Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Another (yawn!) New Study

Yes, it's all very important and it appears in the current edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, but how can it help my three-year-old this winter?

Honestly, I'm glad that big pharma's actually allocated funds to something other than arthritis medications that cause heart attacks; I'm just too tired and cranky to even read the whole article tonight.

Friday, October 15, 2004

File THAT under obvious...

Okay, the methodology is cool, but did it take a study to tell us that pollution and second hand smoke can lead to asthma?

And, hey, can someone get me a subscription to Chest magazine for the holidays?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Demand MDI Reform Now!

Anyone reading this blog on a regular basis knows that I am, shall we say, disenchanted with pharmaceutical companies on the whole. Here's just another twig to add to the fire:

This health day article focuses on how most families make errors when administering medication via MDIs -- largely (and most seriously) because, as we parents of asthmatics know, there's no accurate way to tell how much is left in the damned canister!!

It's one thing with Flovent -- four puffs a day from a 120-dose MDI is easy enough to estimate. But with Albuterol, which is given only as needed, and for which I have several MDIs.... well, unless I take a razor-pointed Sharpie and make a little checkmark on the case every time I use it, I'll never know how much is left.

I've been using the flotation method (mentioned in above article) to determine whether the MDIs are empty, but apparently that's both inactive AND dangerous. Who knew?

So - my point (and yes, I do have one) is that big pharma should really stop putting up funds for high-tech gas treatments (I mean, what the hell is GERD, anyway? And aren't Gaviscon and Mylanta good enough for most people?) and come up with an MDI that actually tells you that it's empty. That way asthmatics can either stop wasting money by throwing away still-useful MDIs (and for those of you who don't know, Flovent costs about $200/month) or putting themselves at risk by sucking on empty canisters -- and not getting the medication they need.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sibling Study is CONFUSING

Have a look at this: Having Siblings Cuts Asthma Risk

There are a few things I'm not understanding: If asthma risk is greater in kids born July-December than in kids born January-March, how does the risk for kids born March-July measure up?

If the risk is reduced for children who have siblings, why is the risk increased if a sibling is already asthmatic? Is the risk only reduced for multiples or people who *didn't* already have asthma in their families? Wasn't the latter group already at a reduced risk?

The study also puts at higher risk "if their primary-care provider was a pediatrician." Ummm....who should the primary-care provider for my preschoolers be? A pulmonologist?

Hooray! I've found a new resource -- and it's LOCAL! Check it out:

Yo, don't believe the hype.

Okay - has the wold gone nuts? Why is everyone freaking out about the flu vaccine shortage? I can't believe this has actually become a campaign issue now. Can you not see how strong the pharma lobbies have gotten?

Seriously, I have *never* gotten a flu vaccine. First off, it wasn't even offered to me until a few years ago. Secondly, when it was, it was understood that the vaccine couldn't and wouldn't cover all strains and mutations of the virus. With so many strains of flu every year, why bother? And won't a vaccine just cause a resiliant virus to mutate further?

Which brings me to why I won't get the vaccine -- or give it to my kids. The number one reason? It's made with thimerosal, a mercury-based binding. (See Wikipedia on this: Thimerosal has been linked in some studies the enormous surge in autisim over the past few years.

Another reason, Asthmatic Bryn (who, by the way, can't get the shot because he's allergic to eggs) got the flu last year. And it developed into pneumonia (natch). And guess what? The nasty strain he got would not have been covered by the vaccine.

So, by giving him the shot, I would have put him at risk by taking him unnecessarily to the doctors office where, undoubtedly other sick kids would be running around, and at risk(small risk, granted) for autism. And he would have gotten the flu/pneumonia anyay.

But to my original point, when did the flu become so incredibly dangerous that we all need an annual vaccination? Isn't this just pharmaceutical companies capitalizing on the SARS scare?

Or am I just a paranoid, fanatical lunatic?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

If you're living under a rock.... might not know that there will probably be a flu shot shortage:

So, if you're up for a thimerasol fix, better get a move on.

Monday, October 04, 2004

What the heck is a TREG?

Apparently, we've found the cause of Asthma. And it's got a really funny name.

Peds Asthma NOT Caused by Allergens

But we knew this, right? There was that study -- I think it was Australian? -- that showed that kids who grew up on farms and/or around dander-producing animals actually had a lower instance of asthma.

Anyway, here's the link:

Whew. What a month.

So, naughty me...too long a lapse between posts again.

Meanwhile, Bryn's just (hopefully) recovering from what's essentially been a six-week long attack. Brutal. It started with mild cold symptoms that persisted for about two weeks. Dr. W and assumed this was another sinus infection, so we did another course of Augmentin.

...and no recovery. The slight cough he'd had became a bad cough, and his teachers reported coughing fits after exercise at school. That was new -- we'd never seen exercise-induced asthma before.

The cold symptoms disappeared, but the cough got worse during weeks 4-5, and he was often so short of breath, he couldn't get through a short sentence without 3-4 breaths.

So, we started doing DuoNeb or Combivent every eight hours, alternating with Albuterol. And when that didn't help too much, we started doing it twice as often.

Man! Can I tell you what it's like having a 3-year-old pumped up on Albuterol and Combivent? I should have just handed him a large (Venti, whatever...) Starbucks French Roast. The results probably would have been similar. The poor kid was so wired, he couldn't sit still. His teacher at preschool didn't know what to do with him. I just kept him as busy and active as I could.

Today, he's finally seeming a bit better, so I took him off the Combivent. That stuff's just EVIL. I know it works, but Lord Almighty -- I hope I never have to use it again (but I know I will). And Lord help us all if he's got to be on that and Orapred at the same time. It will be like living with the Tasmanian Devil!