Discover the ABCs of Asthma


Have you ever come across some young guy who starts wheezing when he visits someone who has a cat? Furthermore, some of you might have seen some old people who keep coughing and face difficulty in breathing. All these situations are indicative of the fact that these people are suffering from Asthma. An estimated 7-10 % of total world population is suffering from this disease and its prevalence in Western countries is far greater as compared to that in Eastern countries. In US alone, there are more patients of asthma than in most other countries in the world. Around 4,210 people die in United States every year due to this disease. Similarly, in United Kingdom, 5 % of the population is affected with this disease. Besides, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland also have huge number of Asthma sufferers.



Asthma is actually a chronic disease in which a person wheezes and finds it difficult to breathe because his airways become narrower due to inflammation and thus less air is passed to and from the lungs. Such a person is called “Asthmatic”.

When you see that a person nearby is wheezing, coughing and experiencing shortness of breath, he or she is most probably having an “Asthma attack”.


Which form of Asthma am I suffering from?

There are many criteria which are helpful in classifying asthma into different categories. These classifications are discussed below:

  • Extrinsic or atopic asthma: As its name tells, symptoms are precipitated by foreign particles (allergens).
  • Intrinsic or non-atopic asthma: Symptoms not precipitated by allergens but rather by some inner mechanism or factor that is present within in the body.
  • Based on severity: Asthma can also be divided on the basis of severity such as mild, moderate and severe asthma. For instance Brittle Asthma is a severe form of Asthma which is further divided into two types; Brittle Asthma I and Brittle Asthma II. Both the types are severe with Asthma II corresponding to sudden exacerbations.


How do I identify the condition?

Some of the common symptoms of asthma are as follows:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Breathlessness or difficulty in breathing
  • Tightness of chest


Why am I suffering from Asthma?

The most important factor in determining the cause of Asthma is genetics and inheritance. A person whose parents or either of them is suffering from the disease is more likely to be Asthmatic as he grows up. Also, there are environmental factors that contribute to the chances of getting affected with the disease. Some of these factors and causes are discussed as under:

  • Allergies: Children having allergies have greater chances of becoming Asthmatic.
  • Respiratory Infections: Viral respiratory infections can trigger asthma.
  • Medications: Some medications can bring about Asthma such as Beta Blocker Medications.
  • Tobacco smoke: Tobacco smoke, like much other harm, can trigger Asthma. Not only smokers but passive smokers and babies of pregnant mothers are at stake due to tobacco smoke. Babies whose mothers smoke are more likely to develop this disease if their mothers smoked during the pregnancy.
  • Stress: Recent studies suggest that stress can cause changes in immune system and thus a person gets vulnerable to the disease.
  • Atopic Diseases: People who suffer from atopic diseases such as eczema and hay fever are more likely to get affected by Asthma.


Is Asthma curable?

Despite scientific advancements and technological era, asthma is not totally curable. However, it can be taken great care of and is a fully “controllable” disease, thanks to advancements in medical and natural science.



If you have asthma, you need not to worry much. You should go to your doctor as there are many long-term control and quick-relief medicines available in the market. Moreover, you must be able to identify those factors which worsen your asthma and simply avoid your exposure to such elements.

Pet Allergies, Types and Treatment


Who doesn’t love animals? We all do and especially when it comes to children, they surpass all in their fondness. They get amused by animals and therefore, children are always willing to visit Zoo. It has been a usual trend for many decades to keep a pet animal in the house. In United States alone, half of the households have dogs or cats as their pets. It is never a problem to keep pets if you can take good care of them. Usually, pets are harmless. However, pets can be a source of serious irritation if a person starts developing allergies due to them. Pets never know if they are causing you a problem but you may get angry on your pet if it becomes a source sickness for you. An estimated 10 % of the population may be allergic to animals. Similarly, people, who are already suffering from other allergies, are more susceptible to develop pet allergies.

What is pet allergy?


Pet allergy, like other allergies, is simply our body’s response (also called “histamine reaction”) to proteins found in animal’s skin, saliva, dander or urine. In other words, it occurs when our bodies become hypersensitive because of some allergens found in the pets.

What causes pet allergy?

Cats and dogs are the most common pets everywhere. In United States, six out of ten people come in contact with either cat or dog. Therefore, dog and cat allergies are too common. However, cat allergies are twice as common as that of dog allergies. Dogs and cats shed dander which can cause allergic reaction. If your pet licks you, you may develop pet allergy because dogs and cats have protein in their saliva which is known to cause allergic reactions. Similarly, animal hair and fur are not deemed as allergens but they may trap other allergens such as dust and pollen and become a source of allergy for the person.

Five cat allergens have been described in medical literature. The two major allergens are Fel d 1 (secretoglobin) and Fel d 4 (lipocalin). The minor allergens include Fel d 2 ( albumin), Fel d 3 (cystatin), and cat IgA (Immunoglobulin A).

How is it identified?

Swelling, inflammation in eyes, itch, tearing eyes, coughing and stuffy nose are the common symptoms. Furthermore, your skin area licked by the pet can turn red or develop rash. While pet allergies are usually mild, pet allergies can aggravate the condition of asthma patients. Pet allergy is diagnosed by RAST (radioallergosorbent test) blood test. Other common diagnosis method is to add cat in patient’s environment several times to see the patient’s reaction.

How is pet allergy treated?

You can get rid of pert allergy by keeping those pets which don’t have fur, feather or a problem of dander-shedding. For instance, you may keep fur-free dogs or turtles as pet animals. Furthermore, if you still want to stick to cats or dogs, you may keep them outside your home. You should make sure that you wash your pets very often. Try not to come in contact with them. The most viable way of preventing yourself from pet allergy is to avoid exposure to the animal as much as you can. Prevent cats and dogs from entering your bedroom, vacuum floors, ventilate your living areas, use pet hair removing rollers on furniture.

And, you should also make sure you avoid bad foods such as sugar , corn syrup, alcohol, products from white flour and limit exposure to salt, coffee and other nervous system stimulants. Exercise and take rest.

Hay Fever – the Basics


We all remain afraid of getting sick and most of the time when we go to the doctor; we have a “fever”. However, unlike its name, “Hay Fever” is not caused by hay neither does it occur with typical symptom of fever i.e. increased body temperature. On the contrary, it is a form of allergy known as “Allergic Rhinitis”. It occurs when a person inhales pollen, dust or animal dander. Since it happens after inhalation, it results in allergic inflammation of nasal airways. Actually, grass and plants shed their pollens into the air which are inhaled by the people and they suffer from hay fever.

Hay fever is prevalent in Western countries. In Western countries, an estimated 10 – 25 % people suffer from hay fever annually. In America alone, 30 % Americans suffer from hay fever including 40 % of children. Both male and female genders are equally affected.


How do we classify Hay fever?

Hay Fever is classified into two main types:

  1. Seasonal Hay fever: It occurs particularly during pollen seasons, usually during spring and fall. Children below 6 years of age do not get affected by seasonal hay fever. Seasonal hay fever can be further classified as under:


  • Hay fever caused by Tree Pollen: It occurs during spring.
  • Hay fever caused by Weed Pollen: It occurs during fall.
  • Hay fever caused by Grass Pollen: It affects people at the end of the spring and during summer.
  • Hay fever caused by Fungi: It occurs in warmer seasons.


  1. Perennial Hay fever: Perennial Hay fever can occur throughout the year and younger children are more likely to get affected by it. It can last throughout the year depending on the presence of allergen itself.


  1. Local Allergic Rhinitis: It refers to the local allergic reaction in the nose to an allergen without systemic manifestations. When a person is tested for an allergy, results are negative but actually antibodies are produced in their nose and react with an allergen. Like general Hay fever, local Hay fever can also be classified into seasonal and perennial local allergic rhinitis. Symptoms are pretty much same as those of allergic rhinitis and they can vary from mild to moderate to severe.


How does Hay fever affect us?

People who suffer from hay fever are bothered by excessive nasal secretion along with nasal congestion and obstruction. Furthermore, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy nose and itchy throat are also common symptoms of hay fever. Symptoms of hay fever are dependent on the severity of allergy. For instance, in severe hay fever, findings indicate severe symptoms such as complete loss of smell and taste, blocked sinuses which result in facial pain and itchiness spreading to the ears and throat. Some people suffering from hay fever have also reported about experiencing insomnia and fatigue. Hay fever affects asthma patients so badly resulting in the increase of their breathlessness episodes. According to an estimate, every one in four people suffering from hay fever has asthma.


What are the risk factors?

Risk factors actually increase the person’s chances of getting affected with particular disease or condition. A person is likely to get affected with hay fever if he or she has following risk factors:

  • If parents or ancestors have had hay fever.
  • If he/she is younger.
  • If a child is regularly exposed to cigarette smoke.
  • If a child is born during high pollen season.
  • If a child is only child in his family, he is more vulnerable as compared to children with siblings.


What preventive measures should I take?

You can always cover your nose when you go outside. Moreover, keep your car windows closed and take all kinds of preventive measures you possibly could to avoid exposure to allergen.