burning sensation of the throat.

Allergic rhinitis is a general term that applies to anyone with nasal  congestion, sneezing and a runny nose which are all caused by allergies. This may be a seasonal problem as with hay fever or it may be a year-round problem caused by other allergens such as house duct, animal dander and a host of other possibilities. Because allergic rhinitis is frequently confused with sinusitis, people with constant nasal symptoms should be evaluated for allergies.

Asthma is a condition characterized by coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties. It is frequently associated with a family history of chronic allergies. Any of the allergens mentioned above can cause an asthma attack. Chronic infections of the sinuses or bronchial tubes may also be an important factor to consider. Asthma sufferers are adversely affected by factors such as air pollutants, cigarette smoke and fumes. Asthma can begin at any age and can tend to recur and become chronic.

Allergic dermatitis or eczema is a non-contagious itchy rash that often occurs in the creases of the arms, legs and neck but can also break out anywhere. The condition is frequently associated with allergies and substances which a person is sensitive to. Foods are a common cause of this condition and usually is categorized as chronic in nature. A family history of allergy is thought to be a factor in its occurrence.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Allergic Diseases

Allergy Emergency


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allergy-emergencyAllergy emergencies are not common and they are rarely fatal. They are generally not dangerous; that is, they are not poisons, pathogenic organisms (such as viruses or bacteria) or radiation.  Allergic emergencies are those associated with the classic allergy diseases such as asthma, hay fever, food allergies, hives and eczema as well as reactions to foreign matter that may be inhaled, ingested, injected or absorbed by the skin. Such an allergic emergency is possible if a person has a family history of chronic allergies or experiences chronic allergy symptoms and/or has had at least one long-term allergy reaction and therefore;  should always exercise caution throughout their daily routines.

Those that do require immediate attention are anaphylaxis (a generalized shock-like reaction); laryngeal or tracheal edema (swelling of the windpipe); and severe asthma or bronchospasm. Epinephrine by injection is the drug of choice in all three emergencies. Although allergy emergencies may have numerous causes, a general knowledge of them can enable the allergy sufferer in preventing recurrences.  Here are the most common allergen catagories responsible for most allergy emergencies:

  • Foods (Shellfish, nuts, eggs, milk or dairy)
  • Drugs (Penicillin, sulfa, aspirin)
  • Inhalant Pollens (From grasses, weeds, trees)
  • Inhalant Dust (From house dust, mold spores, animal dander, feathers or insect parts)
  • Inhalant Chemicals (Isocyanates from polyurethane, formaldehydes, insecticides)
  • Skin Contact – Plants (Poison Ivy, sumac, primrose)
  • Skin Contact – Chemicals Nickel-plated jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes)
  • Injectants – Venom (Bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, fire ants)
  • Injectants – Drugs (Various medicines, vaccines, x-ray dyes, allergy extracts)

Self-treatment measures are available to provide relief until more extensive medical attention can be obtained.Allergy emergencies can be treated successfully and some can often be prevented. Unlike some injuries and certain illnesses, the outlook for complete recovery from an allergy emergency is good if prepared steps are taken early on.

An epinephrine injector pen (Epi-Pen) should be kept within reach of a person who is at high-risk for an allergy emergency. These life-saving injector pens must be changed out regularly according to the expiration date stamped clearly on each unit. Chronic allergy sufferers should have more than one pen at all times for convenience.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

Related Posts: Food Allergies, Shellfish Allergies.

Babysitters Allergy Emergency

Indoor Air Pollution


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indoor-air-pollutionSome states in the US have laws that regulate specific areas of the larger indoor air quality and indoor air pollution issue. Other states are considering laws that would effect citizens of their state. On a national level, Federal OSHA has looked into developing a specific standard on ” Exposure to Indoor Air Pollutants” but thus far, this effort has been unsuccessful. Worldwide, laws and regulations regarding indoor air pollution vary widely.

What is Indoor Air Pollution?

Indoor air pollution from a human perspective is generally defined as poor indoor air quality which has the potential to cause an acute or chronic illness or symptom of illness in a person as a direct result from exposure to a airborne pollutant.

What are some of the indicators of Indoor Air Pollution in my home?

The three most common complaints regarding Indoor Air Pollution are:
* Feeling better when leaving the home or worse when arriving
* A dusty environment where the furniture stays dusty even after cleaning
* Ongoing or unidentified odors

What are some of the health symptoms of Indoor Air Pollution?

Symptoms could include but not be limited to:
* headache
* eye, nose, or throat irritation
* dry cough
* dry or itchy skin
* dizziness and nausea
* difficulty in concentrating
* fatigue
* sensitivity to odors
* cough
* chest tightness
* fever and chills
* muscle aches
The symptoms can be clinically defined and have clearly identifiable causes. It is important to note that complaints may result from other causes. These may include an illness contracted outside the home, acute sensitivity (e.g., allergies), job related stress, and other psycho social factors. Nevertheless, studies show that many symptoms can be caused or exacerbated by indoor air quality problems.

Do chemicals create Indoor Air Pollution?

Most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the home. Over 75,000 chemicals are used in common household cleaning products, only a fraction have been tested for human health concerns. Some of the most common chemicals found in household cleaners are also the most toxic. Recent studies have shown an alarming amount of chemicals accumulating in people’s fatty tissues, these are the same chemicals known to cause serious health concerns, from immediate and through long term exposure. Chemicals enter the body through skin absorption and inhalation of fumes or vapors. Once a chemical enters the body, your system usually has to process it. Many chemicals have a target organ which they migrate to. Some organs are made to process and filter; others are not.

Can mold and other living organisms cause health problems and allergies?

Yes, biological contaminants such as bacteria, molds, pollen, insect parts, dust mites and viruses are types of biological contaminants. Certain biological contaminants may breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in ducts, humidifiers, and drain pans, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting, or insulation. Insects and dust mites are a common source of biological contaminants which can accumulate in bedding, furniture, and carpeting. Physical symptoms related to biological agent exposure include cough, chest tightness, fever, chills, muscle aches, and allergic responses such as mucous membrane irritation and upper respiratory congestion.

What should I do if I have a serious Indoor Air Pollution problem?

You may consider having a professional Indoor Air Quality Consultant perform a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment. It is common for a experienced consultant to find the source of your problem during a simple Phase 1 visit. In harder cases it is sometimes necessary to complete a Phase 2 Environmental Assessment which would involve detailed inspection of such areas as the attic, the crawl spaces, air handling equipment and so on. Some direct reading testing instruments and simple laboratory samples could also be taken during a Phase 2 Assessment. At any point, the consultant may have sufficient information to formulate a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and see if the problem is solved. Recommendations are then prescribed to assist the homeowner or building owner with a plan of action to control the issue in the future.

Is air sampling the easiest way to identify indoor air pollutants?

Although air sampling for contaminants might seem to be the logical response to occupant complaints, it doesn’t always provide information about possible causes. While certain basic measurements, e.g., temperature, relative humidity, CO2, and air movement, can provide a useful “snapshot” of current house conditions, sampling for specific pollutant concentrations is often not required to solve the problem. Air sampling should not be undertaken until considerable information on the factors listed above has been collected, and any sampling strategy should be based on a comprehensive understanding of the house or building structure and the nature of the complaints. For example; When taking a laboratory or direct reading sample it may be more important to qualify (identify) certain pollutants than to quantify (count) the pollutant.

About the Author:
The Sick House Center is a resource and information center about indoor air pollution and it’s effect on allergies. Take the Indoor Air Pollutant quiz at the Sick House Center.

Indoor Air Pollution: The Silent Killer

Asthma and Allergies


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asthma-allergy

Allergic Asthma

Allergic asthma is believed to be the most common form of asthma affecting over 10 million asthma sufferers worldwide. Over 3 million children under age 18 suffer from allergic asthma. Allergic asthma is characterized by symptoms that are triggered from some type an allergy. Allergy related asthma is airway obstruction and inflammation that can be controlled with medication. Indoor related allergic asthma can occur when allergens that are commonly found indoors are inhaled into the nose and the lungs thus causing an allergic reaction.

Indoor Air Allergens

  • Cat or dog dander
  • Dust mite feces
  • Mold spores
  • Dead insect parts
  • Pesticide dust
  • Household dust
  • and much more

Symptoms of allergic and non-allergic asthma can be similar:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Chest tightness

However, the major difference between allergic asthma and asthma is that an asthma attack can be triggered by inhaled allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold and other airborne triggers thus resulting in asthma symptoms.

Controlling allergies and asthma in public can be quite challenging, however controlling them while at home in very manageable.  It is important to learn about the methods and technologies available to reduce indoor air triggers in your own home environment.  Inside your home is the only environment which you have full control over your environment. After all it is the place we sleep and spend most of our most time; why shouldn’t it be free of allergy and asthma symptoms.

Technology to the Rescue

Utilizing the proper technology combined with the knowledge of how to use that technology will make the greatest reduction of asthma causing allergens in the home environment. Many asthma allergens fall into the broad category of airborne particles which must be removed from the environment on an ongoing basis. High Efficient Particle Air (HEPA) filter technology can drastically reduce asthma symptoms within days from their initial use. However, HEPA filtration devices must be used regularly to keep the asthma causing allergens at bay.

About the author:

Stan K. Hall is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution. You can read more about allergies and asthma at his web site: Sick House Doctor.

breathing techniques for children with asthma and allergies

Asthma Triggers List


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asthma-triggersAllergies and asthma don’t always go hand in hand, but most people who have asthma also have allergies. Those allergies can trigger breath-stealing asthma attacks.

Things like pollen, mold, and animal dander can set off an allergic reaction in some people that results in hives, itching, sneezing, and wheezing. When this reaction occurs in the chest, it’s called asthma. In the lungs, allergic reactions cause spasms and thick, sticky mucus. When an asthmatic has an attack, his lungs feel clogged and twitchy, and his chest feels tight.

Though not all people with asthma have allergies, those who do should identify their allergic triggers and avoid them.

Some of the more common asthma triggers to avoid:

  • Foods like chocolate, nuts, shellfish, and eggs.
  • Beverages like orange juice, beer, wine, and milk.
  • Mold spores and pollen. When pollen counts are high, try to stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Dander from pets such as cats, dogs, hamsters, and rabbits. If you can’t bear to part with your family pet, try to keep it outside and bathe it often.
  • Feather pillows, down comforters, and wool clothing. Use smooth blankets on your bed.
  • Dust. Damp dust and damp mop instead of using brooms that raise dust. Use washable fabrics for curtains and rugs.
  • Cleaning products like bleach and furniture polish.
  • Use a HEPA vacuum and HEPA air purifiers to control indoor airborne allergen particles.

Avoiding your triggers may help you avoid the chest-squeezing experience of an asthma attack!

Source: Allergy and Asthma, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Milwaukee (1995)

Asthma Triggers