Work-Related Asthma in Utah

30 03 2010

Work-related asthma is asthma that is caused or triggered by conditions or substances in the workplace. There are various occupations within the state of Utah that put people at risk of receiving work-related asthma.  These include and are not limited to animal handlers, farmers, bakers, food processors, and health care workers.

The Asthma Program in Utah recently did a study or report on the prevalence of work-related asthma in Utah and the the overall risk.  Some of the main findings were:

* More than twice as many males (12.9%) reported having told a health professional their asthma is work-related when compared to females (5.0%)
* Approximately one-fifth of adults who have ever been diagnosed with asthma reported having left a job because it caused or worsened their asthma symptoms (22.1%).
More adults in the <$20,000 (44.8%) and $20,000-$49,000 (36.3%) income brackets report having to quit or changed their jobs because it caused or worsened their asthma than those in the $50,000+ bracket (8.2%)

Work-related asthma continues to be a health concern in Utah, especially among those who are exposed to chemicals or other triggers associated with work-related asthma. The Utah Asthma Program has advised that it is important to identify those occupations at high risk for work-related asthma and work to reduce exposures and properly protect individuals from developing work-related asthma.  To learn more, click here.


Utah Asthma Telehealth Series

26 03 2010

This is an interesting activity that has been coordinated by the Utah Asthma Program.  The Telehealth series is intended to help keep professionals educated on the newest discoveries in asthma treatment.  Also this program focuses on educating the professionals in helping their asthma patients learn to control their asthma symptoms.  It is important that health professionals that come in contact with asthma patients are aware of the new discoveries in asthma research so that patients receive the best care possible.

The Asthma Telehealth Series has already begun and you can still join today.  On the first Tuesday in May, August, and November from 12-1:00 p.m, professionals interested can participate through a number of communication mediums.  Professionals can reach the education series via video-conference, telephone, and web-streaming.

Here is the tentative schedule:

May 4th: Diagnosing Asthma Severity

August 3rd: Asthma and Air Quality

November 2nd: Childhood vs. Adult Onset Asthma

To participate, professionals need to register online by clicking here.

Open Airways

25 03 2010

Asthma is the leading cause of missed school days attributed to a chronic condition, which accounts for more than 12 million missed school days each year.   In Utah, a program called “Open Airways for Schools” has been established to help empower children with asthma who do not know how to manage their asthma properly.

It is a program specifically focusing on school children that are ages 8 to 11 with asthma.   The program helps the children understand how to detect the warning signs of asthma and how to prevent asthma attacks.  Through six, 40 minute lessons taught during or after school, volunteers educators empower children to better manage their asthma through group discussions, stories, games, and role playing.

Parents, if you would like your child to participate in the “Open Airways for Schools” program, please contact the American Lung Association in Utah at 801-484-4456 to see what you can do to help get this program started at your child’s school.

The Coach’s Asthma Clipboard Program

22 03 2010

Did you know that nationally up to 15% of athletes have asthma?  That is about one to two players on any given team.  This asthma program is intended to focus on coaches, referees, physical education teachers, and any other person involved with sporting activities.  The Winning with Asthma Program helps teach coaches about asthma, how it affects an athlete’s ability to compete, and how the coach can play a vital role in helping athletes manage their symptoms.

This program has created an online 30 minute educational video (including Utah Jazz  coach Jerry Sloan) to help any athletic coach or P.E. teacher learn about proper asthma medication, ways to prevent exercise-induced asthma, steps to take when athletes experience an asthma attack, etc.  Those who complete the program receive a booklet with additional asthma information and a coach’s clipboard with “What to do during an asthma attack” printed on the back.

Check out the program here

Creating an asthma action plan

20 03 2010

For those that have asthma, whether children or adults, an asthma action plan is essential to prevent worsening of your symptoms and asthma attack.   The key to a successful asthma action plan is to monitor your asthma daily and have the right medication at the right time.  Parents play a critical role in helping their child with their action plan.

No doubt, asthma attacks can be frightening to the victim as well as to parents, friends, people who witness the attack.  An asthma action plan can help you “recognize early warning signs of an asthma attack.”  It can also be used to know when you would need to adjust asthma treatment (medicines), “keep tabs on how well treatment is working”, and know when you would need to seek medical help.

According to, you need to include important topics in your plan.  Most action plans include clear and simple instructions on how to:

  • Manage your child’s medication
  • Track your child’s long-term asthma control
  • Recognize and treat an asthma attack
  • Take action based on peak flow readings
  • Know when to seek emergency care
  • Help your child avoid asthma triggers.

Due to the fact that every person with asthma varies in asthma severity, it is important to consult your doctor to make an asthma action plan.  Once you have developed a written action with the doctor, make sure that you give the written plan to those that are socially in contact with the asthma victim.  Asthma action plans is just another way to treat and control one’s asthma.  You can download a sample asthma action plan here.

Can family mealtime help children with asthma?

17 03 2010

Children with asthma are at high risk for separation anxiety.  Why? According to Barbara H. Fiese, a professor of human and community development at University of Illinois, “it makes sense that children that have difficulty breathing might be anxious and prefer to keep their parents, who can help them in an emergency, close by.”  But with a new study published by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, a simple home remedy can be easily implemented-regular family mealtimes.

Fiese said that, “In this study, we identified one important practice that makes a difference. Supportive interaction during family mealtimes helps increase a child’s sense of security and eases separation anxiety symptoms.  And, when children are less anxious, their lung function improves.”    The family plays a critical role in helping children emotionally manage their asthma symptoms.  It is through an organized environment in the home, such as having daily mealtime with family, that children with asthma may put a child at ease.

So parents that have children with asthma, make sure you make it a priority to have daily family mealtime. It will help your child from the negative effects of separation anxiety and will improve their lung function.  To read the whole news article about the study click here.

Breakthrough Asthma Treatment

13 03 2010

Within this month, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported on a new therapy for severe asthma patients.   This new therapy would only focus on asthma patients that face complications with the “normal” methods of medications such as cortical steroids or inhalers.  It is a more direct method to help alleviate the contraction of the bronchial tubes.  The treatment is called bronchial thermoplast.

How does it work?  The therapy allows the medicine to go down into the windpipe, into the bronchial tubes, and delivers a controlled amount of heat to the lining of the windpipe.  The treatment will abstain those muscles from tightening which inevitably cause shortness of breath and wheezing.

The benefits of the therapy is that it is only three treatments with no hospitalization stays.  Asthma symptoms could flare up for 24 hours but within a week their generally gone for good.  A study was done on the new therapy and overall, it proved to be very effective and efficient.

This could very well be a major breakthrough for those with serious asthma.  But there are always risks to be considered with any new treatment.   It is important to do extensive research on this new therapy by visiting its Alair website.

Watch the whole news report from CNN below