Allercy and Asthma Health


Fall 2008

Asthma and the Athlete

Peak Performance Program in Schools Will Help Children with Asthma

On the Cutting Edge of Red Tide Research

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News Bits

National Health Observances

CDC Recommends Flu Vaccine for More Kids
Flu season is at our doorstep, and with it come some new influenza vaccination recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, the CDC is now recommending an annual flu shot for all children age six months through 18 years. Previously, the CDC recommended the vaccination only for kids age six months through 59 months. Children with chronic health conditions such as asthma are at special risk and should definitely be vaccinated.

The new recommendation also means those whose parents or caregivers cannot afford the shot will be eligible to receive the vaccination for free through the CDC’s Vaccines for Children Program.

PhotoAllergic to Exercise
No, we’re not talking about exercise-induced asthma. It seems there’s another extremely rare, but real, condition out there called “exercise-induced anaphylaxis” that causes people to have trouble breathing during a workout. According to experts, it’s triggered by exercising right after eating certain foods, such as peanuts, shellfish, eggs, or even celery. Only 1,000 cases have been documented since the 1970s. The study was published recently in the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

New Mortality Data Show Significant Drop in Influenza and Pneumonia Death Rates
The latest mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics show significantly fewer people are dying from influenza and pneumonia. Between 2005 and 2006, the largest decline in age-adjusted death rates occurred for these two conditions, with a 12.8% decline. Age-adjusted death rates for chronic lower respiratory diseases dropped by 6.5%.

Other diseases saw a decline in death rates as well, including stroke (6.4%), heart disease (5.5%), diabetes (5.3%), hypertension (5%), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (3.3%), suicide (2.8%), septicemia (2.7%), cancer (1.6%) and accidents (1.5%). The preliminary infant mortality rate for 2006 was 6.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, down 2.3% from the 2005 rate of 6.9.

Smoking Rate Declining for U.S. Adults
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of adults age 18 and over are current smokers, but this number is down from 24.7% in 1997. Current smokers were defined as those who smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and now smoke every day or some days.

PhotoToenails Tell All
Measuring cotinine levels in the urine or saliva is a good way to tell if someone’s been smoking over the past couple of days. Assessing toenail levels of nicotine might be a better way to see how many cigarettes a person has been smoking over the long haul. Results from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study show women with the highest nicotine levels in their toenail clippings have four times the risk for heart disease as those with the lowest levels. (June 2008 issue of American Journal of Epidemiology)

Web Watch
GIDEON Online ( is an easy-to-use database of global infectious diseases. The site recently reported that more than one million cases of food-borne salmonella are reported each year, accounting for 9.7% of all food-borne illnesses and 30.6% of all food-related deaths. Last year alone, food-borne salmonella resulted in 15,600 hospitalizations and 550 deaths. •

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