May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

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Tess Thompson



Be Informed and Know that Natural Help is Available!

Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. This group wants it to be known that with proper diagnosis, prevention and treatments, there are no restrictions on what people with asthma and allergies can do in life. With proper management and education, people dealing with Asthma and Allergies can control the diseases and can live healthy, productive and normal active lives!

ASTHMA

Asthma is a disease of the lungs where the airways become blocked or narrowed causing difficulties in breathing. These effects are usually temporary, but they cause shortness of breath, breathing trouble, and other symptoms. Asthma is a chronic disease affecting nearly 20 million Americans. Worldwide, asthma prevalence ranges from 1.9 percent to 36.7 percent in various countries, according to the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Children.

Asthma is commonly divided into two types: allergic or extrinsic asthma and non-allergic or intrinsic asthma. Although asthma can cause severe health problems, treatment can control it and allow a person to live a normal and active life.

Allergic and non-allergic asthma are mainly chronic inflammatory diseases of the airways. This means that people with asthma have inflamed airways which causes two secondary symptoms: (1) The bronchi, the airway branches leading to the lungs, become overly reactive and more sensitive to all kinds of asthma triggers such as allergens, cold and dry air, smoke and viruses. Also, (2) the lungs have difficulty moving air in and out, which is called airflow obstruction. Together, these symptoms cause the tertiary symptoms the coughing, wheezing, tight chest and worse.

Asthma occurs when airways become temporarily blocked or narrowed due to exposure to allergens (“allergic asthma”), irritants, strenuous exercise, anxiety or other triggers. Symptoms include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tight chest
  • Wheezing or coughing

People with asthma have inflamed airways which are super-sensitive to things which do not bother other people and are called "triggers." Asthma triggers vary from person to person based on whether one has allergic asthma or non-allergic asthma, but some of the most common triggers include:

  • Allergens
  • Irritants in the air
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Exercise
  • Weather
  • Strong Emotions such as fear, anger or excitement
  • Certain medications

Asthma episodes do not always occur right after a person is exposed to a trigger. Depending on the type of trigger and how sensitive a person is to it, asthma episodes may be delayed. Each case of asthma is unique just like you.

Asthma doesn't have to impose any big limits on quality of life. An asthma management plan is important and something developed by you and your physician to help you control your asthma, instead of your asthma controlling you.

There are many things that can be done, including natural treatments, to take control of asthma and its symptoms to minimize any impact on life and activities. Asthma medications may be either inhaled or in pill form and are divided into two types—quick-relief and long-term control such as Native Remedies’ BioVent Drops (long-term control) and BronchoSoothe (quick-relief) which are 100% natural, safe and effective remedies for natural asthma relief and to assist with the management, control and prevention of asthma and can be a part of your asthma management plan.

Many, and in fact most, cases of asthma, particularly among children, have allergies as a major component.

ALLERGIES

Allergies are diseases of the immune system and are characterized by an overreaction of the human immune system to certain substances that usually cause no reaction in most individuals. “Antigens,” or protein particles like pollen, food or dander enter our bodies through a variety of ways. If the antigen causes an allergic reaction, that particle is considered an “allergen” – and antigen that triggers an allergic reaction. These are substances (or “allergens”) that are eaten (peanuts, shellfish, etc.), breathed into the lungs or inhaled (pollen, dust mites, etc.), injected (bee stings, certain medicines, etc.) or touched (poison ivy, latex, etc.). The immune system overreaction can result in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, skin rashes or hives, itching and itchy and scratchy nose and throat. In severe cases it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death.

Allergies are grouped by the kind of trigger, time of year or where symptoms appear on the body: indoor and outdoor allergies (also called "hay fever," "seasonal," "perennial" or "nasal" allergies), food and drug allergies, latex allergies, insect allergies, skin allergies and eye allergies.

More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from allergies. It is among the country's most common, yet often overlooked, diseases. Allergies are not only bothersome, but many have been linked to a variety of common and serious chronic respiratory illnesses (such as sinusitis and asthma). Additionally, allergic reactions can be severe and even fatal. Allergies have a genetic component. If only one parent has allergies of any type, chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have an allergy. If both parents have allergies, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have allergies.

There are no cures for allergies. Allergies can be managed with proper prevention and treatment. Good allergy treatment is based on the results of allergy tests, medical history, and severity of symptoms. It can include three different treatment strategies: avoidance of allergens, medication options and/or immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Some people don't take allergy medicines because they don't take their symptoms seriously and say "Oh, it's only my allergies.". The result may be painful and worse complications such as sinus or ear infections. Don't take the risk because there are other options available to treat allergy symptoms rather than the traditional allergy medications, allergy shots, or consulting an allergist.

There are many safe non-prescription medicines available to relieve allergy symptoms such as Native Remedies’ AllergiClear and SOS HistaDrops which are 100% natural, safe and effective herbal and homeopathic remedies to naturally clear allergies and protect against all Airborne and Seasonal Allergies, Allergic Rhinitis and Hayfever!

Parts of this article provided by Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) 2005 and 4 freshAAIR — Spring 2005 edition.

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