Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Health Tips for March 3

Health Tip: How Serious is Your Asthma Attack?

If you have an asthma attack, it's important to be able to judge its severity.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers this information to evaluate the seriousness of your asthma flare-up:

  • A little bit of wheezing and mild difficulty breathing during activity indicates a mild asthma attack. When you sit, you should be able to breathe normally and speak in full sentences.
  • If you have trouble speaking, whether walking or sitting still, you're having a moderate attack. You may need to pause to take a breath just to finish a sentence. Loud wheezing when you exhale also is common.
  • If you are having a very hard time breathing, that's a sign of a more serious attack. You may also have trouble speaking just a few words without stopping to catch your breath, or feel tense or anxious.
  • Symptoms of extreme fatigue and confusion indicate a serious attack that needs more than just quick-acting asthma medicine. It requires a trip to the emergency room.

Health Tip: Breathing Polluted Air

When the air you breathe is polluted, it can cause symptoms such as labored breathing; irritated eyes, nose and throat; burning of the eyes; cough; and tightness in the chest.

To minimize these side effects of air pollution -- especially if you have heart or lung disease -- the American Academy of Family Physicians offers these suggestions:

  • When pollution levels are high, stay inside as much as possible.
  • If you must engage in outdoor activities, try to schedule them first thing in the morning or in the evening, after sunset.
  • When air quality is poor, don't exercise outdoors.
  • Avoid any outdoor activities that require you to exert yourself. Taking in more air also means breathing in additional pollutants.

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