National Jewish Health

Dear Friend,

Fall LeavesFall is in the air, and so are some asthma-inducing allergens!  We've got some tips and tools to help you avoid asthma-related allergens and exercise triggers, and monitor your asthma symptoms.

Also in this issue, learn about allergy scratch tests and the new CT Lung Cancer Screening, which research has shown to be effective in early lung cancer detection for high-risk patients.

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Asthma InhalerMonitor & Maintain Your Asthma with Interactive Tools
Interactive tools, such as a Peak Flow Meter and Asthma Action Plan, can be used to help you monitor and manage your asthma symptoms on a day-to-day basis. Breathe easier by getting started with these free tools today.

Reduce Asthma Symptoms by Avoiding  Allergens
A variety of triggers can make your asthma symptoms worse, such as irritants, allergens, infections, exercise and weather. You can avoid allergen triggers with simple steps, such as the following:

  • Limit outdoor activities when higher pollen and mold counts are present, which is typically midday in the fall, and avoid wet leaves or trash
  • Wash all bedding in hot (130° F) water weekly to eliminate dust mite exposure
  • Do not use down comforters and pillows to avoid feathers
  • Wash bathrooms with a mold-preventing or mold-killing solution at least once a month
  • Choose a pet without feathers or fur such as fish, reptiles and amphibians and avoid visits to friends and relatives with feathered or furry pets

New Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives
Lung ScanIf you have a significant history of smoking, lung cancer could be a concern. Lung cancer is treatable and survivable if caught in the early stages. Recently released results of the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial showed the Lung Cancer Screening Chest CT to be an effective early detection test for those who are at high risk of lung cancer, which includes people between 50 and 75 years of age with a smoking history of 30-pack years. You can determine pack years by multiplying the number of packs per day times the number of years smoked, for example 30-pack years might be smoking 2 packs a day for 15 years, or smoking 1 pack a day for 30 years.

The test is a low dose Chest CT, or computerized tomography, which takes a series of pictures from several views inside of your body. The scan is done while lying down and holding your breath. There is no pain and the reduced radiation dose of this test makes it extremely safe. Currently, this test is not covered by private insurance, but is generally priced affordably and can help identify lung cancer at an early, treatable stage.

Ask an Expert:

Question: How can I avoid the triggers for exercise-induced asthma?

Answer: Almost all asthmatics have some degree of exercise-induced asthma. The differences between them are the amount of exercise that is required before someone has difficulty. Someone who is quite stable might not experience any difficulty at all unless extremely challenged. For those experiencing an infection with wheezing, it might take very little activity at all to cause difficulty. The main "trigger" for exercise-induced asthma is exercise. However, other factors (infection, allergy, changes in the weather) can make someone more sensitive to exercise. One way to deal with exercise-induced asthma is to pre-treat with a beta agonist right before activity.

Submit your own medical question with our Ask an Expert service.

National Jewish Health In The News

Could Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Help Asthma Sufferers?
ABC News covers a study that suggests an arthritis drug may be a new treatment option for patients with asthma. Dr. Harold Nelson, Allergist and Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health, comments on the importance of genetics in effectively treating patients with asthma. 

New Info on Our Site

Our health experts regularly review content on our website. Here are just a few of our most recent updates:

Do you have a question or an idea for a topic in the next e-newsletter? Or do you have a comment regarding this issue of Health-e-News? Please e-mail us at

Health-e-News is published by the Health Initiatives Department at National Jewish Health. This information is provided to you as an educational service. It is not meant to be a substitute for consulting with your own physician.

©Copyright 2011 National Jewish Health

September 2011

"I have had no asthma attacks, I sleep at night"
Margarita WellingMargarita Welling developed asthma three months into her pregnancy and spent the years following the birth of her son gasping for air and in and out of the hospital. After numerous tests, National Jewish Health physicians discovered that sleep apnea and pneumonia had worsened her asthma symptoms. With a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, Margarita is finally able to sleep at night and no longer suffers from asthma attacks. 

Donate now to help patients like Margarita.


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