Asthma

What’s new in the updated asthma guidelines?

Recent updates to asthma management guidelines produced by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program reflect advances in understanding of the mechanisms that cause asthma and current best practices to manage asthma symptoms.

My COVID-19 vaccine story –– and what happened next

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are starting to become more widely available, some people wonder what it’s like to receive one. One doctor shares her story –– including what happened when close family members became sick with COVID.

Do thunderstorms worsen asthma and COPD symptoms?

Weather affects respiratory function, but many of its effects remain unclear. Researchers analyzed Medicare claims to determine whether storms led to an increase in emergency room visits related to asthma and COPD.

Triple therapy helps control severe asthma

Between 5% and 10% of asthmatics have frequent, persistent symptoms despite treatment with multiple medications. Two clinical trials tested treatments containing multiple medications in people with asthma that had been difficult to treat, with encouraging results.

Rising temperatures: How to avoid heat-related illnesses and deaths

Hotter summer temperatures and prolonged periods of intense heat can lead to heat-related illness — and even deaths –– particularly in areas known as urban heat islands. People who are elderly and those with existing health problems are especially vulnerable. Know what to do to protect yourself and others.

Avoiding COVID-19 when following the guidelines seems impossible

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

By now people understand the measures intended to prevent the spread of coronavirus, yet people with certain conditions may not be able to follow these guidelines. Here are some suggestions that may help.

Think your child has a penicillin allergy? Maybe not.

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Because diagnosis of drug allergies is often done based on symptoms but without testing, many people who believe they are allergic to antibiotics such as penicillin do not in fact have the allergy.

Keep your seasonal allergies in check

Dominic Wu, MD

Contributing Editor

There are a variety of treatments available for seasonal allergies, but they should be used with care in order to avoid any unwanted, or even dangerous, side effects. For example, nasal decongestant sprays may work well in the short term, but can worsen symptoms when used too often.

Don’t let allergy season catch you off guard

A mild winter can make allergy season even more miserable when it comes. The best way to fight allergies is to start treating them before the season begins, but once it comes there are still ways to treat and minimize allergy symptoms, including certain medications and some smart lifestyle strategies.

The tricky thing about asthma

While a new study found that a significant percentage of people who had been diagnosed with asthma did not meet the official criteria for a diagnosis, the behavior of asthma can make diagnosing it a challenge.