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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Allergies and Asthma may be Closer than you Think

It is difficult for people who do not experience the symptoms of allergies or asthma to understand how troublesome and even frightening these two conditions can be. Both allergies and asthma occur when triggers from either inside or outside the body produce an exaggerated response of the immune system.

Allergies are often triggered by coming in contact with foreign substances from outside the body. Substances such as pollen or molds that cause severe allergic reactions in some people create no allergic response in others. Yet there are estimated 50 million people in North America, a population equal to 1/5 the entire population of the United States who are allergic to one substance or another. The economic impact of allergies on Americans is profound, with an estimated $10B spent on treating allergies or their symptoms annually.

How common are allergies and asthma?

The Center For Disease Control reports that asthma is also a prevalent condition among Americans. The number of people diagnosed with asthma has risen by 4.3 million people from 2001 to 2009, with nearly 50% of that increase occurring among black children. Asthma causes nearly 4,000 deaths on average each year, and costs of treating asthma reaches more than $50B each year. One can enumerate the impact of these two diseases in society, with more than $60B in medical costs, thousands of lives deeply affected or lost, and productivity and quality of life significantly hampered by dealing with allergy and asthma.

Common “natural” allergens include tree pollen, grasses, weeds, soils (such as mulch) as well as dust mites, pet dander and other lively irritants that can cause classic allergic reactions such as sneezing, sniffling, headaches, achiness and a rash of other symptoms.

What causes allergies and asthma?

Allergic reactions occur because the body produces a specific antibody, called IgE in a natural process designed to bind foreign substances introduced into the body. The IgE attaches itself to form of blood cell called mast cells that happen to be commonly found n the airways and gastrointestinal tract. The IgE attaching to the mast cells causes a string of chemicals to be released, including histamine, which causes most of the reactions in allergy and asthmas attacks.

How are allergies and asthma connected?

These same symptoms can be associated with asthma because the same form of chemicals (antibodies) are released from within the body to combat the supposed “invader”

It is important to recognize that for many people, the conditions known as allergies and asthma are essentially linked. The Allergy and Asthma Foundation reports that 25 million Americans (8% of adults and 9% of children) suffer from asthma and among these people more than 60% are allergic-asthma, meaning they have both conditions, making their lives both more difficult and risky.

Get informed on prevention and treatment

It simply makes sense to be informed on how to manage both allergies and asthma, especially now that the connection between the two conditions is so well recognized.

That means the first response should always be taking preventative measures to reduce the risks of allergens leading to the exaggerated immune response that trigger allergic and asthmatic reactions.

Fortunately there are many preventative steps one can take to “de-allergize” your personal environment. Here are a few ways to think about managing your risks of allergies and asthma.

Air purification

Using air purifiers is an important first step to help people control both asthma and allergies. Air conditioning and furnace filters can remove harmful allergens from the air. Controlling humidity can prevent molds from growing indoors. Managing and sweeping pet dander is vital to keep those allergens at bay. Keeping indoor plants to a minimum can prevent invisible molds from entering the atmosphere. Using a vacuum with sufficient filtration and UV ultraviolet light installed can cut down allergens and other airborne pathogens that can trigger allergies or asthma. Allergy masks can be vital for people who are susceptible to asthma and allergy attacks from airborne pathogens.

Asthma control devices

Asthma control devices are front-line prevention and treatment tools for people with asthma. Most patients keep devices like these readily available to regularly treat asthma symptoms and engage in preventative care. Nebulizers deliver asthma medicine in safe, effect ways. There are even pediatric nebulizers specially designed for children to take the anxiety and difficulty out of asthma treatment. 

Combined, these measures help you clean and control your environment to prevent allergies and asthma from occurring.

Waking up to allergy-free bedding

Allergy-free bedding eliminates risk of dust mites and pet dander in beds, sheets, covers, duvets and comforters. There is even an allergy free feather bed treated with Hyperclean technology so that you can enjoy the benefits and comfort of a really soft bed without risk of bringing on an allergic or asthmatic reaction. Otherwise these skin and lung irritants can trigger allergy and asthma attacks.

Hypoallergenic water treatment

Bath and body products are another line of defense against allergies such as chemical sensitivities, especially to chlorine in public water. Hypoallergenic bath and shower products reduce skin irritation by removing up to 99% of chlorine and other chemicals that can harm your skin and set off allergic reactions.

UV Sanitizers rid your environment of germs and allergens

Having clean air and a healthy living environment is key for allergy and asthma sufferers, and getting rid of molds and germs that can cause allergic responses is a great first step to better living. Using a handheld UV Sanitizer eliminates 99.9% of germs and allergens, even killing dust mites on the spot.

It all adds up if you think about it. Prevention is the better part of a cure if you suffer from either allergies or asthma, but especially if you are at risk for both. Taking control of your environment can be the key to a happier life.

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