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Home > ASA Newsletter > September 14, 2005: Volume 1, Issue 4
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Allergy, Sinusitis, and Asthma Newsletter

Table of Contents:
1. From the Editors
2. Allergy, Sinusitis, and Asthma Articles
3. Sinusitis Experience - From ICU to Virtual Freedom
4. Feature - Top Five Tips for Helping Pets with Fall Allergies

We've seen from the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina the suffering went beyond humans. Pets became victims too. Many humans view pets as a part of their family and many people in the path of Hurricane Katrina refused to leave their homes because most shelters wouldn't allow pets. Thus the owners were willing to live or die with Fido or Fluffy.

Luckily, in New Orleans, hundreds of veterinary volunteers are helping animals displaced by Hurricane Katrina and many services are now matching up pets with owners. And finding a pet alive has been a light at the end of the tunnel for many victims.

Unfortunately, pets also suffer from many human-related illnesses, including allergies and sinusitis. A pet isn't as good at relating the problem, however.

Luckily, there is more information becoming available on how to help your pet when allergy season comes around. In this issue of the ASA Newsletter, our feature focuses on tips to help your pet cope with fall allergies. Just don't forget about yourself!

All in the family.

Joe Tracy & Kim Lance - editors
ASA Newsletter

P.S. Please take the time to make a donation to the Red Cross to help those displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Here are the most recent articles, published by, that deal with allergies, sinusitis, and asthma:

Beware of Fall Ragweed Allergies
Now that spring allergy victims are finally feeling relief from the diminishing tree and grass pollen, a new allergy season has begun creeping upon us. Ragweed pollen season has started, promising new challenges and frequent rounds of sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes for the more than 36 million Americans who have hay fever...
Click here
to read the entire article.

Nasal Washing Helps Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms
Problems associated with sinus congestion or irritation typically drive many of the millions of American sufferers to drug-based commercial remedies like psuedoephedrine pills or chemical nasal sprays. But a new study, published in the medical journal Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, indicates that a simpler method may be quite effective. The approach? Regular nasal washing with warm water and two percent saline...
Click here
to read the entire article.

Insect Sting Allergy Problems in Emergency Rooms
A recent study featured in the September 2005 Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI) shows emergency departments often do not follow recommended treatment guidelines when treating severe allergic reactions to insect stings...
Click here
to read the entire article.

Household Dust Bacteria Could Trigger Asthma
New research shows that the bacteria in household dust produces chemicals that may trigger asthma and asthma-related symptoms like wheezing. These bacterial chemicals, called endotoxins, were associated with increased respiratory problems in adults...
Click here
to read the entire article.

SINUSITIS EXPERIENCE - From ICU to Virtual Freedom
"...Chronic sinusitis is disabling. When I was about eight years into it at 39 years old and getting more airway obstructions at night and generally worse sinuses, lungs, strength, memory, I didn't think I could live to see my 42nd birthday. I was working as an ICU nurse and watching my health, friendships and family fall apart, ultimately losing my job due to these disabilities, I was devastated. Now, age 53, I am again in the ICU and totally well and feel like I will see 70 and beyond..."
Click here
to read the entire experience.

FEATURE - Step by Step Plan for an Asthma Attack
It is important to take the proper steps to control an asthma attack when one begins. If you have asthma, you need to know what to do during at the first sign of an attack. Adult Asthma: Your guide to breathing easier, a new Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, provides asthma sufferers with that step-by-step guide as preparation for adult sufferers to deal with asthma attacks. There are six steps in the program.

The first step is to take your self physically away from the asthma trigger. If it is cigarette smoke, go out and get fresh air, if its pollen, try to stay indoors and avoid the pollen, just try to get away from whatever has triggered the asthma symptoms.

The second step is to assess the severity of the asthma attack. If you pay attention to how you are feeling at the start of an attack, you may be able to recognize if it is a severe attack. Measuring the strength of your exhale with a peak flow meter is the most accurate way to assess severity of an asthma attack, however. If your peak flow is less than half your best value, you are having a severe attack.

The third step is to use a quick asthma reliever. The quickest way to relieve an asthma attack is by using a fast acing bronchodilator like albuterol. If the medicine fails to help you should immediately move on to step four.

Step four is to suppress inflammation. Bronchodilators only treat the constricted muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes. It is important to also treat the other part of the attack, the overproduction of mucus. To treat the mucus requires an anti-inflammatory medication, typically a corticosteroid. For a very severe attack, increasing the use of your inhaled steroid is not enough; you will also need to take prescription steroid tablets like prednisone or methylprednisolone.

The fifth step is to know when to call for help. Asthma attacks can be very dangerous if traditional treatment methods are not working. If you follow the first four steps of the asthma action plan and do not improve, it is vital that you get help immediately from family, friends, a doctor, or by calling 911 for emergency response.

Step six is practice. While it is important to have a plan for asthma attacks, it is also vitally important to practice your plan. The Special Health Report by Harvard Medical School also provides scenarios to help rehearse responses to different types of asthma attacks.


That's it for this edition of the ASA Newsletter. The next issue will be delivered on September 28, 2005.

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