Our provider Dr. Michelle Huffaker was part of the Stanford team that participated in the study below.
A summary of the results of Contra Costa County
by Orit Gourgy Hacohen MD, PhD
The American Lung Association recently published their annual report regarding the air quality in the United States. The current report utilizes data from 2011, 2012 and 2013 to grade the Ozone and Particle pollution levels in the different counties and metropolitans nationwide.
The results for Contra Costa County are:
Ozone levels – Grade C
24 hour particle pollution – Grade C
Annual particle pollution – Pass
Highlights for our county:
Compared to last year’s report (for the years 2010-2012) there were fewer high ozone days and the same amount of 24-hour particle pollution days (see below the color classification and explanation regarding the grading system).
Read the entire article here State of the air 2015
We have all been hearing about Enterovirus 68, a virus that can cause severe respiratory symptoms in children. The main symptoms this virus causes are increased cough, wheezing, and other lower respiratory symptoms. What does this mean for our children with asthma? The most significant take home point is to be prepared. The main things to have at the ready are a solid asthma action plan and up to date medicines to deal with the asthma flares. Asthma action plans use a step up in asthma medication to treat symptoms such as cough, wheezing, and lower lung function caused by respiratory infections or allergen exposures. Your health care provider can construct an asthma action plan for you or your child. Research has proved that asthma action plans can address asthma flares sooner and keep patients out of the hospital. Take a moment to see if you or your child has an up to date action plan and to ensure asthma medications are up to date. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs, causing shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It is an inflammatory disorder of the lungs and most forms of asthma have an important, underlying allergic component. Those with asthma often have “triggers” that lead to attacks or asthma symptoms; triggers may include mold, pollen, dust particles, pet dander, respiratory illness, air pollution (including smoke), and exercise.
Allergists are asthma specialists and have undergone rigorous training in its management. Principle to asthma management is identifying triggers, clarifying the diagnosis, addressing co-existing conditions interfering with asthma control and building the proper treatment plan. An allergist can test for allergic triggers and educate patients in managing allergic (and non-allergic) triggers, as well as provide regular care and follow-up for those suffering from asthma.
Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be a very useful treatment component for asthmatics, and allergists are specifically trained in the proper prescription and administration of allergy shots. There is also evidence that allergy shots can prevent the development of asthma in children.
Additional studies have shown that asthmatic patients who receive care by an allergist have reduced emergency room visits, reduced rates of hospitalization, decreased asthma symptoms and overall improvement in their asthma-related quality of life.
An allergist is a great resource for anyone who experiences asthma symptoms. Government guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)recommend seeing an asthma specialist, such as an allergist, if you:
- Have asthma symptoms every day and often at night that cause you to limit your activity
- Have had a life-threatening asthma attack
- Do not meet the goals of your asthma treatment after three to six months
- Are not responding to current treatment
- Have symptoms that are unusual or hard to diagnose
- Have conditions such as severe hay fever or sinusitis that complicate your asthma or your diagnosis
- Need more tests to find out more about your asthma and what causes your symptoms
- Need more help and instruction on your treatment plan, medicines or asthma triggers
- Might benefit from allergy shots
- Need treatment with oral or injectable steroids
- Have stayed in a hospital because of your asthma
- Need help identifying your asthma triggers
- Have a child with frequent or troubling asthma symptoms
At The Allergy and Asthma Medical Group our experienced allergists can help monitor your asthma symptoms, and keep the disease under control. We are able to perform pulmonary function testing in our office, and also are equipped to treat acute asthma attacks. While asthma cannot be cured, with the proper care and guidance it can be completely manageable.
The Allergy and Asthma Medical Group of the Bay Area has office locations in Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Brentwood, Pleasanton and Berkeley. Our Board Certified Allergists treat both adults and children. We offer extended office hours to accommodate patients with busy schedules.