July 6, 1997 in Nation/World

Take Advantage Of Information Before It’s Too Late

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The day their daughter died, Bob and Deborah Kreb stopped at Safeway and spotted the free issue of “Allergy & Asthma” near the pharmacy.

In this pamphlet, they learned things they wish they had known earlier about managing asthma.

Doctors, national asthma organizations and government agencies are trying to make sure everyone has the information - before it’s too late.

The National Institutes of Health recommends asthmatics:

Be properly diagnosed with breathing tests and monitored with peak flow monitors. These are hand-held devices that allow people to check their lungs, and not just when they’re having an attack.

Have their environment tested and controlled, including allergy skin testing and shots when appropriate. At least 85 percent of children with asthma also have allergies, and about half of adults with asthma have allergies.

Testing helps asthmatics learn what triggers their disease, such as allergies to dust mites or cigarette smoke or infections like sinusitis. Sometimes asthmatics can remove the triggers, by getting rid of cats or encasing mattresses in plastic covers.

Have proper drug therapy. There are many drugs to treat asthma, but patients must take the right ones at the right times. Some drugs relieve an attack; others control the disease long-term.

New research suggests that asthmatics constantly experience lung scarring, even when they aren’t suffering serious attacks. That’s why it’s so important to use preventive medicine and stick with the drugs, even if patients are feeling well.

Educate family and friends about the disease. There should be a plan of who to call and when to call in an emergency.

, DataTimes

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