Allergies and Asthma Awareness
Allergies and asthma, which typically start in childhood, are by far the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States. Consider the following statistics:
- More than 17 million Americans have asthma, and about one-fourth of these are younger than 18 years. Asthma accounts for about 4,000 deaths a year.
- 70 to 80 percent of school-aged children with asthma also have allergies, which are among the most common triggers for asthma, closely tied with viral respiratory infections.
- If one parent has allergies, there is a 25 percent chance that a child will also be allergic. The risk is more than doubled to 60 percent to 70 percent if both parents have allergies.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are reactions that are usually caused by an overactive immune system. These reactions can occur in a variety of organs in the body, resulting in diseases such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.
Who Is at Risk?
Although allergies can develop at any age, they most commonly show up during childhood or early adulthood.
When to Suspect an Allergy
Allergies can result in various types of conditions. Some are easy to identify by the pattern of symptoms that invariably follows exposure to a particular substance.
- Patches of bumps or itchy, red skin that won’t go away.
- Development of hives – intensely itchy skin eruptions that usually last for a few hours and move from one part of the body to another.
- Repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and throat clearing, that last more than a week or two, or develop at about the same time every year.
- Nose rubbing, sniffling, snorting, sneezing, or drippy nose.
- Itchy or watering eyes.
- Itching or tingling sensations in the mouth and throat.
- Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory symptoms.
- Unexplained bouts of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and other intestinal symptoms.
How is Asthma Associated with Allergies?
Although allergies can trigger asthma and asthma is often associated with allergies, they are actually two different things. In simple terms, asthma is a chronic condition originating in the lungs, whereas allergies are reactions that originate in the immune system and can affect many organs, including the lungs.
Many different substances and circumstances can trigger an asthma attack – exercise, exposure to cold air, a viral infection, air pollution, noxious fumes, tobacco smoke, and for many asthma sufferers, a host of allergens. In fact, about 80 percent of children with asthma also have allergies. Although allergies are important in triggering asthma, severe asthma exacerbations are often set off by the good old common cold virus, totally unrelated to allergy.
General Grilling Safety Tips
- Only use propane and charcoal BBQ grills outdoors.
- Place the grill away from the home, deck railings and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always turn off the propane tank when not in use.
Propane Grills Safety Tips
Check the major connection points: between the gas (propane) tank hose, regulator and cylinder and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
Check the gas (propane) tank hose for potential (gas) leaks.
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
- Turn on the propane tank. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
- If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
- If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the leak does not stop, call the fire department immediately.
Charcoal Grills Safety Tips
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.