Encouraging Your Child to Use a Nebulizer

October 24, 2012 by  
Filed under ASTHMA

Sillouette of Asthma

A nebulizer can be an effective method for giving your child his/her asthma medicine.  Typically, you’ll only need to use one for five to ten minutes to get a full dose.  All your child needs to do is stay still with the facemask strapped to their face (or holding the mouthpiece in their mouth, depending on the type of nebulizer you have) and breathe in normally.

Now, some parents may read this and think, “Ah, but there’s the problem.”  And indeed, it can be hard to get some children to stay still for five to ten seconds, much less minutes.  Also, holding a device up to their face for that length of time could potentially make them uncomfortable.  Here, then, are a few tips for persuading your child to use their nebulizer as often and as regularly as they need.



Set a specific time each day for your child to take their medicine and stick to it.  This will help condition your child to using the nebulizer regularly.


Positive Reinforcement

Praise your child for using the nebulizer correctly.  Remind them how using it will help keep them healthy and enable them to do more things.  You could also give them a small treat after they’ve finished using it.  Another good idea is to engage in some activity to make the time that your child is using the nebulizer more pleasant (read to your child, play some music, watch a DVD or a TV show, etc.).  If your child is older, encourage them to help you set up the nebulizer so they’ll feel more responsible and in control.


Make It Fun

If your child shows some reluctance, you can make a game out of using the nebulizer.  For instance, pretend that the facemask is a scuba mask or a jet pilot’s mask.  Encourage your child to decorate the nebulizer with stickers and possibly draw on it using non-toxic markers.  Of course, you should be careful not to do anything that could potentially damage the compressor, hose or facemask/mouthpiece.  Also, don’t do anything to the inside of a facemask.


Using a nebulizer doesn’t have to be a chore.  With a bit of planning and creativity, you help your child grow comfortable with using one and managing their respiratory problems.


Ken Stanfield is a writer and blogger who specializes in respiratory health and healthcare. He currently writes for the nebulizer systems supplier justnebulizers.com


May 3 is World Asthma Day 2011

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under ASTHMA

From the US Dept of Health and Human Services:

May 3 is a day to reflect on the impact of Asthma, a chronic lung disease that affects
people of all ages. In the United States, more than 22 million people are known
to have asthma. Nearly 6 million of these people are children. Read more about
the conditions of asthma and what is being done to improve the lives of those with the disease.

Read more about asthma research.


Bel Air, MD Chiropractic Health Tip of The Day

April 30, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!


www.RestoreLifeFlow.com 410-734-4060. Call Today! Christman Family Chiropractic. Michelle Christman discusses the one critically important aspect of health that Jack LaLanne failed to teach us about in his many years of wellness education.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

How asthma protects (yes!) you from cancer

July 21, 2010 by  

My family has a history of asthma. One of my sons is suffering from wheezing and eczema. How can I say that these are good things to have, that they are actually blessings in disguise.

But that is actually what this recent study by French Canadian researchers tells me. Their findings show that men who suffer from eczema had a lower risk for developing lung cancer. And those who suffer from asthma have a lower risk for developing stomach cancer.

But how can one health condition provide protection against another more serious condition? Study author Professor Marie-Claude Rousseau of the INRS–Institut Armand-Frappier explains:

Asthma and eczema are allergies brought about by a hyper-reactive immune system – a state which might have enabled abnormal cells to have been eliminated more efficiently, thereby reducing the risk of cancer.”

The researchers actually looked at exposures to occupation hazards and the risk for getting cancer. They checked 3000 male participants who have been diagnosed with cancer and compared to 512 people who did not have cancer. They specifically looked at the link between allergies and the incidence of the 8 of the most common types of cancer.

It is ironic to think that a bothersome condition such as allergy can have some benefits. Especially as both cancer rates and allergy rates are on the rise.

A recent estimate gives us the following figures: Allergy rates in the Western world in 1980 were 10%. Today it is 80%. Should this give us hope that our body is fighting back against cancer? It is really too soon to tell.

The study authors wrote:

These findings contribute important knowledge to population health and provide new research leads. Although the study did not allow to identify which specific factors related to asthma and eczema were responsible for reducing the risk of cancer, it offers new angles for research into the molecular and immunological mechanisms that are involved in immunostimulation, a potentially promising strategy for cancer prevention.

Chorioamnionitis, preterm birth, and asthma

February 22, 2010 by  
Filed under ASTHMA

Is asthma predetermined in the womb? The results of a recent study point to this. Chorioamnionitis is an infection of the uterine cavity caused by bacteria. When chorioamnionitis occurs together with premature delivery, which is very likely, the risk for asthma in the infant increases dramatically. And the risk increases even more among in children of certain ethnic groups. African American babies for example, have double the risk than other ethnicities, according to a report in the LA Times.

Let us take a look at some statistics from the report:

  • About 8% of pregnancies are affected by chorioamnionitis.
  • About 14% of American children are afflicted with asthma.
  • About 50% of asthma cases are hereditary.
  • African Americans have 25% higher incidence of asthma compared to other ethnic groups.

The study used data from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Matched Perinatal records of 510,216 singleton infants born between 1991 and 2007. The aim of the study was to examine the association between chorioamnionitis and childhood asthma based on gestational age at birth and race/ethnicity.

The results indicate that the combination of premature birth and chorioamnionitis greatly determines asthma development as children grow older. African American children have 98% higher risk of developing asthma before age 8 years. In Latin American children, the risk is 70% higher, and it is 66% higher among whites. No increased risk was found in Asian or Pacific Islander children. No increased risk was also found among kids who were born at full term.

About chorioamnionitis:

Maternal chorioamnionitis or simply chorioamnionitis is characterized by inflammation of the chorion and the amnion, the membranes that surround the fetus. Chorioamnionitis usually is associated with a bacterial infection. This may be due to bacteria ascending from the mother’s genital tract into the uterus to infect the membranes and the amniotic fluid (source Medicine.net).

There is indication that a large proportion of preterm births is directly or indirectly linked to some form of infection, including chorioamnionitis. Signs of placental inflammation have been observed in 42% of infants with extremely low birth weight infants.

The incidence of chorioamnionitis is difficult to determine but it is known to be higher in underdeveloped countries than in developed countries. Its occurrence declines as pregnancy advances toward term gestation. It is also estimated that 40 to 60% of all preterm births are associated with some kind of infection, including chorioamnionitis. The risk of chorioamnionitis depends on health conditions and behaviours but also on gestational age and socioeconomic factors such as economic status, and ethnicity.

Traffic pollution and wheezing

February 17, 2010 by  
Filed under ASTHMA

Wheezing in children is becoming more common. One of my sons suffers from wheezing since he was a baby. Although not considered to be serious, it is nevertheless not a nice sound to hear. Butwhat is wheezing?

Mayo Clinic experts define wheezing as “a high-pitched, whistling noise that usually occurs with exhaling.”

Other signs of wheezing are:

Wheezing is a symptom of asthma but it is not always due to asthma. However, it can be the start of asthma. Studies have shown that babies younger than 1 year who suffer continuously from wheezing for two years have significantly increased risk for asthma, say by age 3. But what causes wheezing?

According to University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, wheezing can be triggered by

  • Toxic fumes generated by traffic
  • Exposure to allergens indoors

Levels of traffic-related fumes were measured based on the locations of homes and day care and their proximity and exposure to vehicular traffic. Indoor levels of endotoxin in these locations were measured from collected dust samples. Aside from household dust, endotoxins can also come from dog dander and exposure to other pets.

The researcher also found that the combination of the outdoor and indoor types of triggers seems to worsen the wheezing. Called coexposure, traffic fumes and indoor endotoxics seem to have a synergistic effect on persistent wheezing in small children.

According to Dr. Patrick Ryan who led the study:

“The prevalence of wheezing increased to more than a third – 36 percent of those children.”

So when does wheezing becomes full-blown asthma? Unfortunately, diagnosis of asthma in children under 5 is somewhat difficult. However, the following can be good indications of asthma according to Mayo Clinic experts:

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • 16.4 million non-institutionalized American adults (7.3%) had asthma in 2008.
  • 7.0 million American children (9.4%) had asthma.
  • 3,613 people died of asthma in 2006, an equivalent of 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • 10.6 million visits to doctors in 2006 were due to asthma. Of these 444,000 resulted in hospitalization with asthmas first-listed diagnosis. The average duration of hospital stay was 3.2 days.

Swimming: good or bad for asthma?

December 21, 2009 by  
Filed under ASTHMA

It’s been freezing outside for days and the kids have eventually lost the enthusiasm for snow games. Now, what can we do in terms of exercise? The answer is swimming in indoor, heated swimming pools.

Aside from being a well-rounded physical exercise, swimming has been proven to be beneficial for those with asthma. An article in the journal Respirology reports that swimming is an effective non-pharmacological intervention against asthma for children.

The study by Taiwanese looked at school children aged 7 to 12 years old who were suffering from asthma. The study participants were split into 2 groups – one group received regular pharmacologic asthma treatments, the other underwent a six-week swimming program on top of their routine treatments.

The study results showed that

  • There were significant improvements in symptoms, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and school absenteeism the study participants.
  • There were also improvements in severity of asthma, mouth-breathing, snoring, chest deformity, self-confidence and general feelings of disadvantage among the participants.

According to lead author, Wang Jeng-Shing from the Taipei Medical University:

“Unlike other sports, swimming is unlikely to provoke asthma attacks. In addition to improving asthma, swimming promotes normal physical and psychological development, such as increasing lung volume, developing good breathing techniques and improving general fitness.”

“Not only is swimming an excellent form of exercise for children with asthma, the health benefits reaped continued to be observed for at least a year after the completion of the swimming program.”

However, swimming is not without its risks. Another study revealed that babies who start “swimming” before the age of 6 months are at an increased risk for developing asthma in childhood.

The Norwegian study looked at the data of about 30,000 participants of the Norwegian Mother and Child Study (MoBa) at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). The study revealed that:

  • 25% of children in the study started baby swimming between the age of 3 and 6 months.
  • There were differences observed with respect to lower respiratory tract infections, middle ear infection (otitis media) or tightness and wheezing in the chest between babies who went swimming at before the 6th month and those who did not.
  • A significant difference was found among children of mothers with asthma or allergies. 47% of these children who went swimming before the age of 6 months had tightness or wheezing in the chest compared to 44% who did not go swimming at such an early age.

I myself had enrolled my twin boys in a baby swimming program when they were aged 3 months. One of them developed wheezing a couple of months later. I do have a family history of asthma and allergies but I don’t know whether the swimming caused my child’s problem or not. However, my boys participated in a regular swimming course at age3.5 years and I definitely noticed and improvement in my wheezing son’s respiratory health. Again, I can’t be sure whether it’s swimming or other factors that caused the improvement.

So what is the link between swimming and wheezing?

Earlier studies indicated that there can be a link between baby swimming and airway infections in children. It has been suggested that indoor environmental factors (airway irritants) such as volatile chlorination products for indoor swimming pools can affect lung epithelium and contribute to the development of respiratory illnesses like asthma among children.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

TV time and asthma

December 16, 2009 by  
Filed under ASTHMA

TV addictToo much “screen time” for children is not healthy. Many research studies have shown this again and again. Time spent in front of the TV or the computer screen is sedentary time and this lack of physical exercise has been shown to cause obesity and cardiovascular problems in children, adolescents and adults. Now here is another good reason to decrease “screen time” – TV time has been associated to increased risk of developing asthma. These findings are based on data of more than 3,000 children whose respiratory health was followed up from birth up to 11.5 years of age. This group of children is a subgroup of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which has been following the long term health of 14,000 children and their parents in the UK.

The study monitored the respiratory health of the children, including symptoms of wheezing and asthma as well as lifestyle, including TV viewing habits.

The results of the study shows that

  • 6% of children who had no asthma at age 3.5 years developed the respiratory problem at the age of 11.5 years.
  • Children who spent more than two hours in front of the TV each day have double the risk of being diagnosed with asthma compared to those who had less screen time.

What is the link between TV time and asthma? The link is poorly understood but may be due to sedentary behaviour.

The authors believe that

the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and asthma is complex. But they point out that recent research has suggested that breathing patterns in children may be associated with sedentary behaviour, sparking developmental changes in the lungs and subsequent wheezing.

The results of the study are alarming especially since it only monitored for time spent watching TV. Since the study started in the 90s, screen time due to computer and video game use was not included in the study as they were not widespread then. However, with the rapid developments in technology, almost every adolescent in the developed world has a personal computer and/or a game console. Thus, screen time for children today is most likely more extended that it was 10 or 15 years. Unfortunately, more screen time means less physical activity, more sedentary time – and yes, more health problems. Obesity in children is on the rise. Asthma, too. Now we know why.

US is best in cancer care but bad in others

October 14, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

health medicalGood news for cancer patients in the US, bad news for those with diabetes and asthma.

Mark Pearson is the head of the health division at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and he testified before a Senate Committee in September on how US health care compares to other OECD members (a total of 30, mostly developed countries).

He revealed in his testimony that US health care is very strong in cancer treatment but lags far behind in treating two very common chronic conditions: diabetes and asthma.

Taking the example of breast cancer, patients have the highest chances of survival in 5 years in the US (90.5%), followed by Canada, Japan, and France. All these countries have 5-year survival rates for breast cancer above the OECD average of 81%. In colorectal cancer, US ranks third after Japan and Iceland.

However, the US ranks quite low when it comes to diabetes and asthma. Lower limb amputations due to diabetes is very common in the US at 36 amputations per 100,000 people. This is more than twice the OECD average of 15. On top of the rankings are Austria (7), South Korea (8), and the UK (9). Hospitalization due to diabetes complications is 57 per 100,000 in the US, again more than double the OECD average of 21. The Netherlands has an incidence of 8.

According to Pearson (Source: MarketWatch Blog):

“Other countries are managing to pick up diabetes earlier, avoiding lower-limb amputations, preventing obesity even. All these things the [U.S.] health system could do something about if it was structured differently.”

Asthma management is also another field where the US seems to lag behind. US hospitalization due to asthmas is highest at 120 per 100,000 compared to the OECD average of 51.

Management of stroke and heart disease in the US is about average compared to other OECD countries.

Pearson’s testimony summarizes:

The United States stands out as performing very well in the area of cancer care, achieving higher rates of screening and survival from different types of cancer than most other OECD countries. At the same time, many other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada, are doing much better than the United States in providing good primary care to their population, thereby reducing the need for costly hospital care for chronic conditions such as asthma or complications from diabetes which should normally be managed outside hospitals.

Coming next in Battling Health Care: More about Pearson’s testimony (Title: Disparities in health expenditure across OECD countries: Why does the United States spend so much more than other countries?)

Parental stress and children’s asthma

October 14, 2009 by  
Filed under STRESS

It is a well-known fact that asthma attacks are triggered by air pollution, especially among children. A recent study by researchers at the University of California sinhalerhows that another factor exacerbates asthma risk among children already suffering from dirty air. And this factor is parental stress.

The authors tell BBC:

“These results suggest that children from stressful households are more susceptible to the effects of traffic-related pollution and in utero tobacco smoke on the development of asthma.”

The link between stress and asthma many have a biological explanation. Previous studies have shown that :

  • Maternal stress during pregnancy is linked increased risk for developing asthma and other allergies in children.
  • Maternal smoking during pregnancy and after delivery also contributes to children’s asthma risk.
  • Direct stress trigger also triggers asthma attacks in both children and adults.

The current study looked at 2,497 primary school children who initially did not have asthma  in Southern California and followed them up for 3 years. The children were monitored for the development of asthma, asthma risk factors  in their immediate environment (traffic pollution, second hand smoking) and psychosocial factors such as parental education, income, and stress levels.

Children exposed to air pollution and second hand smoking (especially maternal smoking) had a higher risk of developing asthma. However, high levels of stress in the family seem to have a compounding effect on asthma. The children who were especially affected were those who described their parents as „stressed“ and their lives as „unpredictable”, “uncontrollable” or “overwhelming“.

The authors believe that stress adds to the inflammatory effects of air pollutants.

According to Elaine Vickers of Asthma UK:

“This study adds to existing evidence suggesting that a child’s environment can impact on their risk of developing asthma.
For example, smoking during pregnancy, traffic pollution and stress in the home may all have harmful effects.
We know that smoking during pregnancy significantly increases a baby’s risk of having breathing difficulties and that children whose parents smoke are 1.5 times more likely to develop asthma, so Asthma UK strongly advises parents to avoid smoking around children and young people, especially in the home.
One in 11 children in the UK has asthma so studies like this are vital, as they provide an insight into the factors influencing asthma development and therefore how it might be prevented.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.