A runny nose, sore throat and a cough, followed by a fever and body aches. These are just some of the symptoms of the dreaded bacterial and viral illnesses that spread from person to person, mostly during certain times of the year. Depending on how bad a particular virus or bacteria is and how strong someone’s immune system is, they can be dangerous. Seniors and small children can have the most complications with a respiratory infection, as well as people with chronic lung diseases such as COPD and asthma.
After the onset of a respiratory for someone who has COPD, it might seem like any other cold, but it can then turn into a full-blown exacerbation and lead to acute bronchitis or pneumonia if it’s not treated quickly and properly. Most of the time, a doctor will have it treated with an antibiotic and include the use of a corticosteroid and extra oxygen therapy.
Being diagnosed with COPD isn’t necessarily a death sentence, or even a sentence to a lower quality of life for the rest of your years. There are many factors to take into account if you want to know how life threatening your case of COPD can be. Thankfully, there are also a few ways that you can take care of yourself and prevent exacerbations, which are flare-ups in the lungs that can be particularly dangerous.
An exacerbation in someone with COPD can cause damage that cannot be reversed. In comparison, when someone with asthma has an exacerbation, the lungs can be treated with medication and removal of the asthma triggers and the lungs won’t retain any damage, they will just go back to being as close to normal as asthmatic lungs can get. In someone with severe COPD, on the other hand, it can be life threatening if there are other risk factors involved.
The findings of a study conducted at the University of Massachusetts, published on March 5, 2013 in the online journal PLOS Biology, say that taste receptors found in the airways (not just the tongue, the airways) are stimulated by bitter substances. Dr. Ronghua ZhuGe, the study’s author, stated that he hopes the results of the study will help in the development of a new kind of bronchodilators that are more natural and do not have the side effects of the ones we commonly use.
The theory behind why these taste receptors are in the membranes of our airways, is that they are there to to help protect us from breathing in harmful chemicals. For example, if we accidentally breathe in the fumes of a strong cleaner, like bleach in a high concentration, these receptors pick it up and once we have sensed the offending fumes, we can avoid them.
During an asthma attack or a COPD exacerbation, the soft muscles in the airways constrict, making it harder to breathe. The researchers discovered that when the membranes of the airways, where these taste receptors are located, came into contact with the bitter compounds, the muscles would relax and the airways would open up again, enabling normal breathing.
Usually, there is no real cause for alarm when it comes to the spread of new, life-threatening diseases. Most of the time, these viruses or bacteria spring up and are taken care of quickly by containing people in the area where they have broken out, and it begins to die down. With today’s medical technology and knowledge, we are much more capable of preventing the widespread diseases that used to plague mankind.
Knowing that these diseases exist is important. It’s important to know where they are, the symptoms and how they spread, so that we can avoid them and properly treat them as quickly as possible. Another reason we should stay informed, is so we don’t unnecessarily panic when we do hear about them.
In 2012, Saudi Arabia and other countries saw an outbreak of a disease doctors have called the new “coronavirus”, which is an illness that closely resembles the SARS outbreak from 2003. “SARS” is an acronym that stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
You probably remember the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003, which originated in the Guangdong Province of Southern China. SARS closely resembles the common influenza virus in its symptoms, but it is deadly to people of all ages, with or without existing health conditions. Like the flu, it can easily lead to pneumonia. The SARS outbreak was one of the worst widespread diseases of the modern age, killing 774 out of the 8,098 people who were diagnosed, and it was reported from 37 countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) believed the reason this disease spread the way it did, was because it wasn’t immediately reported by the Chinese government, which tried to takes its own measures to contain it. The first case of SARS was in November of 2002, but the WHO wasn’t notified until February of 2003. During these four months, the sickness was able to spread to 36 other countries. Cases were reported in Toronto Canada, with 4 in the United Kingdom and 8 confirmed in the United States.
Luckily, cluster headaches are rare and generally effect only about 1% of the population, or less than 1 in 1,000 people. Cluster headaches are known to be very painful and are often referred to as “alarm clock headaches”, because they can be so intense that they can wake people up in the middle of the night.
Men are more likely to get cluster headaches, about 2 to 3 times more likely than women. Cluster headaches can happen to anyone at any age, but are more likely to start at a young age and peak around the ages of 40 for men, and the age of 60 for women. Luckily, there are several effective ways to treat cluster headaches, one of them being oxygen therapy.
Cluster headaches get their name from the way they occur in groups during a time period. They will happen in groups of about 8 and come and go during a time span of around 2 or 3 weeks. They have been known to be even more painful than migraines, and the one that happen during the night are known to be the worst.
The need for oxygen therapy and a wide range of medications used to treat lung conditions are most often based on your blood oxygen level. A constant and rapid exchange needs to take place with the two gases in our blood – oxygen and carbon dioxide. We don’t think about it most of the time, because we really have no conscious say in the matter, it’s just something our bodies do to keep us alive. Once we consider how important these two gases are in our bodies, we can take certain steps to make sure we have the proper amounts of oxygen.
How do I find out how much oxygen is in my blood?
If you’ve ever been to the hospital with a breathing problem, they most likely put a pulse oximeter on your finger or clamped one on your earlobe. These are one tool used to read the level of oxygen in your blood at any point in time. If you have a chronic lung disease like COPD and you need to use an oxygen concentrator on a regular basis, it might be a good idea for you to have a pulse oximeter at home to keep a close eye on your blood oxygen content. The home pulse oximeters are light, wireless and easy to read and use.
If you are shopping for a home oxygen concentrator, you should check out the Perfecto 2 model by Invacare. Aside from having all of the features as other top of the line oxygen concentrators, it is one of the smallest and easiest on which to perform basic maintainance.
People who have purchased the Invacare Perfecto 2 love the fact that it is quiet and inconspicuous. It is also on the more affordable end of the price scale when it comes to home oxygen concentrators. As with any oxygen concentrator that you purchase, your doctor or your equipment supplier will help you if you need it. It will also come with an owners manual that you can consult, first.
Some of the main things people want in an oxygen concentrator are ease of use, a small size and weight and a long battery life. The Eclipse 3, a portable oxygen concentrator by SeQual, offers those things in spades, and much more. This oxygen concentrator not only allows you plenty of freedom, but you won’t mind carrying it around with you because of it’s look and the accessories with which you can use to transport it.
Portable oxygen concentrators are made to be taken with you wherever you go, even on airplanes. The SeQual Eclipse 3 is approved by most airlines, but you should check with the airline to make sure and see about any specific requirements. The Eclipse 3 can operate as high as 13, 123 feet, which makes it great for traveling to areas at a higher elevation.
Alcohol works as a depressant, which means it slows down activity in your central nervous system. Your whole body relaxes, as well as your mind and your reaction time slows down. A little bit of alcohol will relax you, while more than a little bit will make it harder for you to function.
Not surprisingly, it also has an effect on the lungs, which can be dangerous for people who have reduced lung function and who need to use oxygen therapy, or a CPAP machine for sleep apnea.