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Your Health- AllergensYour Health-Allergies-Asthma-COPD


The substances that cause allergic disease in people are known as allergens. “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 allergens can get into our body in several ways:
• Inhaled into the nose and the lungs. Examples are airborne pollens of certain trees, grasses and weeds; house dust that include dust mite particles, mold spores, cat and dog dander and latex dust.
• Ingested by mouth. Frequent culprits include shrimp, peanuts and other nuts.
• Injected. Such as medications delivered by needle like penicillin or other injectable drugs, and venom from insect stings and bites.
• Absorbed through the skin. Plants such as poison ivy, sumac and oak and latex are examples.

What Makes Some Pollen Cause Allergies, and Not Others?
Plant pollens that are carried by the wind cause most allergies of the nose, eyes and lungs. These plants (including certain weeds, trees and grasses) are natural pollutants produced at various times of the year when their small, inconspicuous flowers discharge literally billions of pollen particles.
Because the particles can be carried significant distances, it is important for you not only to understand local environmental conditions, but also conditions over the broader area of the state or region in which you live. Unlike the wind-pollinated plants, conspicuous wild flowers or flowers used in most residential gardens are pollinated by bees, wasps, and other insects and therefore are not widely capable of producing allergic disease.
Excerpt from Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. To learn more go to: www.aafa.org


What causes Asthma?
Since asthma has a genetic origin and is a disease you are born with, passed down from generation to generation, the question isn’t really “what causes asthma,” but rather “what causes asthma symptoms to appear?” People with asthma have inflamed airways which are super-sensitive to things which do not bother other people. These things are called "triggers."
Although asthma triggers vary from person to person based on if you have allergic asthma or non-allergic asthma, some of the most common include:
• Substances that cause allergies (allergens) such as dust mites, pollens, molds, pet dander, and even cockroach droppings. In many people with asthma, the same substances that cause allergy symptoms can also trigger an asthma episode. These allergens may be things that you inhale, such as pollen or dust, or things that you eat, such as shellfish. It is best to avoid or limit your exposure to known allergens in order to prevent asthma symptoms.
Excerpt from Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. To learn more go to: www.aafa.org


Breathing in mold can trigger an asthma attack. Get rid of mold in your home to help control your attacks. Humidity, the amount of moisture in the air, can make mold grow. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the humidity level low. Get a small tool called a hygrometer to check humidity levels and keep them as low as you can—no higher than 50%. Humidity levels change over the course of a day, so check the humidity levels more than once a day. Fix water leaks, which let mold grow behind walls and under floors.

Other Triggers

Infections linked to influenza (flu), colds, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can trigger an asthma attack. Sinus infections, allergies, breathing in some chemicals, and acid reflux can also trigger attacks.
Burning incense or candles, of any kind, can be a source of particulate matter, which may trigger an asthma attack in some individuals.
Physical exercise; some medicines; bad weather, such as thunderstorms or high humidity; breathing in cold, dry air; and some foods, food additives, and fragrances can also trigger an asthma attack.
Strong emotions can lead to very fast breathing, called hyperventilation, that can also cause an asthma attack.


What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases asthma.

What causes COPD?
In the United States, tobacco smoke is a key factor in the development and progression of COPD1, although exposure to air pollutants in the home and workplace, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also play a role. In the developing world, indoor air quality is thought to play a larger role in the development and progression of COPD than it does in the United States.

Who has COPD?
Chronic lower respiratory disease, primarily COPD, was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2011.2 Fifteen million Americans report that they have been diagnosed with COPD.3 More than 50% of adults with low pulmonary function were not aware that they had COPD4; therefore the actual number may be higher. The following groups were more likely to report COPD:3
• People aged 65–74 years.
• Non-Hispanic whites.
• Women.
• Individuals who were unemployed, retired, or unable to work.
• Individuals with less than a high school education.
• People with lower incomes.
• Individuals who were divorced, widowed, or separated.
• Current or former smokers.
• Those with a history of asthma.
Excerpt from the CDC; to learn more click on CDC below