The new school year means new clothes, new classes, new teachers – and the same old misery due to sneezing and wheezing for children who have allergies or asthma. From the class hamster to dust mites residing in carpet to germs from cold and flu viruses, asthma and allergy triggers lurk throughout the classroom.
A Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study of Baltimore City children who have asthma and live with smokers shows that indoor air cleaners can greatly reduce household air pollution and lower the rates of daytime asthma symptoms to those achieved with certain anti-inflammatory asthma drugs.
Allergies to pets with fur or feathers are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. People with dog allergies may be allergic to all dogs or to only some breeds. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has teamed up with state and local agencies to create EnviroFlash, a free service that provides the air quality forecast to a subscriber’s email or cellphone.
The National Pest Management Association warns families that cockroaches are a leading trigger of allergies and asthma attacks. The pests’ saliva, droppings, and decomposing bodies contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children.
Experts don’t think air pollution is one of the main causes of asthma, and that is because many parts of the world that have a lot of pollution don’t necessarily have higher rates of asthma. But air pollution may be one of the factors that cause asthma.
If you have asthma, your airways always have some irritation. When you have an asthma attack, this irritation gets worse and your airways close part way and get blocked with mucus. Asthma attacks may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing.
If you wheeze or have trouble breathing only when you are at work, you may have occupational asthma. Some 200 substances – gases, vapors, and organic and inorganic dusts – found in manufacturing workplaces and among certain occupations have been identified as causes of asthma. It’s estimated that some 11 million workers are exposed to one of these substances.