Vaccine Distribution In Canada
As part of the Canadian Thoracic Societys COVID-19 Respiratory Roundtable panel representing Canadians living with lung disease, Asthma Canada signed a joint statement titled Prioritization of Canadians with Lung Disease in COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout. Alongside other lung health organizations, Asthma Canada is urging federal, provincial and territorial governments to prioritize people living with lung disease who are at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 complications in the vaccination rollout. From Canadians living with a lung disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and pre- and post-lung transplant, there is widespread concern regarding when in the vaccine rollout in the provinces and territories they will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine.
We will continue to advocate for our community on this subject and will share more information as it becomes available.
What Is The Best Way To Live With Asthma
The key to good living with asthma is developing a strong partnership between patients, caregivers, and physicians. Practical steps include the following:
Make an asthma care management plan with your physician. An asthma management plan helps you understand what to do when specific situations arise. Each time you visit the physician, talk about your plan, and make any necessary changes.
Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest developments in asthma and allergy care and treatment. Ask your physician about new medications or research findings that may relate to your care.
Get regular medical care. If you have asthma, you should see your physician at least once a year, even if your symptoms are under control. When you become sick, or if you have significant changes in your health, you should also talk with your physician about how your asthma could be affected.
Take your medicine. Your asthma medications will make you feel better and sometimes people think thats the time to stop. Its not! Use your medications as prescribed.
With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled. Most people who develop adult onset asthma are able to lead normal lives. Expect success!
How Do I Handle An Asthma Flare
If you feel like a flare-up is about to happen, stay calm. Let people around you know what’s going on. Then remember your asthma action plan. That’s the written plan that tells you what to do next.
Stay calm and focus on what your asthma action plan says. Your doctor probably told you to use your quick-relief medicine, so do that first.
If you can figure out what triggered your symptoms , remove the trigger or yourself from the area. Sometimes that’s all you need to get your asthma under control again.
If a flare-up is more severe, you might need to get help.
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Why Is My Asthma Worse At Night
Asthma that gets worse at night is sometimes called nighttime asthma or nocturnal asthma. There are no definite reasons that this happens, but there are some educated guesses. These include:
- The way you sleep: Sleeping on your back can result in mucus dripping into your throat or acid reflux coming back up from your stomach. Also, sleeping on your back puts pressure on your chest and lungs, which makes breathing more difficult. However, lying face down or on your side can put pressure on your lungs.
- Triggers in your bedroom and triggers that happen in the evening: You may find your blankets, sheets and pillows have dust mites, mold or pet hair on them. If youve been outside in the early evening, you may have brought pollen in with you.
- Medication side effects: Some drugs that treat asthma, such as steroids and montelukast, can affect your sleep.
- Air thats too hot or too cold: Hot air can cause airways to narrow when you breathe in. Cold air is an asthma trigger for some people.
- Lung function changes: Lung function lessens at night as a natural process.
- Asthma is poorly controlled during the day: Symptoms that arent controlled during the day wont be better at night. Its important to work with your provider to make sure your asthma symptoms are controlled both day and night. Treating nighttime symptoms is very important. Serious asthma attacks, and sometimes deaths, can happen at night.
Does Asthma Come And Go
Yup. Asthma doesnt normally cause chest pain unless you are referring to your lungs hurting type of pain.
Im a life long asthmatic and for many many years my asthma went dormant and I only needed my albuterol inhaler every once in a great while.
Now Im on 2 maintenance inhalers, montelukast, albuterol, allergy med and Nasonex. My asthma has come out of hiding with a rage.
It sucks taking meds but its better than the mental, emotional and physical toll not being able to breath takes.
My advicethe more you know about what triggers your asthma and how your body reacts the easier it will be.
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Can You Outgrow Asthma
Those who have asthma are aware that the condition is incurable. However, there may be stretches of times where asthma attacks and other symptoms dont flare up. While these are nice periods of relief, this doesnt mean your asthma has disappeared. Instead, going months between episodes is a testament to your asthma management plan. Avoiding asthmatic triggers, taking your medication or a combination of the two is working well for you.
You may have heard of instances where children with asthmatic symptoms seemingly stop experiencing their symptoms, out of the blue. The children dont report any further breathing difficulties and go on with their lives. Is there some reality to this or is it just a myth? It is possible to outgrow your asthma? If so, how? Does everyone outgrow their asthma or is it just certain people? Why?
In this article, well answer all those questions and more.
Caring For Your Mdi And Chamber
For most MDIs, remove the canister and rinse the plastic holder with warm running water once a week to prevent the holes from getting clogged. Shake well and let air dry. There are some medications in which the inhaler cannot be removed from the holder. These usually need to be cleaned by wiping the mouthpiece with a cloth or cleaning with a dry cotton swab. Refer to the patient instructions that come with your inhaler.
Clean the chamber about once a week. Remove the soft ring at the end of the chamber. Soak the spacer in warm water with a mild detergent. Carefully clean and, rinse, and shake off excess water. Do not hand dry. Allow to completely air dry. Do not store the chamber in a plastic bag.
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Bronchodilation And Bronchoprovocation Tests
These tests gauge how well the lungs respond to either a quick-relief asthma medication or an intentional disturbance to normal airflow. They usually are done if spirometry is normal in spite of asthma symptoms.
- Bronchodilator responsiveness testing: A bronchodilator is a fast-acting medication that provides quick relief of asthma symptoms. This test involves administering a bronchodilater and, 10 to 15 minutes later, repeating an initial spirometry test and comparing the results. If the medication brings about an increase in airflow of 12%, it is an indication that asthma is the cause of symptoms.
- Bronchoprovocation challenge testing: This test involves inhaling either aerosolized chemicals or cold air, or performing exercises, to see if it induces asthma symptoms. By measuring lung function after exposure to these triggers, a doctor may be able to diagnose asthma.
Learn More About Asthma From Baptist Health
Asthma is a serious condition that requires treatment and monitoring. Your doctor can work with you to find the best ways to reduce your symptoms when they first appear or if they go away for a time and then return.
If you dont have a Baptist Health doctor yet, you can find one using our online provider directory.
NextSteps and Useful Resources
How Is Asthma Classified
Asthma is classified into four categories based upon frequency of symptoms and objective measures, such as peak flow measurements and/or spirometry results. These categories are: mild intermittentmild persistentmoderate persistent and severe persistent. Your physician will determine the severity and control of your asthma based on how frequently you have symptoms and on lung function tests. It is important to note that a persons asthma symptoms can change from one category to another.
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When Should I Go To The Er
Don’t be embarrassed to get medical help if you think you need it. These situations call for emergency care:
- You take your asthma medicine and your flare-up doesn’t get any better.
- You feel a little better after taking your medicine, but your symptoms come back quickly.
- You have frequent wheezing, a lasting cough, or chest pain.
- Your lips and fingernails are bluish or grayish.
- You have trouble breathing, talking, or walking.
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What Is Asthma Remission
Remission is different from treatment. Usually, the goals of treatment are to minimize attacks and control symptoms. But remission goes one step beyond this.
Remission is when symptoms decrease and or disappear completely for at least 12 months or more. There are generally two types of remission when we’re talking about asthma. Symptomatic remission means that symptoms stop occurring, while total or complete remission is when the underlying condition is no longer causing a problem.
Basically, the goal of remission is to control or manage symptoms so that they stop occurring with or without the need for treatment. Because symptomatic remission does not address the underlying cause of asthma, symptoms can return at any time, which is known as relapse. Total or complete remissionmeaning the patient no longer experiences asthma symptoms at allis also possible, but also means that the underlying issue is no longer causing symptoms.
According to information from a 2022 study published in the European Respiratory Journal, asthma can go away on its own naturally, and this is relatively common for people who have asthma as children. But even these people who have outgrown asthma may experience relapse later in life.
How Is The Condition Diagnosed
To diagnose asthma, your physician will question you about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and conduct lung function tests. You also may be tested for allergies.
Your internist or family physician may refer you to an allergist or pulmonologist for specialized testing or treatment.
After middle age, most adults experience a decrease in their lung capacity. These changes in lung function may lead some physicians to overlook asthma as a possible diagnosis.
Untreated asthma can contribute to even greater permanent loss of lung function. If you have any asthma symptoms, dont ignore them, and dont try to treat them yourself. Get a definitive diagnosis from your health care provider.
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Preparing For Your Gp Appointment
A little bit of preparation can help you to get the most of your first GP appointment. It may even speed up the process so you can get diagnosed more quickly.
Have answers at the ready
Think about your family history.
- Does anyone in your family have asthma?
- Does anyone in your family have allergies?
- Do you have any allergies, including eczema or hay fever?
Your answers to these questions could help your GP work out if asthma is more likely.
Keep a diary of your symptoms
Note down how often and when you have symptoms. For example, are your symptoms worse at night, early in the morning, or when youre at work?
Keeping a diary or a chart of your symptoms and triggers can help your GP or asthma nurse see the pattern of your symptoms. Seeing how your symptoms are over time helps your GP to know if asthma is more likely.
Film symptoms on your phone
Asthma can come and go, so you could have no symptoms when you go and see your GP.
Try filming yourself on your phone – or ask someone else to when youre having symptoms. Then you can show the GP or asthma nurse exactly what it was like, without having to try and describe it with words.
But dont delay getting help if symptoms are getting worse though!
Jot down your questions
Why Do People Get Asthma
Research has yet to show a definitive cause of asthma. However, researchers have determined several risk factors that can lead to asthma development.
Family History and Genetics
Children of mothers with asthma are three times more likely to suffer from asthma, and 2.5 times more likely if the father has asthma. More than 30 genes have been linked to asthma so far, and gene-gene interactions, gene-environment interactions and epigenetic modifications also play a part. Genetic differences also play a role in differences in response to treatment.
People are more likely to have asthma if they have certain types of allergies, such ones which can affect the eyes and nose. However, not everyone who has allergies will get asthma and not everyone who has asthma is affected by allergies. Respiratory allergies and some types of asthma are related to an antibody called immunoglobulin E , which the immune system produces in response to allergens. To protect the body, the IgE causes allergic reactions that can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin.
Children born before 37 weeks are at increased risk of developing asthma later in life.
Babies or small children may be at risk of developing asthma later in life if they had certain lung infections at a very early age.
Women can develop adult-onset asthma during or after menopause.
Environment Air Quality
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Know Why Infections Trigger Asthma Symptoms
Sometimes a virus or bacterial infection is an asthma trigger. For instance, you might have a cold virus that triggers your asthma symptoms. Or your asthma can be triggered by a bacterial sinus infection. Sinusitis with asthma is common.
Itâs important to know the signs and symptoms of respiratory tract infections and to call your health care provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment. For instance, you might have symptoms of increased shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or wheezing with a bronchial infection. In people who donât have asthma, the bronchial infection may not trigger the same debilitating symptoms. Know your body and understand warning signs that an infection might be starting. Then take the proper medications as prescribed to eliminate the infection and regain control of your asthma and health.
For more detail, see WebMDâs article Infections and Asthma.
How Do I Prepare For A Spirometry Test
Before your test, your healthcare provider may ask you to:
- Stop taking your breathing medicines for a short period.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing that doesnt squeeze your chest.
- Refrain from eating a large meal at least two hours before the test.
- Avoid any heavy exercise at least 30 minutes before the test.
These precautions will help ensure that your spirometry results are more accurate.
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Would You Prioritize People With Asthma For Vaccine Purposes
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the lungs. People with moderate to severe asthma can be put into the category of living with a chronic health condition. This is because of the relative risk of worse outcomes given that COVID-19 also affects the lungs.
I think that deciding which conditions are given vaccine priority is very difficult.
There are certain conditions that, when people with these conditions also have COVID-19, are very likely to lead to poor outcomes. These conditions include obesity, diabetes, and COPD. Asthma isnt one of these conditions.
Were not necessarily seeing higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in people with asthma. The study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine showed that.
At the end of the day, if you have severe and difficult to manage asthma and your lungs are inflamed at baseline, then you may theoretically not have a very good outcome with COVID-19. Thats especially true if your lungs are affected.
Unfortunately, we dont have national guidelines for this. In New York State, moderate to severe asthma is on the vaccine priority list. So, not for the people who have mild asthma.
Its for the people who have moderate to severe asthma, which means that theyre likely on a controller medication.
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Severe Asthma Attacks Can Be Life
Whether youre currently having mild, moderate, or severe asthma or no symptoms at all its important to keep in mind that asthma can be life-threatening. If you experience an asthma emergency, its important to get medical help right away. Signs of an asthma emergency include:
- Quickly worsening wheezing and shortness of breath
- No improvement after you use a quick-relief inhaler or other rescue medication
- Shortness of breath even with mild exertion or physical activity
Its also crucial to understand your condition and what your baseline symptoms are meaning how often they occur, how serious they are, etc. If your level of symptoms increases significantly, you should talk with your doctor. It may be that the medications you take to control your asthma and respond to attacks need to be modified. Your doctor can perform tests and make the necessary adjustments to your medications.
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