Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Up in Smoke: How E-Cigarettes Can Aggravate Asthma and Allergies

Electronic cigarettes (also called "e-cigs" or "vapes") have become alarmingly popular among young adults on college campuses, and because of their candy-like flavors available, may be appealing to children and teens as well. Because they are being marketed as a safer alternative to tobacco-containing cigarettes, some smokers are turning to "vapes" thinking they are just inhaling water vapors and need not worry about damaging the lungs. However, there are chemicals such as propylene glycol in the vapors, which has been linked to increased risk of developing asthma and allergies, according to a 2010 study from Harvard School of Public Health.

Other concerns include the possible inhalation of aerosolized chemicals from the battery once the cartridge is empty, with unknown possible carcinogenic effects. Several lung societies are advocating restriction or bans on e-cigarettes until more is known about their safety.

Bottom line: if you have asthma, don't inhale anything other than clean air and your prescribed medications!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Is Air Quality Affecting Your Quality of Life?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) provides a daily score for air quality, based on the amount of pollution in the air. The Air Quality Index range runs from 0 to 500: the higher the score, the higher the air pollution, posing an increased risk to public health -- especially to sensitive populations like asthmatics.

Watch Dr. Marks-Cogan on ABC-7 News explain how air quality affects those with asthma and what to do to prevent any asthma flare-ups.


If you would like to find out the Air Quality Index in your area, click here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gillian's Success Story

(Photos and story provided by Gillian's family):

Since Gillian was roughly 3 years old, her mother noticed she had developed a slight cough, itchy nose and sneezing after actively playing outdoors or even after a family outing to Disneyland. Over time, her symptoms progressed into a harsh sounding cough as well as vomiting within a few hours of being put down for her night's rest. These symptoms persisted and developed into pneumonia at age 3 1/2. But antibiotics did not get rid of her coughing, sneezing, and itchy nose.  Physical activities brought on wheezing and difficulty breathing. Our pediatrician recommended seeing an allergy and asthma specialist, so we brought Gillian in to see Dr. Joyce Schoettler at South Bay Allergy and Asthma Associates and the rest is history.

After Gillian's first couple of visits, Dr. Schoettler was able to diagnose her various allergies and recommend a course of treatment. Since that time, Gillian has done very well in controlling her allergic and asthmatic symptoms, and remains very active in church choir singing, swimming, ballet & tap dancing, gymnastics and various outdoor activities. She turns 5 years old in September, and is looking forward to continuing all of her activities as well as having a very active year in Kindergarten.

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Do you have an inspiring success story to share?  We at South Bay Allergy and Asthma are so honored to be able to help unleash such great potential that is just waiting to flourish once allergies and asthma are out of the way.  Thank you for your story, Gillian -- we hope it will inspire others to address their allergies and asthma and be able to do what they love!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Are You in Control of Your Asthma?

If you have asthma, you can determine if your symptoms are under control by taking a simple, five-question Asthma Control Test. The results of this test are meant to be discussed with your healthcare provider to determine whether you are doing well with your current treatment plan, or if any changes need to be made. The goal of any successful treatment plan is to make sure you are in control of your asthma - and not let your asthma control you! Click here to take the test!

To discuss the results of your test with an allergist, click here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

“Asthma” Isn’t Such a Scary Thing


As the saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers," and May is National Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month! As we mentioned in our last post, those with asthma may have more signs and symptoms around this time of year if they also have seasonal allergic rhinitis.

“Asthma” — does that word scare you? It shouldn’t. One of the most common respiratory conditions affecting people of all ages is asthma, and new diagnostic tests allow for early identification and treatment.  If a doctor diagnoses you with asthma, it does not mean you will become a respiratory cripple, unable to catch your breath or exercise again. Contrary to the common belief that asthma dictates your lifestyle, asthma is usually very controllable with proper and early treatment. In fact, many Olympic and professional athletes who have asthma continue to win gold medals and championships with well-controlled asthma.  The importance of identifying this reversible condition, which affects about 10% of the U.S. population, lies in the prevention of more persistent symptoms through early treatment.  

Common signs of asthma include:

   frequent dry cough at night or in the early morning

   cough with exercise

   cough with laughter or talking

   cough when eating cold foods or drinking cold liquids

   chest tightness

   feeling like you cannot take a full breath

   pressure on the chest,  often described “like an elephant sitting on your chest”

   wheezing (a squeaky or musical noise emitted from the chest when exhaling)

It is important to first identify the specific triggers that cause asthma symptoms.  Whether it is a respiratory infection, an allergy or exercise that is causing the symptoms, treatment can be adjusted to suit your specific needs. Three out of four children with asthma are likely to have allergies as a trigger. Controlling your environment and limiting your exposure to allergic triggers helps to reduce daily symptoms and need for multiple medications.  

Today, the diagnosis of asthma is not a sentence to lifelong debilitating lung disease. On the contrary, early diagnosis allows for prevention of bronchial inflammation that could otherwise worsen over time. So don’t be afraid to find out if you or your child has asthma. Come in for an evaluation, and we will partner with you to track down the cause and create an individualized treatment plan that works for you. Please call our office at (310) 371-1388 or click here to request an appointment today!

For more information on Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, visit the CDC or Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ! You can also visit our webpage South Bay Allergy and Asthma.

Friday, April 18, 2014

When Pollen Attacks: Ways to Protect Yourself This Allergy Season

For people without springtime allergies, pollen may seem pretty harmless. However, to those with seasonal allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as “hay fever,” it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. Allergies to pollen can cause stuffy nose, sneezing, “drippiness” down the back of your throat, throat clearing, itchy, watery eyes, and even generalized tiredness. And if you have asthma, it can cause trouble breathing, coughing, and wheezing. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology provides some helpful tips to keep those symptoms under control. Click here to find out more!

And don't forget about all-year round indoor allergens, like dust mites, which can also trigger symptoms for allergic asthmatics. Watch our very own Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan on ABC-7 News with more tips to keep your allergy and asthma symptoms in check!