AIM Summer 2014 Newsletter


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Summer 2014 - In This Issue:
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MICHIGAN ASTHMA EVENTS

JULY  

22-25 - Camp Easy Breathers (for kids ages 8-14 with asthma), Camp Copeneconic, Fenton, MI. Joni Zyber, or visit the camp's Facebook page

 

SEPTEMBER 
18Freedom From Smoking Facilitator Training, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., American Lung Association, 1475 E 12 Mile Road, Madison Heights, MI
Patty Inman, 810-931-1425
SAVE THE DATE!
Asthma Educator Sharing Day
Asthma educators: mark your calendars for the 2014 Asthma Educator Sharing Day, planned for 
October 30 at Michigan Public Health Institute in Okemos. Look for registration and meeting information in August. Questions? Tisa Vorce 

HAVE YOU MET THE BREATHE EASIES?
 

To help spread the word about asthma and preventing common asthma triggers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed multimedia materials that are available at no cost. This includes materials from the successful Goldfish and Monster campaigns, as well as the Breathe Easies. The Breathe Easies are the world's most famous (and only) asthma-rock band, with messages about cleaning up mold, smoke-free homes, and vacuuming the floors. Video, radio, print, web and TV messages come with detailed instructions and are ready to use. Check them out!    

Asthma & Our Changing Climate
by Lorraine Cameron, PhD, MPH
From its farmlands and forests to its many lakes and miles of shoreline, Michigan has been strongly shaped by its climate. However, that climate is changing due to global warming. The possible effects of global warming on Michigan, including severe summer heat and more dangerous storms and floods, can affect people with asthma even more.

Global warming comes from more pollution in the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests. Carbon dioxide acts like a blanket that traps heat in our atmosphere and warms our climate. Oceans, forests, and land can absorb some of this carbon, but not as fast as it is made. The results of this are:

putting on sunscreen Heat: Higher temperatures will mean that plants will grow in different areas, causing a change in how much and the types of pollen and mold spores, and how long the allergy season lasts. Air pollution gets worse as temperatures rise, with increases in ozone and particulate matter (the often see-able pollutant in city air). Pollen, mold and air pollution are common asthma triggers. Effects can be especially hard on people who live in cities with already poor air quality, like Detroit, and along the western shore of Lake Michigan where pollution blown across the lake from Chicago and Milwaukee lingers.

Storms: There will be more outdoor allergens like molds, grass pollen and fungal spores in the air from thunderstorms. During thunderstorms, droplets of rain water which carry allergens are split into very tiny droplets that can be inhaled. Storms may also cause a sudden drop in temperature and spike in ozone levels. Flooding from storms leads to dampness, where mold spores and dust mites are more likely to thrive. All of these things can cause asthma and allergy symptoms.

Drought: Climate change may cause a shift in rainfall patterns, with wetter springs and falls but dry, hot summers. Dry weather can lead to more dust in the air and to wildfires which make smoke and particulate matter that can cause breathing problems for people with asthma.

How climate change affects people with asthma will depend on how much temperatures rise and rain falls, and how those changes affect asthma triggers like air pollution and mold. People may need to avoid heat and pollution, and if necessary, spend less time outside. Clinicians will need to learn how their patients' asthma changes with the changing environment and manage it in new ways. More research is needed to see how climate change affects lung and general health so that people can get ready.

In the meantime, you can help reduce the effects of global warming by using less electricity and gas-powered machines less often. Even simple things like carpooling and using the car less, insulating your home better and keeping it well aired, using air conditioning less often, and turning appliances and electronics off when not in use, can have an impact. This is especially important during ozone action days when air quality is worse, making breathing even harder.

Sign up to receive ozone action day alerts for your area and learn more about climate change and asthma. Read the EPA's Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2014.