Monday, December 10, 2007

Coping With Winter - A Guide For Those With Chronic Respiratory Conditions

from the American Lung Association

Winter often brings health problems not associated nearly so much with other times of the year. Conditions such as colds, flu, and other respiratory infections are much more prevalent during this time. The person with chronic respiratory conditions finds that he or she is more susceptible and has lowered resistance to these conditions.

Effects of Cold Air
When cold air is inhaled directly into the warm bronchi (breathing passages), spasm occurs. This causes shortness of breath and coughing. All too frequently, people with chronic respiratory conditions breathe through their mouth, preventing the warming and humidification of air which normally takes place in the nose. This presents an added burden to the heart and lungs.

Lessen the Load
*Use an air warming mask or scarf.
*Walk more slowly.
*Allow more time.
*Stay out of the wind, if possible.
*Use a cart for shopping.

Humidity - the amount of moisture in the air
Every home needs added moisture in the winter. The optimal indoor humidity is 40%. Although hard to achieve, it is important to maintain. Many people could avoid nose and throat irritation by maintaining proper humidity.

Homes with circulating air heating systems can attach humidifiers to the furnace. Even these may not produce enough humidification for the entire home.

Another approach is the additional use of small tabletop humidifiers. While sometimes noisy, they produce a water mist which will adequately humidify one or two rooms. However, humidifiers may pose problems because molds and fungi can accumulate in the stagnant water in the reservoir of some models.

All models should be cleaned daily and in those models which use pads or sponges to help moisten the air, the pads should be changed two or three times during the winter. Anti-fungi tablets are sold, but some people may be sensitive to the chemicals they contain.

The use of humidifiers also helps eliminate dust and static electricity.

The best way to add moisture is to drink plenty of water.

Keep Warm Indoors

Dry heat will cause drying of the mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and throat and promotes the development of mucus plugs. These plugs can close off air passages, particularly the tiny ones, and prevent oxygen from getting into the blood.

The optimum room temperature should be between 68 and 72 degrees.

Sometimes we rely on space heaters, wood stoves and kerosene heaters. Wood stoves and kerosene heaters are not recommended for people with lung disease.

It is extremely important to adequately vent space heaters since they can produce toxic fumes.

Keep Warm Outdoors

During the winter, we generally wear much heavier clothing, which in turn increases the burden on the heart and lungs by requiring more oxygen. The person with chronic lung disease does not have this reserve.
*Clothing should be loose to permit circulation of warm air at the surface of the skin.
*Layers of clothing offer more insulation.
*Items of clothing made from the new synthetics are warm and light and are recommended.

Infection - Disease resulting from the presence of certain microorganisms in the body.

Complicating infections are always a problem for the chronic respiratory patient. Changes in color, amount and consistency of sputum may indicate the presence of infection and warrant a call to your physician. Avoidance of crowds and poorly vented areas lessens the chance of the spread of germs. A flu shot annually and a pneumonia shot at least once are most important.

For A More Comfortable Winter
*Use an air-warming mask.
*Choose clothing which is warm but not bulky.
*Use and properly clean your humidifier
*Avoid smoke filled rooms
*Adequately vent space heaters.
*Allow more time to get where you are going
*Seek medical advice at the first sign of an infection
*Get a flu shot
*Avoid crowds to lessen the chance of infections
*Get an adequate amount of rest
*Eat properly

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The COPD News

COPD Support, Inc., edited by Joan Costello

Volume 7, Issue 52
December 7, 2007

Definition Of Prescription Abbreviations
A prescription, as is well known, is a physician's order for the preparation
and administration of a drug or device for a patient. What may be less well
known is that a prescription has several parts:

The superscription (or heading) with the symbol R or Rx which stands for the
word Recipe, meaning (in Latin) to take; The inscription which contains the
names and quantities of the ingredients; The subscription or directions for
compounding the drug; and The signature which is often preceded by the sign
s. standing for signa, mark, giving the directions to be marked on the
container. You may see some chickenscrawl marks on a prescription. For
example, b.i.d. It means twice (two times) a day and is an abbreviation for
"bis in die" which in Latin means, not too surprisingly, twice a day. It is
one of a number of hallowed abbreviations of Latin terms that have been
traditionally used in prescriptions to specify the frequency with which
medicines should be taken. Some of the abbreviations of terms commonly used
in prescriptions with their meanings are:

a.c. = before meals (from "ante cibum," before meals)
ad lib: use as much as one desires (from "ad libitum")
da or daw = dispense as written
p.c. = after meals (from "post cibum," after meals)
p.o. = by mouth, orally (from "per os," by mouth)
Other definitions at:

also in this issue

-NYT Examines COPD
-CQRC Statement On The NY Times Article On Medicare's Home Oxygen Benefit
-Researchers Focus On Genes And Inflammation In Search For Clues To COPD
-Don't Let Germs Be Your Travel Companions
-Respiratory Therapy Cave
-Heavy Breathing Proteins
-Study Demonstrates Ramelton Does Not Exacerbate Respiratory Depressant Effects
-Almirall Takes On COPD
-Hats Off To Combat Asthma
-Advances In Diagnostics Can Lead To Better Quality Of Life
-Amarillo Biosciences Files Patent Application To Treat Chronic Cough With Oral Interferon
-FDA Investigates Anti-Smoking Drugs
-Ibuprofen Slows Loss Of Lung Function In Cystic Fibrosis

Web version of the News:

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Subscription to this Newsletter is free and we hope that it serves your needs. For more Newsletter information, go to:

The Newsletter, like all the other endeavors of the Family of COPD Support Programs, is provided to you by COPD-Support, Inc. a non-profit
member organization with IRS designation 501(c)(3). If you would like to be
involved and help us provide these programs to the individuals who benefit from them, please consider joining us as a member. Further information is available at:


Six White Boomers
Forget Rudolph. Have an Australian Christmas.

Click here: Winters Of Long Ago

Happy Holidays from Rail Europe
Choose your destination-I couldn't resist. Had to visit all of them.

I Ain't Got a Barrel of Money

Blue Christmas

Merry Christmas

Christmas Game
Shoot with the Left Mouse button

Star Shuffle
Celebrity Scramble Puzzle

Until next Friday,
Joan Costello, Editor

Web version of the News:

Archives at:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Good News Is:’s New Stop Smoking Site Provides Expert Advice, Supportive Community to Help Smokers Quit

ARLINGTON, VA — The HealthCentral Network, Inc. ( today announced the launch of, a website dedicated to helping smokers successfully quit. The site, found at , provides expert advice, reliable medical information and a community support network that will aid smokers in their quest to overcome addiction.

Former smoker and award-winning author Anne Mitchell will write a weekly blog for the site. Mitchell’s book, Give It Up! Stop smoking for life, was published in 2003. Mitchell is also trained as a facilitator for the American Cancer Society’s FreshStart stop-smoking program and will use her training and her struggle with smoking cessation to offer advice and support for the site’s community members.

“The HealthCentral Network’s new Stop Smoking Connection is a rich combination of helpful information and meaningful support for people trying to quit smoking,” Mitchell said. “Having been a long-term smoker who desperately wanted to quit (and finally succeeded), I know how important it is to have that kind of support. Interacting with others who are experiencing the same symptoms and feeling the same sense of frustration during those all-too-common relapses is an important part of finally becoming successful.”
"The health risks associated with smoking are as well known as they are serious, and quitting smoking is one of the best steps an individual can take to improve his or her overall health," said Chris Schroeder, CEO and President of The HealthCentral Network. "Providing information, tools and resources, expert advice and, above all, a community of support to those in the process of or thinking about smoking cessation is a much-needed addition to The HealthCentral Network.”

About The HealthCentral Network

The HealthCentral Network, Inc. ( is a new and unique online offering, comprised of over 30 general health and highly specific condition and wellness web properties, each committed to offering a voice in everyday and personal language people can understand and connect with at critical points in their lives. Each site provides timely, interactive, in-depth and trusted medical information (from Harvard Health Publications among others), and connections to leading experts and thousands of people who share their related experiences and inspiration.

The HealthCentral Network recently launched personal health tools including the most comprehensive web solution for caregivers managing their communities of friends and families ( The company also produces the nationally syndicated television show, "Medical Breakthroughs with Dr. Dean Edell," and has a library of nearly 1,000 short-form, condition-specific videos throughout its network.

The HealthCentral Network was acquired in 2005 by Polaris Ventures, Sequoia Capital, The Carlyle Group and Allen & Company, and has built a management team that combines decades of experience in interactive media and medical, science and news journalism. The company received top recognition from The International Health and Medical Media Awards with a 2006 FREDDIE Award for and the Health Care Standard of Excellence WebAward from the Web Marketing Association.

What Five Cigarettes A Day Does To Your Arteries

Many smokers feel that "cutting down" or being a "light smoker" will prevent them from suffering the often deadly consequences of smoking. Experts say that close to a third of all smokers smoke less than ten cigarettes a day. Research shows that these "light smokers" feel much less motivation to give it up.

As Lion Shahab, a health psychologist at UCL puts it, smokers are good at perceiving a general risk to health but don't apply it to their own - with light smokers the most deluded of all.

"It's the difference between looking at a virtual reality image of a tiger - you may be amazed but you won't run away - and being told the tiger is real, in which case your emotional response is to run.

"Most smokers are good at seeing the virtual reality tiger but not the real one."

But, as Professor Robert West, director of tobacco studies at UCL, points out, smoking is one area of consumption where moderation is not the answer.

While the risk of lung cancer grows with the number of cigarettes smoked - more than 20 cigarettes a day raises the risk 30-fold - in terms of heart disease, recent research suggests most of the risks come from the first few cigarettes each day.

A study of Norwegian smokers published last year found that those who smoked up to five cigarettes a day were three times more likely to die of heart disease than non-smokers.

University College London is conducting research to see just how much damage has been done to the arteries of people after years of light smoking.

Click Here to read one woman's' story of her participation in this research project and the sobering results that led her to becoming completely smoke free.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The COPD Survival Manual - It Takes Your Breath Away - By Brian Webster

A Thirty Year Survivors Story

COPD can strike almost anytime, although in most it begins around the 60's. Patients might well have had COPD years before that but their signs might have been misdiagnosed . COPD signs mimic so many minor diseases(occasional shortness of breath, intermittent coughs, tiredness) that it is only when all meet together in a major way that they might be understood as COPD. My original Doctor was stuck on "Oh dear, Mr. Webster, you have another one of those nasty winter coughs I see." It was only when I went to a specialist that I discovered what it was - COPD.

That is partially the reason for the book. I hope that a lot of people who hear about it may well ask for a fuller examination during thir annual check up. It takes a few minutes longer but may well extend your life. My Book "It Takes Your Breath Away" is really important to any Stage of COPD since it covers most of the information you need to survive.
- Brian Webster

Brian's book, before now available on CD only, is now available in print.
Please visit his website - It Takes Your Breath Away - for a wealth of information about COPD and how Brian lives his life with this disease. You will also find the information you need to contact Brian and order his book.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The EFFORTS Newsletter - An Excellent Resource For COPD News and Information

Archives available from January 2005 through the latest issue, just released, December 2007
This is definitely a Not To Be Missed newsletter. To view the December Issue, Click Here.

To find links to archived newsletters Click Here.

If you are not a member of EFFORTS and wish "Home delivery" of the Monthly Newsletter and periodic updates of EFFORTS various projects - Click JOIN HERE, complete the email and click send. Being a full member will give you automatic access to the Newsletters. Join EFFORTS as a full member at

Monday, December 3, 2007

From The New York Times - One Of Our Own Tells Her Story

From Smoking Boom, a Major Killer of Women
Published: November 29, 2007

For Jean Rommes, the crisis came five years ago, on a Monday morning when she had planned to go to work but wound up in the hospital, barely able to breathe. She was 59, the president of a small company in Iowa. Although she had quit smoking a decade earlier, 30 years of cigarettes had taken their toll.

A very comprehensive article - The research for this article was extensive, including interviews from patients Jean Rommes, Grace Koppel, Diane Williams Hymons and John Walsh. Also interviewed were Dr. James Crapo, Dr. Byron Thomashow, Dr. Neil Schachter, Pamela L. Moore and Dr. James Kiley.

In addition to the article be sure to check the Times sidebar for further reading -

Expert Q&A
Readers' Questions About C.O.P.D.

Dr. Byron Thomashow, medical director of the The Jo-Ann LeBuhn Center for Chest Disease and Respiratory Failure at Columbia University Medical Center, answered readers' questions about C.O.P.D.

Times Essentials
Expert Voices
Smoking, the Environment and an Epidemic of Lung Disease

Dr. Barry Make on the rising rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Questions for Your Doctor
What to Ask About C.O.P.D

Talking points for patients and physicians.

Clinical Trials
Selected Clinical Trials

Notable research studies now enrolling patients.

Related Articles

Surgery: After Early Success, Operations to Remove Damaged Tissues Have Fallen Sharply (November 29, 2007)

Search for Treatment: Researchers Focus on Genes and Inflammation in Search for Clues to Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (November 29, 2007)

What To Know: Certain Symptoms Should Raise Red Flags for Doctors (November 29, 2007)

Also Not To Be Missed is the video put together by video journalist Erik Olsen. See It Here.