Tue, Feb 19, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Seasonal changes are causing asthma

By Jason Pan  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Doctors have reported an increase in severe asthma cases over the past few days and are urging people on springtime excursions to take precautions.

Kao Wei-feng (高偉峰), a doctor at the Taipei Medical University Hospital, said that hospital emergency services have experienced a surge in the numbers of cases of severe asthma attacks, up about 20 percent from usual levels.

He said that the increase is most likely due to the warm weather over the Lunar New Year holiday, with more people heading to countryside parks and other scenic spots to enjoy the flowers that are in bloom.

Kao said that instances of flu and viral gastroenteritis causing upset stomachs and diarrhea, which were common prior to the holiday period, have also persisted and that strokes caused by cardiovascular disorders and heart problems were the next most frequently reported emergency cases.

“With asthma cases, every day we see people coming in to hospital emergency services. With the nice weather many families have gone to see flowers blooming. In some cases, allergens, such as pollen, spores and dust mites, can trigger a severe asthmatic attack,” Kao said.

“We treated a 30-year-old man who had not had any problems with his asthma for many years. However, contact with allergens triggered a severe asthmatic attack. He experienced problems in his lower respiratory tract, accompanied by wheezing and other breathing difficulties in his upper respiratory tract. When in the emergency room, he experienced respiratory failure, but following treatment his condition has now improved,” Kao said.

Kao said that the public should be aware that during the change in season from winter to spring, the increased prevalence of allergens will raise the likelihood of those with asthma experiencing symptoms. He also advised people to try and avoid bites and stings from insects.

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