Friday Links – Inhaler Wars, Harold Dow and Summer Asthma Deaths

Mold and Kids’ Asthma in New Orleans, 5 Years After Katrina
High post-Katrina levels of asthma among New Orleans residents is the big story here, and it’s a devastating one. At the end of this particular interview, though, something else caught my eye. Dr. Floyd Malveaux, when talking about his intervention and treatment program of 184 kids, said this:

But it’s a fraction. That’s why it’s so important to sustain the program and expand the effort, to reach out to the community health centers and the state and to say, with this program, we can control asthma in New Orleans.

Because I would add, we need programs with counselors and preventative education and treatment like this one everywhere, to teach parents and get kids started on the road to well-maintained asthma and a healthy childhood earlier.

Does One Steroid Inhaler Work Better Than Another?
Here’s something interesting from About.com. One study suggests Qvar inhalers provide the same anti-inflammatory coverage as Flovent ones do, only at a lower dose, and you should check out the full post to read the possible explanation. Even if this finding requires more research, it’s noteworthy because doctors don’t currently recommend one inhaled corticosteroid over another.

Harold Dow Probably Died of Asthma Attack
Dow, a veteran CBS correspondent for 48 Hours, passed away suddenly last weekend. He suffered from adult-onset asthma and is now believed to have succumbed to a fatal attack behind the wheel of his car.

You guys, is it just me? Between the tragedies of Dow and Javonte Woods plus the recent story about an unnaturally high number of asthma deaths in Alberta over two weeks, what’s going on? Is it the heat? It’s been a hot one this summer, even here.

Giant New Jersey Landfill to Cover Smell with Giant Amounts of Air Freshener
File this one under Terrible Ideas that Will Probably Send at Least a Few People to the ER with Breathing Problems.

25 responses to “Friday Links – Inhaler Wars, Harold Dow and Summer Asthma Deaths”

  1. Sara C. says:

    I don’t have time to read all the stuff right now…but the landfill thing…people are complaining? Was the HUGE garbage dump not THERE when they moved in? Did they not think they might be able to smell garbage? We have a landfill AND sewage treatment plant about 3 miles away from us. If they are smelling it THAT much, they have to be pretty close, and I can’t believe it was a surprise to them. I DID have to giggle, because air freshener doesn’t work all that well in the bathroom, do they really think it’s going to work in a landfill?

  2. kerri says:

    The air freshener thing is RIDICULOUS. I agree with Sara’s comment about the landfill being there when the people moved in, too.

    The steroid inhaler thing, though brief, was a neat read, too. I asked my primary doc about Qvar [beclomethasone] at my last appointment because of the smaller particle size, but she said I’d be on “too much steroid” then. There’s also the question of whether different inhaled steroids work better for different people, but I don’t know how they’d really be able to STUDY that.

  3. Amy says:

    I think it’s a step in the right direction either way – the inhaler thing, I mean, not the air-freshened landfill. :)

    I’d LOVE to maintain AG’s lungs on a lower dose of inhaled steroids. Not that she’s on a huge dose now or anything, but less medicine with no loss of health is, in general, a good thing, you know?

  4. Danielle says:

    No idea what’s with the asthma deaths in Alberta this summer, but it’s definitely not the heat! We literally have only gone above 30 C ONCE this whole summer!

    Great Friday links this week!

  5. Sarah says:

    It’s been cold here in NB as well… I think we’ve been 5-10 degrees below seasonal for pretty much all of Spring and most of Summer (though we did get above seasonal a bit in July and we’re expected to again this weekend).

    This has been one of those years that has definitely followed the Canadian seasonal pattern, as laid out by a comedian I forget the name of: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and Construction.

  6. Samantha says:

    its been nightmarishly hot here. And I do mean nightmarishly. highs of 104-107F, actual temp mind you, and heat indexes of 110F+…

  7. Amy says:

    Here, too, Samantha–only without the high/humidity & heat index. I remember those days on the Gulf Coast, though…..dunno about you, but I’m ready for some of Danielle’s and Sarah’s weather.

  8. Qvar is not a 1 for 1 switch out with Flovent, especially if you need higher doses of steroids.

    I’m not sure why Qvar doesn’t accommodate higher doses, but from what I’ve been told by docs, it’s not like everyone can or should switch. Since I have not so cooperative asthma, this probably means anyone with persistent asthma and significant flare ups is probably not going to be able to use Qvar.

    Maybe during those times my asthma was perfectly controlled, I could do it. But I would always need Pulmicort (Flovent’s competitor) on hand which would probably add expense. And I also need the long acting bronchodilator which Qvar does not contain.

    I wonder who financed the study? Or what the disclosed conflicts of interest were?

    M

  9. To clarify, I was in a strict HMO that pushed people into Qvar. I was willing to try it, but was told by the docs that the amount of steroid I was using (Flovent at the time) was higher than what Qvar provided.

    M

  10. Sara C. says:

    M is on Symbi AND QVar (along with Atrovent) she gets a pulmicort kicker when she’s sick as well (so we keep it in the house all the time)

    At this point, though, I think her doc is grasping at straws just trying to keep her under some sort of control.

    I wonder if you can add puffs of Qvar the way M’s original pulmo added puffs of Flovent. At one point, she was on 12 puffs of flovent a day…and if you can add puffs of flovent, I wonder why you wouldn’t be able to do the same with qvar (not suggesting 12 puffs a day…that’s why I fired her original pulmo)

    Interesting article, though.

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