Steroids, or corticosteroids, are a group of medications that resemble a hormone in your body called cortisol. They reduce inflammation and are used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:

Regularly taking steroids can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of developing COVID-19 or more severe illness.

Corticosteroids are different than anabolic steroids, which are drugs that replicate the hormone testosterone. Although anabolic steroids do have legitimate medical uses, people often use them recreationally to build muscle and improve sports performance.

The use of anabolic steroids has also been linked to poorer COVID-19 outcomes.

Keep reading to learn how steroids work and how they affect your immune system.

Corticosteroids are human-made drugs that replicate the hormone cortisol. Your adrenal glands, located at the top of your kidneys, produce cortisol.

Corticosteroids are among the most widely prescribed drugs worldwide. Nearly 1 percent of the global population uses long-term corticosteroid therapy as treatment.

Among the conditions they treat include:

Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in your body by binding to receptors that suppress your immune system’s activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), long-term steroid use can compromise your immune system and make you more likely to get sick from COVID-19 or other respiratory diseases.

Long-term (or chronic) corticosteroid use is associated with:

  • increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections
  • increased viral replication
  • delayed viral clearance
  • increased risk of secondary infection

In a previous study from 2020, researchers found that taking over 10 milligrams of the steroid prednisone per day was associated with a 2.05 times higher chance of hospitalization in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Some steroids can potentially cause the antiviral drug remdesivir to be removed from the body more quickly. This makes the drug less effective at treating COVID-19.

Athletes and bodybuilders widely abuse anabolic steroids to improve appearance or performance. The use of anabolic steroids can alter the immune system and increase the risk of infection.

A 2022 study found that current anabolic steroid use is a risk factor for COVID-19 severity.

In the study, current steroid use was associated with five times a greater chance of contracting COVID-19. Current anabolic steroid use was also associated with a higher chance of developing moderate to severe COVID-19.

If you have a medical condition that increases your chances of getting very sick with COVID-19, the CDC recommends talking to a healthcare professional about how to best protect yourself.

Doctors decide whether to continue corticosteroid treatment on a case-by-case basis. Your doctor can give you the best idea about whether you should stop taking steroids or lower your dosage. Up to 90 percent of people who take steroids longer than 60 days develop side effects.

You can also protect yourself by making sure your COVID-19 vaccines are up to date. You may be eligible for additional boosters if you’re considered immunosuppressed.

Other ways you can protect yourself include:

  • Wear a KN95 or N95 mask in public areas or when around people who are sick.
  • Stay 6 feet away from other people.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces.
  • Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions people have about steroids and COVID-19.

Does risk change depending on how I take steroids?

Oral or injected steroids are more likely to cause side effects such as immunosuppression than inhaled steroids or topical steroids. Side effects tend to increase with the dose and the longer you take them.

Inhaled steroids generally cause fewer and milder side effects than oral corticosteroids.

Do steroids interfere with the COVID-19 vaccine?

According to a 2022 study, there’s ongoing discussion on whether steroids decrease vaccine efficiency despite no direct evidence that they do.

In a 2021 review of studies, five out of six studies found evidence of successful vaccination in people taking steroids.

They concluded that based on the current evidence, it’s reasonable to delay steroid injections for chronic pain for 1 to 2 weeks after vaccination, and to delay vaccination for 2 weeks after procedures involving steroids.

Can steroids be used to treat COVID-19?

According to the National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines, multiple high-quality studies suggest that corticosteroid therapy improves outcomes in people with COVID-19 who require oxygen therapy. This may be because they reduce the inflammatory reaction that leads to lung injury and dysfunction.

The most widely studied corticosteroid for treating COVID-19 is dexamethasone. Researchers have also studied other steroids like hydrocortisone and methylprednisolone, but evidence to back the use of these medications isn’t as strong.

A 2022 study linked steroids to better outcomes in younger people but not older people.

Some studies have found evidence that steroids increase the risk of COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergilloses (CAPA) in intensive care patients. CAPA is a fungal infection of the lungs that can increase the risk of mortality.

Steroids treat a wide variety of conditions. They work by reducing inflammation and suppressing your immune system. Taking steroids, especially in high doses, may make you more prone to COVID-19 infection.

Your doctor can best advise you on whether you should lower or reduce your dose. You can also reduce your chances of getting COVID-19 by taking preventive measures like washing your hands regularly and staying up to date with your vaccines.

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Survivors of Covid-19 have twice the risk of developing a blood clot in the lungs or a respiratory condition, according to a new study by the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Published on Tuesday, the study by the US government body said adults aged between 18 and 64 years have an increased risk of developing pulmonary embolism – a clot in an artery of the lung – or other respiratory conditions like chronic cough or shortness of breath.

One in five Covid survivors in this age range and one in four survivors over the age of 65 years have experienced “at least one incident condition that might be attributable to the previous infection”, it said.

With an increasing number of Covid-19 infections, many patients have complained of persisting post-infection conditions or the onset of long-term symptoms, which include a wide array of health issues.

However, more research is needed to better understand who is more likely to experience “Long Covid”.

The study was based on the analysis of patient records of those who had the coronavirus infection between March 2020 and November 2021, and they were followed for 30 to 365 days after the infection, till the onset of any health conditions or the end of the period.

The data was then compared with others in a control group to determine the likelihood of these conditions.

The CDC study suggests that Covid prevention strategies as well as routine assessment for post-Covid conditions among persons who survive are critical to reducing the incidence.

However, it had certain limitations as it did not consider the vaccination status of the subjects.

Several studies in the past, including ones from CDC, have pointed out that Covid survivors may have an increased risk of health conditions and require extensive follow-up care.

Till now, over 80 million people in the United States have contracted Covid-19, and more than one million have died due to the virus.

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Data from a new USC study shows a significant increase in the risk of severe outcomes for COVID-19 patients exposed to fine particles (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), two common (and correlated) components of ambient air pollution in Southern California. Produced by ground and air traffic, industrial burning and other sources, these air pollutants can exacerbate the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus over both the short and long term.

Our research demonstrated that one-year average exposure to PM2.5 translated to a 20-30 percent increase in the risk of hospitalization, intensive respiratory support and ICU admissions from COVID-19. Exposure to NO2 for one month carried an increased risk of 12-18 percent. We also saw that long-term PM2.5 exposure was associated with a higher risk of mortality from COVID-19."


Zhanghua Chen, assistant professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and co-first author of the study

The study appears in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Researchers collaborated with Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) to examine a cohort of more than 74,000 COVID-19 patients diagnosed from March to August 2020. With detailed residential address history linked to Kaiser Permanente members' electronic medical records (EMR), investigators were able to accurately predict exposure history for specific pollutants.

Individual-level results

Earlier in the pandemic, a number of studies using national data in ecological analyses found a link between long-term air pollution exposure and increased COVID-19 incidence and mortality. However, this approach raised important questions and concerns.

"Ecological analyses are subject to a lot of biases, and it wasn't clear whether the findings could be applied beyond the community level," Chen said. "In our population cohort study, we were able to leverage the sophistication of EMR to create a well-defined classification of the severity of COVID-19 outcomes tied to air pollution exposure at the individual level."

The results were clear, noted coauthor and Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD. "Our study demonstrates that breathing clean air may reduce the severity of the infection. When someone is infected, reducing their exposure to air pollutants maybe beneficial, as it may decrease the risk for poor outcomes and also has many other health benefits."

A compelling cohort

In addition to providing individual-level results, utilizing the Kaiser Permanente cohort for the study conferred other benefits as well. "Kaiser Permanente has enriched patient background information – also known as covariates – encompassing factors including race, ethnicity, sex and socioeconomic status, which enabled us to adjust for social demographics and comorbidities like diabetes, obesity and asthma," said corresponding author Anny Xiang, PhD, MS, a senior research scientist at KPSC's Department of Research & Evaluation. "Also, whereas other studies were more focused on older populations, which are more susceptible to COVID-19, ours has a much broader representation of age range because Kaiser Permanente covers such a large percentage of Southern California residents."

Based on their findings, Chen and her colleagues now plan to examine intervention approaches – such as using air purifiers – to reduce individual levels of PM2.5 exposure. "We're starting some crossover clinical trials to investigate these types of strategies on a personal level, to see whether they can help reduce cardiometabolic disease risk," she said.

About the study

Additional authors of the study include Brian Huang, Sandrah Eckel, Roya Gheissari and Duncan Thomas from the Keck School of Medicine; Margo Sidell, Ting Chow, and Mayra Martinez from Kaiser Permanente Southern California; and Fred Lurmann from Sonoma Technology, Inc.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (3R01ES029963-01) and the Keck School of Medicine Department of Preventive Medicine COVID-19 Pandemic Research Center at USC.

Source:

Journal reference:

Chen, Z., et al. (2022) Ambient air pollutant exposures and COVID-19 severity and mortality in a cohort of COVID-19 patients in Southern California. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. doi.org/10.1164/rccm.202108-1909OC.

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Over the last two years of living with Covid-19, we have been aware of what affects our breathing and respiratory tract.

One common lung condition that many people live with is asthma, though some may not think it’s a huge problem in adulthood.

However, online GP service, webdoctor.ie, found that over half of their patients who were inquiring about asthma were in their late 20s-40s.

Read more: Fatty liver: The sweetener known to cause scarring of the liver that's 'as damaging as alcohol'

The reality is that asthma can develop at any stage in life and may look different in adults than it does in children.

Diane Bennis, a GP with the online healthcare provider, defined asthma as a “condition that affects the airwaves” which become inflamed and narrow. They then become sticky and this is how symptoms of asthma start.

“The symptoms in adults will generally be wheeze, breathlessness, chest tightness and cough. The important thing is the pattern of them, so they tend to be late at night or early in the morning.

“They can sometimes be provoked by exercise, cold air, odour or allergens from dust mite or pollen,” she said.

Being diagnosed with asthma later in life may differ from the symptoms a child may experience, which include a cough when they are playing, laughing or crying and a reduced amount of activity.

“Maybe [the child] is not inclined to play. They’re inclined to sit down a little bit because that will bring on their symptoms and they kind of instinctively know not to do that. It might not be that obvious,” Diane said.

Having a family history of asthma can make a person more susceptible to it.

In adulthood, asthma can often be picked up when a person asks a doctor about a lasting cough or something similar. Many people “may not realise” that the condition is actually the cause of the problems they’re having.

When it comes to treating asthma, changing lifestyle habits are what Diane recommends starting with.

“The first thing, with treatment, if I see a patient with webdoctor.ie, I will ask them about smoking. They should stop smoking and they should be in a smoke free home, especially for kids as well.

“I would encourage them to take regular exercise,” she said.

There is no evidence, according to Diane, that diet modifications or cutting out certain foods can improve asthma symptoms.

Inhalers and sometimes tablets are used to manage asthma, as well as a five-step approach to managing it. The control of a patient’s condition is a huge part of living the condition and doctors should assess this.

Diane said: “Unfortunately, overall asthma control in patients in adults and children is suboptimal in the majority of patients.

“Really a patient with asthma should have a normal life. They should have no trouble with their symptoms day or night, with little or no need for reliever medication or inhalers.

“They should have no limitation on their lifestyle. They should have little or no flare-ups or hospitalisations.”

Patients should also be on a reliever and preventer inhaler, whereas “a couple of years ago, some were just on a preventer”.

Read more: Expert says monkeypox outbreak may have been triggered by sexual activity at two European raves

Read more: Boy, 10, in 'absolute hell' after being diagnosed with 'suicide disease' left him 'screaming all the time'

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The fenspiride drug market is anticipated to grow at a significant CAGR 5% during the forecast period (2022-2028). Fenspiride drug is prescribed in the treatment of respiratory diseases. It is used for the acute and chronic diseases of ENT organs and the respiratory system. In case of respiratory conditions such as rhinopharyngitis, tracheobronchitis, and otitis, a fenspiride drug is prescribed. Fenspiride drug is efficient in the treatment of chronic asthma. Fenspiride drug has basic properties of anti-allergic and anti-bronchoconstrictive. Inflammatory conditions of the upper and lower respiratory tract are treated by the fenspiride drug. Experiments and trials have suggested that this drug has properties through which the development of myringosclerosis can be reduced. This is done by restricting oxygen-derived free radicals and their formation.

This drug is prescribed for allergic rhinitis. Allergens are a substance that causes allergic reactions in the body. Allergic rhinitis is a condition in which sneezing, itching, and runny nose are seen after an allergen enters the body. This disease is also known as hay fever. In the case of seasonal allergic rhinitis, pollen is a common allergen that enters the body. As per the American Academy of allergy, asthma, and Immunology, around 8% of adults experience allergic rhinitis in the United States. The worldwide prevalence of allergic rhinitis is around 10-30%.
Fenspiride drug is also prescribed in case of bronchial asthma. This disease affects the lungs of the human body. Bronchial asthma is a chronic condition that needs therapy and medication from time to time. In the process of breathing, the muscles in the respiratory tract are relaxed, so that the air moves that are taken inside go smoothly. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles in the respiratory tract become tight. This in turn makes airways narrow and this restricts the smooth passage of inhaled air. Inflammation of the lining of airways occurs in case of asthma which restricts inhalation and exhalation of air. Mucus production increases in asthma which clogs the airways of inhaled and exhaled air. According to World Health Organization, around 339 million people in the world have asthma. In India, around 2% of adults are infected by asthma.

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Get Sample Copy of Global Fenspiride Drug Market at:
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Market Coverage
• The market number available for - 2021-2028
• Base year- 2021
• Forecast period- 2022-2028

• Segment Covered-
o By Disease
o By Form

• Regions Covered-
o North America
o Europe
o Asia-Pacific
o Rest of the World

• Competitive Landscape- Global Calcium Pvt Ltd., Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Key questions addressed by the report
• What is the market growth rate?
• Which segment and region dominate the market in the base year?
• Which segment and region will project the fastest growth in the market?
• How has COVID-19 impacted the market?
o Deviation from the pre-COVID-19 forecast
o Most affected region and segment
• Who is the leader in the market?
• How players are addressing challenges to sustain growth?
• Where is the investment opportunity?

A full report of Global Fenspiride Drug Market is available at:
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Fenspiride Drug Market Report By Segment

By Disease
• Allergic Rhinitis
• Bronchial Asthma
• Tracheitis
• Otitis

By Form
• Tablet
• Syrup

Company name: Orion Market Reports
Contact person: Mr. Anurag Tiwari
Email: [email protected]
Contact no: +91 780-304-0404

About us:
Orion Market Reports (OMR) endeavors to provide exclusive blend of qualitative and quantitative market research reports to clients across the globe. Our organization helps both multinational and domestic enterprises to bolster their business by providing in-depth market insights and most reliable future market trends. Our reports address all the major aspects of the markets providing insights and market outlook to global clients.

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Market Size And Forecast

New Jersey, USA,- Market Research Intellect released The latest research document on the Asthma Treatment Market 2022 examines market investment. Describes how companies that deploy these technologies across a variety of industries aim to explore the possibility of becoming major business vandals. Asthma Treatment research includes highly useful reviews and strategic assessments, including profiles and strategies of leading companies, as well as general market trends, emerging technologies, industry drivers, challenges, and regulatory policies driving market growth. To provide a more informed perspective, Asthma Treatment Research provides a snapshot of the current state of a rapidly changing industry, presenting a more robust approach from the perspective of both end users and service providers/players.

The XX% of the world market for Asthma Treatment in 2021, but it is expected to grow at a XX% CAGR in the period after Corona and reach US$XX million in 2029. On the other hand, the Electronics segment will grow at an average annual growth rate (CARG) XX% until 2029 and will occupy approximately a XX% share by 2029.

 

Click the link to get a Sample Copy of the Report: www.marketresearchintellect.com/download-sample/?rid=361598 

 

Market Segmentation:

Key Players:

  • AstraZeneca
  • GSK
  • Novartis
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Merck & Co. Inc
  • Roche Holdings Ltd
  • Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc
  • Schering-Plough Corp
  • Sanofi
  • Theravance Inc

Segment by Types:

  • Breathing Exercises
  • Rescue/First Aid Treatments
  • Monoclonal Antibody

Segment by Applications:

  • Mild Intermittent
  • Mild Persistent
  • Moderate Persistent
  • Severe Persistent

 

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Regions Are covered By Asthma Treatment Market Report 2022 To 2028

For a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics, the global Asthma Treatment market is analyzed across key geographies namely: North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico), Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia, and Italy), Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia), South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia), Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa). Each of these regions is analyzed on the basis of market findings across major countries in these regions for a macro-level understanding of the market.

Key Highlights of the Report

– Quantitative market information and forecasts for the global Asthma Treatment industry, segmented by type, end-use, and geographic region.

– Expert analysis of the key technological, demographic, economic, and regulatory factors driving growth in the Asthma Treatment to 2026.

– Market opportunities and recommendations for new investments.

– Growth prospects among the emerging nations through 2026.

 

For More Information or Query or Customization Before Buying, Visitwww.marketresearchintellect.com/product/global-asthma-treatment-market-size-and-forecast/

 

There are 13 Sections to show the global Asthma Treatment market:       

Chapter 1: Market Overview, Drivers, Restraints and Opportunities, Segmentation overview

Chapter 2: Market Competition by Manufacturers

Chapter 3: Production by Regions

Chapter 4: Consumption by Regions

Chapter 5: Production, By Types, Revenue, and Market share by Types

Chapter 6: Consumption, By Applications, Market share (%), and Growth Rate by Applications

Chapter 7: Complete profiling and analysis of Manufacturers

Chapter 8: Manufacturing cost analysis, Raw materials analysis, Region-wise manufacturing expenses

Chapter 9: Industrial Chain, Sourcing Strategy, and Downstream Buyers

Chapter 10: Marketing Strategy Analysis, Distributors/Traders

Chapter 11: Market Effect Factors Analysis

Chapter 12: Market Forecast

Chapter 13: Asthma Treatment Market Research Findings and Conclusion, Appendix, methodology, and data source 

Finally, researchers throw light on the pinpoint analysis of Global Asthma Treatment Market dynamics. It also measures the sustainable trends and platforms which are the basic roots behind the market growth. The degree of competition is also measured in the research report. With the help of SWOT and Porter’s five analyses, the market has been deeply analyzed. It also helps to address the risk and challenges in front of the businesses. Furthermore, it offers extensive research on sales approaches. 

Note: All the reports that we list have been tracking the impact of COVID-19. Both upstream and downstream of the entire supply chain have been accounted for while doing this. Also, where possible, we will provide an additional COVID-19 update supplement/report to the report in Q3, please check with the sales team.

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About Us: Market Research Intellect

Market Research Intellect provides syndicated and customized research reports to clients from various industries and organizations with the aim of delivering functional expertise. We provide reports for all industries including Energy, Technology, Manufacturing and Construction, Chemicals and Materials, Food and Beverage, and more. These reports deliver an in-depth study of the market with industry analysis, the market value for regions and countries, and trends that are pertinent to the industry.  

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As new waves of omicron infections continue to hit around the world, it’s becoming clearer that COVID is here to stay. As such, in the years to come, vaccination – both first courses and booster doses – will likely remain necessary to brace global communities against the worst health outcomes wrought by the virus.

But what if the current crop of vaccines could be improved? Recent advances in vaccine technology and delivery systems suggest there could be gains to be made.

In particular, scientists are working on vaccines that activate your “mucosal” immune system, which may be better able to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. And rather than being delivered into your arm (intramuscular vaccines), these vaccines could be delivered as a spray up your nose (intranasal vaccines).

Let’s start with some background. SARS-CoV-2 can infect the cells that line the surface of your respiratory tract (commonly referred to as your mucous membranes) all the way from your nose to your lungs. Right across this surface, the virus can damage your cells and provoke inflammation that leads to further dysfunction both locally and throughout the body.

Vaccines are used to both reduce how much the virus can replicate, and to control the ensuing inflammation, which is probably the major cause of severe disease and death from COVID. Our current vaccines work by presenting a small bit of the virus (the spike protein) as what’s known as an “antigen” to your immune system in your muscle.

The idea is this occurs before a SARS-CoV-2 infection, and allows your body to produce antiviral antibodies, which can block the virus from getting inside your cells, as well as T cells, which can help cure those cells that do get infected.

Even though it’s initially provided to the muscle in your arm, the vaccine antigen makes its way to your nearby lymph nodes. These are organs which stimulate an immune response in the blood and other fluids that run throughout the body. But what’s often less pronounced following traditional vaccination is the response in mucosal tissues like the gut, lungs or your nose.

This is because the mucosal immune system is somewhat independent to the systemic one. Given how often these surfaces are exposed to infection or stimuli like dust and pollution, mucosal tissues have their own immune system, composed of specialised antibodies and T cells.

 

Although standard vaccines do elicit some mucosal protection, the levels aren’t particularly high. But directly presenting the mucosal immune system with vaccine antigen using a delivery method like a nasal spray triggers a significantly more potent mucosal response.

Scientists have often thought that eliciting an immune response in the nose, throat and airways, where typically viruses like SARS-CoV-2 initially enter the body and grow, can result in improved protection compared to intramuscular vaccines – essentially stopping it at the source.

Clinical trials are underway

Mucosal vaccines are already in wide use in children for other respiratory pathogens like influenza.

Although the first COVID vaccines to pass clinical trials didn’t specifically target the mucosal immune system, a plethora of new vaccine candidates are being explored in pre-clinical and clinical trials. These include intranasal regimes that could work together with the standard COVID vaccines, but also which could work independently.

In animal trials these mucosal vaccines have shown protective effects. In mice, scientists have observed that intranasal vaccines induce higher levels of protection against infection compared with intramuscular vaccines.

However, we don’t know yet whether this would be the same in people. Although some preliminary results do seem encouraging, and a few candidates have progressed to phase 3 trials for efficacy.

If proven to work well in humans, intranasal COVID vaccines could have a variety of benefits. They can be easier to administer, especially to people with a phobia of needles. They could also provide additional protection against initial infection, and therefore transmission, rather than mainly protecting against severe disease, as has been the case with the current crop of COVID vaccines.

This type of vaccine could be especially useful for people who are most vulnerable to getting very sick with COVID, as well as those who tend to spread infection but have a relatively low risk of death, like children and young people.

But before we get to this point, we’ll need significantly more research to support both safety and efficacy. New clinical trials investigating how well these vaccines prevent infection should be relatively straightforward to run given the significant levels of COVID circulating currently.

Connor Bamford, Research Fellow, Virology, Queen's University Belfast

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.



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Tiny bits of plastic about the size of a sesame seed or smaller are everywhere. News headlines often show intact plastic bags, rings and bottles as the primary threats to the environment — and these are indeed harmful to marine life and more — but the smaller, more insidious microplastic bits may even be more harmful. A study1 from Great Britain2 found microplastics in 11 out of 13 patients’ lungs.

Across the world, 299 million tons of plastic were produced in 2013, much of which ended up in the oceans, threatening wildlife and the environment.3 That number jumped to 418 million tons in 2021.4 In 2018, the U.S. alone generated 35.7 million tons of plastic and sent 27 million tons to landfills, which accounted for 18.5% of all municipal solid waste.5

Chemicals found in plastic products are known to act as endocrine disruptors.6 These chemicals are similar in structure to natural sex hormones, and they interfere with the normal functioning of those hormones in your body.7 This poses a particular problem for children who are still growing and developing.

The price that society will pay for the ubiquitous use and distribution of plastic particles has yet to be quantified. Evidence suggests that the long-term exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals like phthalates poses a significant danger to health and fertility.

The amount of plastic that enters the environment grows each year as manufacturers continue to produce products in disposable containers and consumers continue to demand a disposable lifestyle. At a time when advocacy groups warn that plastics are falling from the sky8 and have become a global tragedy,9 the COVID-19 pandemic has driven the plastic problem to even greater heights.

Study Finds Microplastics in 11 Out of 13 Patient’s Lungs

Decades of research have shown that people breathe in microparticles of air pollution as well as consume them in food and water. A 2021 autopsy study10 showed microplastics in 13 of the 20 people analyzed and over 20 years ago a 1998 U.S. lung cancer study11 found plastic and fibers in 99 of the 114 lung samples that were examined.

According to the Natural History Museum,12 microplastics measure less than 5 millimeters. They call microplastics “one of the greatest man-made disasters of our time.” While there are industrial uses for microplastics, most form when they break away from larger plastic products in the environment.

Primary microplastics are those produced in small sizes for industrial use, such as in sandblasters, cosmetics or microfiber clothing. Secondary microplastics result from the breakdown of larger plastic products caused by exposure to environmental stressors.13

One team of scientists from Hull York Medical School sought to analyze the impact that inhaling microplastics has on human tissue. Past research has found synthetic fibers in lung tissue, but researchers wrote there were no robust studies confirming microplastics in lung tissue. The current study analyzed human lung tissue in 13 patients who had undergone lung surgery.

They found microplastic contamination in 11 of the 13 patients.14 The team found 39 pieces in 11 lung tissue samples. Laura Sadofsky, senior lecturer and lead researcher in the study, commented on the importance of the results:15

“Microplastics have previously been found in human cadaver autopsy samples — this is the first robust study to show microplastics in lungs from live people. It also shows that they are in the lower parts of the lung. Lung airways are very narrow so no one thought they could possibly get there, but they clearly have.

This data provides an important advance in the field of air pollution, microplastics and human health. The characterisation of types and levels of microplastics we have found can now inform realistic conditions for laboratory exposure experiments with the aim of determining health impacts.”

Study authors found the subjects harbored 12 types of microplastics, “which have many uses and are commonly found in packaging, bottles, clothing, rope/twine, and many manufacturing processes. There were also considerably higher levels of microplastics in male patients compared to females.”16

Another unexpected finding was that a higher number of microplastics were found in the lower portions of the lung. The most abundant types of microplastics were polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).17 This finding points to the recent ubiquitous use of blue surgical masks during the pandemic as PP is the most commonly used plastic component in those masks.

Expert Says COVID Face Covers Are Not Masks

A study18 published in 2021 looked at the risks of wearing blue surgical face masks and inhaling microplastics. The researchers found that reusing masks could increase the risk of inhaling microplastic particles and that N95 respirators had the lowest number of microplastics released when compared to not wearing a mask.

They said, “Surgical, cotton, fashion, and activated carbon masks wearing pose higher fiber-like microplastic inhalation risk …”19 and yet, according to Chris Schaefer, a respirator specialist and training expert, the masks used by millions of people throughout the world are not really masks at all.20

Schaefer calls these “breathing barriers” as they “don’t meet the legal definition” of a mask. He was emphatic that the surgical masks used by consumers throughout Canada, the U.S. and the world are shedding microplastics small enough to be inhaled.21

“A [proper] mask has engineered breathing openings in front of mouth and nose to ensure easy and effortless breathing. A breathing barrier is closed both over mouth and nose. And by doing that, it captures carbon dioxide that you exhale, forces you to re-inhale it, causing a reduction in your inhaled oxygen levels and causes excessive carbon dioxide. So, they’re not safe to wear.”

He encourages people to cut one open and look at the loose fibers that are easily dislodged within the product.22

“The heat and moisture that it captures will cause the degradation of those fibres to break down smaller. Absolutely, people are inhaling [microplastic particles]. I’ve written very extensively on the hazards of these breathing barriers the last two years, I’ve spoken to scientists [and other] people for the last two years about people inhaling the fibres.

If you get the sensation that you’ve gotten a little bit of cat hair, or any type of irritation in the back of your throat after wearing them. That means you’re inhaling the fibres.”

He went on to note that anyone exposed to these types of fibers in an occupational setting would be required to wear protection. Instead, people are using products that increase the risk of inhaling fibers that “break down very small and, well, what that’s going to do to people in the in the form of lung function — as well as toxicity overload in their body — I guess we’ll know in a few years.”23

Face Coverings Also Increase the Death Rate From COVID-19

German physician, Dr. Zacharias Fögen, published a study24 in the peer-reviewed journal Medicine, which analyzed data across counties in Kansas, comparing areas where there was a mask mandate against counties without a mandate.

He found that mandatory masking increased the death rate by 85%. The mortality rate remained 52% higher in counties that mandated masking even when the analysis accounted for confounding factors. Fögen writes that further analysis of the data showed that 95% of the effect “can only be attributed to COVID-19, so it is not CO2, bacteria or fungi under the mask.”25

He has named this the Foegen Effect which refers to the reinhalation of viral particles trapped in droplets and deposited on the mask, which worsens outcomes. He writes:26

“The most important finding from this study is that contrary to the accepted thought that fewer people are dying because infection rates are reduced by masks, this was not the case. Results from this study strongly suggest that mask mandates actually caused about 1.5 times the number of deaths or ~50% more deaths compared to no mask mandates.

The mask mandates themselves have increased the CFR (case fatality rate) by 1.85 / 1.58 or by 85% / 58% in counties with mask mandates. It was also found that almost all of these additional deaths were attributed solely to COVID-19. This study revealed that wearing facemasks might impose a great risk on individuals, which would not be mitigated by a reduction in the infection rate.

The use of facemasks, therefore, might be unfit, if not contraindicated, as an epidemiologic intervention against COVID-19.”

Fögen notes two other large studies that found similar results with case fatality rates. The first was published in the journal Cureus27 and found no association between case numbers and mask compliance in Europe but a positive association with death and mask compliance.

The second study28 was published in PLOS|One, which demonstrated there was an association between negative COVID outcomes and mask mandates across 847,000 people in 69 countries. The researchers estimated that ending the mask mandates could reduce new cases with no effect on hospitalization and death.

Plastics Trigger Cell Damage and Death

Past research has highlighted the impact microplastics have on the environment, wildlife and human health. However, many studies have not drawn an association between microplastic consumption or inhalation and disease. Instead, they identify research gaps and recommend further study.29

A paper30 published in April 2022 has suggested why this data has been inconsistent. The lab data was the first to find that microplastics damaged human cells at levels that are relevant to the number of particles humans ingest or inhale.

The study was a meta-regression analysis of the toxicological impact on human cells across 17 studies that compared the level of microplastics that cause cell damage. The researchers found that it was the irregularly shaped microplastics that cause cell damage and not the spherical microplastics that are normally used in laboratory experiments.

This suggests that past lab data using spherical microplastics may not fully represent the damage that microplastics cause to human health. Evangelos Danopoulos from Hull York Medical School in the U.K., who led the study, commented on why research is increasing: “It is exploding and for good reason. We are exposed to these particles every day: we’re eating them, we’re inhaling them. And we don’t really know how they react with our bodies once they are in.”31

Where Does Plastic Pollution Go in Your Body?

Researchers have found that tiny microplastics are not only deposited in your lungs and gut but can also be found floating in your blood. Researchers from The Netherlands analyzed samples32 from 22 healthy volunteers and found plastic particles in 77% of the samples. These particles were 700 nanometers or greater in dimension, which is a size that can be absorbed across membranes.

Some samples contained up to three different types of plastic. The study author told The Guardian “Our study is the first indication that we have polymer particles in our blood — it’s a breakthrough result. But we have to extend the research and increase the sample sizes, the number of polymers assessed, etc.”33

The researchers wrote that where these plastic particles end up in the body also requires further study. They stated that it’s “scientifically plausible” that the plastic particles are being transported by the bloodstream to organs, based, for instance, on data showing that 50, 80 and 240 nm polystyrene beads and microsized polypropylene can permeate the human placenta.34

After these microplastics cross the placental barrier, they end up in a newborn’s first feces. This means they migrate from the infant’s blood to the gut. A pilot study35 published in 2021 looked at the magnitude of human exposure to microplastics and found that the microplastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was found in meconium samples, which is a baby’s first stool.

The amount of PET in infant stool was 10 times higher than found in adult samples, which suggested that babies have plastic in their system that is absorbed from their mother. How this will affect the future of human health is still being studied. An animal study found that just 24 hours after maternal inhalation exposure, nanopolystyrene particles could be detected in the placenta and fetal brain, lungs, liver, heart and kidney.36

It appears that inhaling or consuming microplastics allows micro particles access to your bloodstream and then to your vital organs. While researchers have demonstrated that the irregularly shaped microplastics found in the environment cause cell damage and death, the long-term effects on disease have not been identified. Yet, you may be sure that cell damage and death do not occur without consequences.

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Although we had seen that women are more resistant to a Covid infection as compared to men, if a recent study is to be believed, it has been found that women are twice more likely to suffer from long Covid symptoms compared to their male counterparts. It was also found that individuals with a history of autoimmune diseases or depression have an increased chance of experiencing long Covid symptoms.

The study conducted by 23andMe, a genetic testing company, examined 100,000 people who had a Covid infection. Among the study subjects, almost a quarter stated that they experienced long Covid symptoms like breathing issues, fatigue and brain fog for up to a period of 12 weeks.

The study, which was conducted by a self-reported survey, found that while the likelihood of women suffering from long Covid is twice compared to men, they also suffered for a longer duration. Almost half of the women who had long Covid manifested symptoms for six months or more, which meant low productivity, missed work days, and difficulty managing every day tasks .

According to the
Financial Times, Catherine Weldon, associate scientist at 23andMe, and Stella Aslibekyan, genetic epidemiologist say that the reason why women are more severely affected is hormones.

“Scientists know there are similar differences for other kinds of conditions. For example, women are much more likely than men to develop autoimmune conditions such as lupus or multiple sclerosis,” they were quoted saying.

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The researchers explained that the reason for it is that women have two copies of the X chromosome which consist of a large number of immune-related genes. Therefore, immune-responses are higher in women. The study also propounded that a quarter of women going through long Covid experienced disruption in their menstrual cycle.

According to the research, a third of individuals who had long Covid had a history of autoimmune disease. Moreover, it was found that half of those with a history of depression, anxiety or cardiometabolic disease such as heart attacks or diabetes also show increased symptoms of long Covid.

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New Jersey, United States – Breathing Treatment Machine Market Report 2022-2029, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The Breathing Treatment Machine market study sheds light on the important growth dynamics expected to prevail across the assessment period 2022-2029. The study offers statistics of key segments across prominent geographies, along with a detailed mapping of the global competitive landscape. Moreover, The market report tracks the global sales of Breathing Treatment Machine in 25+ high growth markets, along with analyzing the impact COVID-19 has had on the current industry and the Breathing Treatment Machine sector in particular.

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High-impact rendering factors and drivers have been studied in the Breathing Treatment Machine market report to aid the readers to understand the general development. Moreover, the report includes restraints and challenges that may act as stumbling blocks in the way of the players. This will assist the users to be attentive and make informed decisions related to business. Specialists have also laid their focus on the upcoming business prospects.

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Prominent Key players of the Breathing Treatment Machine market survey report:

Key Player I, Key Player II, Key Player III, Key Player IV, Key Player V

Key Segments Covered in Breathing Treatment Machine Market – Industry Analysis By Types, Applications, and Regions:

Breathing Treatment Machine Market – Types Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 – 2029)

• Type I
• Type II
• Type III
• Type IV

Breathing Treatment Machine Market – Applications Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 – 2029)

• Application I
• Application II
• Application III
• Application IV

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 Breathing Treatment Machine Market Report Scope

ATTRIBUTES DETAILS
ESTIMATED YEAR 2022
BASE YEAR 2021
FORECAST YEAR 2029
HISTORICAL YEAR 2020
UNIT Value (USD Million/Billion)
SEGMENTS COVERED Types, Applications, End-Users, and more.
REPORT COVERAGE Revenue Forecast, Company Ranking, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, and Trends
BY REGION North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa
CUSTOMIZATION SCOPE Free report customization (equivalent up to 4 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

Regional Analysis of the Breathing Treatment Machine Market:

The Breathing Treatment Machine Market research report details the ongoing market trends, development outlines, and several research methodologies. It illustrates the key factors that directly manipulate the Market, for instance, production strategies, development platforms, and product portfolio. According to our researchers, even minor changes within the product profiles could result in huge disruptions to the above-mentioned factors.

➛ North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico)
➛ Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia, and Italy)
➛ Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia)
➛ South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, etc.)
➛ Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa)

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➜ Various regulations imposed by the governments on the consumption of Breathing Treatment Machine in detail
➜ Impact of modern technologies, such as big data & analytics, artificial intelligence, and social media platforms on the Breathing Treatment Machine

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico Department of Health reported 16 additional COVID-19-related deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

There are currently 103 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico with COVID-19.

The NMDOH has modified its daily reporting of COVID-19 data. Their data dashboard no longer includes a daily breakdown of new cases and deaths in each county.

Hospitalizations

  • 103 current hospitalizations The number of hospital beds currently occupied by individuals with COVID-19
  • 9 ventilated The number of hospitalized individuals with COVID-19 who are using machines to help them breathe. This includes people in the ER who have been put on a breathing machine while waiting for a hospital bed.

Deaths

  • 16 new deaths The total number of people who have died of COVID-19 that the state learned about yesterday.
  • 7,700 cumulative The total number of people who have died with COVID-19 in New Mexico since the beginning of the pandemic.

Cases

  • 542 new cases The total number of people with COVID-19 that the state learned about yesterday. Results reported following a weekend or holiday include all new cases since the last update.
  • 531,309 cumulative This case count includes all COVID-19 cases reported to the state from the start of the pandemic through the latest update.

Tests

  • 5,882 new tests The number of COVID-19 tests from a laboratory or medical facility that confirms current COVID-19 infection. All test results received by the state yesterday are counted. Home-based test results are not included.

For more information, click here.

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Covid-19 Smartphone Detection System at Yas MallShare on Pinterest
A repurposed antibiotic shows promise as a COVID-19 treatment in mice. Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • There is still no cure for the coronavirus, which to date is responsible for more than 6 million deaths worldwide.
  • Researchers from the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France say an existing antibiotic shows promise repurposed as a potential treatment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a mouse model.
  • The existing drug is called clofoctol. Scientists plan to test it for COVID-19 in humans in a phase 3 clinical trial.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have put much emphasis on the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as potential medications to treat the disease.

Current research efforts to find a therapeutic agent for coronavirus include the antiviral drugs molnupiravir and remdesivir, as well as an antimalarial drug called atovaquone.

However, there is still no cure for the coronavirus.

Now, researchers from the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France say the antibacterial drug clofoctol shows promise as a potential treatment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 via a mouse model.

The study was recently published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Clofoctol is an antibiotic drug used for the treatment of bacterial respiratory tract infections. It is also sometimes used to prevent infections after throat, nose, and ear surgeries.

This is not the first time researchers have identified clofoctol as a repurposed drug for the treatment of other conditions. In May 2021, a study showed the antibiotic drug as a possible treatment for prostate cancer and neuroglioma.

And in May 2019, researchers identified clofoctol as a suppressant of glioma stem cells, which are the primary cause of malignant tumors in the central nervous system.

The idea of drug repurposing is certainly not new. However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed an increased focus in looking at already developed and approved drugs as a possible remedy, rather than waiting the years it takes to develop a brand new medication.

According to Dr. Jean Dubuisson, head of the Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille at the Pasteur Institute, and co-lead author of this study, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the objective of this study was to rapidly identify a drug compound that could potentially be tested in a clinical trial.

“Drug repurposing can accelerate the time for using it in humans since such a drug has already been tested for its toxicity and tolerability in humans,” he explained to MNT. “Developing de novo a new drug takes much more time because it needs chemical optimization, with a lot of preclinical validations, and it can take 10-15 years for such a development.”

Researchers identified clofoctol from a database of almost 2,000 approved drugs to find ones that showed antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2.

“After the first screen, among the 1,942 compounds tested, we identified [21] molecules with potential antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2,” Dr. Dubuisson explained. “However, only a limited number of these molecules, including clofoctol, were confirmed in additional experiments.”

“Clofoctol was finally chosen because of its pharmacological properties,” he added. “Indeed, this compound accumulates in human lungs at a concentration much higher than the concentrations showing antiviral activity in cell culture.”

Through the study, Dubuisson and his team tested the effectiveness of clofoctol both in vitro in cell cultures and within transgenic mice infected with SARS-CoV-2.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found mice treated with clofoctol had a lower SARS-CoV-2 viral load in their lungs. Additionally, the mice had reduced lung inflammation.

Dubuisson said the next step for this research is to test clofoctol in humans via a phase 3 clinical trial.

Dr. Jimmy Johannes, pulmonologist and critical care medicine specialist at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, would also like to see human clinical trials emerge from what he told MNT was promising research.

“It’s one of those things where it’s good to see that people are looking for new antiviral treatments,” he added. “We just have to guard any excitement any time it’s not yet tested in humans.”

Dr. Johannes also believed it is a good idea to look at repurposing old drugs for new indications, such as COVID-19. “When we have an older drug, that usually means that we’ve done some studies or we have some experience using them,” he explained.

“Therefore, there is some safety data to use. There’s a little bit more confidence — when we find that it is positive and it might work — that it’s also probably safer than something that we haven’t tested before.”

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Grand opening

HRN's white paper reported some really incredible scores, maybe having us rethink and relearn why Pulmonary and Cardiac rehabilitation is necessary.

Over 99% of our patients report improvements in their breathing post-rehabilitation. Hospital readmission rates dropped by 2.4%”

— Alexander Grichuhin

OWINGS MILLS, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES, May 24, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The Home Rehab Network is Maryland-based Telehealth rehabilitation company founded in 2017 with the goal of making rehabilitation more accessible and improving health outcomes in patients with pulmonary disease from the comfort of their own home. Guided by practitioners that are well known in their field of practice, no other program offered in the United States can compete with HRN’s experience and success rates in the industry.

HRN is composed of physicians, respiratory/occupational therapists, clinical care coordinators, personal trainer, dietician, telehealth IT specialists, account manager, data

manager, and external programs/ consultants to enhance program.

Multidisciplinary Team

Program Success: Health Quality Measures

Methods

A total 100 stable COPD patients (GOLD stages II-IV, and <4L/min oxygen) between the age of 50-85 were randomly selected from chart review. COPD health quality metrics including COPD assessment test (CAT), 6-minute walk test (6MWT), incentive spirometry, and BORG scale were analyzed prior to, during, and at the completion of the program.

Measures were compared using paired t-test and Chi-squared test with p<0.05 considered a statistically significant. "Over 99% of our patients report improvement in their breathing post-rehabilitation "

Comparison of 30-day Hospital Readmission Rates (%) for AECOPD

Thirty-day readmission rates were compared between out-patient PR programs and health system, statewide, nationwide, and country-based readmission data (19-22). Telehealth- based PR resulted in a drastic reduction in rehospitalization with HRN demonstrating the lowest rates at 2.4%. The impact of a comprehensive telehealth PR program has also resulted in a readmission reduction up to 3-months. However, future research including randomized trials and registries will be required to further validate program success for hospital wide adoption.

HRN-2.4%

Telehealth Based-6.2%

Home Respiratory therapy-12.2%

LifeBridgeHealth System-16.4%

State (MD)-19.9%

Nationwide-22%

UK-24%

It is estimated that 15.7 million Americans (6.4%) have been diagnosed with COPD with prevalence varying considerably by state and country.

The potential cost savings is enormous saving over a billion dollars nationwide just accounting for hospital costs. In addition, each state and hospital could save

millions per 1000 index visits for COPD and bronchiectasis. The same savings could be applied to other chronic conditions that HRN manages such as heart failure.

There is critical need for more research and data analytics demonstrating the cost effectiveness of HRN's program by region, and payment models. Given the improvement in accessibility, health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and cost reduction it only makes sense for hospitals to provide this proven and one-of-a-kind program to all their patients that meet the criteria.

For a full White Paper review please use the link provided.

Home Rehab Network, LLC
Home Rehab Network, LLC
+1 410-714-1587
email us here

COVID Patient Recovery



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Washington (AFP) – Coronavirus survivors have twice the risk of developing dangerous blood clots that travel to their lungs compared to people who weren't infected, as well double the chance of respiratory symptoms, a large new study said Tuesday.

The research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that as many as one in five adults aged 18-64 years and one in four of those over 65 went on to experience health conditions that could be related to their bout of Covid -- a finding consistent with other research.

Among all conditions, the risk of developing acute pulmonary embolism -- a clot in an artery of the lung -- increased the most, by a factor of two in both adults younger and older than 65, as did respiratory symptoms like a chronic cough or shortness of breath.

Pulmonary embolisms usually travel to the lungs from a deep vein in the legs, and can cause serious problems, including lung damage, low oxygen levels and death.

The study was based on more than 350,000 patient records of people who had Covid-19 from March 2020 - November 2021, paired with 1.6 million people in a "control" group who had sought medical attention in the same month as a corresponding "case" patient, but weren't diagnosed with Covid.

The team assessed the records for the occurrence of 26 clinical conditions previously associated with long Covid.

Patients were followed one month out from the time they were first seen until they developed a subsequent condition, or until a year had passed, whichever came first.

The most common conditions in both age groups were respiratory symptoms and musculoskeletal pain.

In patients under 65, risks after Covid elevated for most types of condition, but no significant differences were observed for cerebrovascular disease, mental health conditions, or substance-related disorders.

"Covid-19 severity and illness duration can affect patients' health care needs and economic well-being," the authors wrote.

"The occurrence of incident conditions following infection might also affect a patient's ability to contribute to the workforce and might have economic consequences for survivors and their dependents," as well as placing added strain on health systems.

Limitations of the study included the fact that data on sex, race, and geographic region were not considered, nor was vaccination status. Because of the time period, the study also didn't factor in newer variants.

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Fisher & Paykel Healthcare's full year profit has taken a major hit, as it has been unable to replicate the rapid growth it achieved during the height of the pandemic.

Vitera device for sleep apnoea by Fisher and Paykel.

Photo: Supplied / Fisher and Paykel Healthcare

The medical equipment manufacturer produces face masks, dehumidifiers, and breathing related devices, which have shown to be effective at treating people with Covid-19.

Key numbers for the year ended March compared to a year ago:

  • Net profit $376.9m vs $524.2m
  • Revenue $1.68bm vs $1.97b
  • Final dividend of 22.5 cents per share vs 22 cps

The company said the "strong result" followed an unprecedented year in 2021.

"Over the last two financial years we have supplied $880m of hospital hardware, the equivalent of approximately 10 years' hardware sales prior to Covid-19," chief executive Lewis Gradon said.

The result was broadly in line with market expectations of a profit of $379.5m and revenue of about $1.7b.

The company had been a benefactor from the outbreak of Covid because of high demand for its breathing devices from hospitals globally, as they were effective at treating Covid-19 patients.

But earnings have tailed off since the early stages of the pandemic as cases appear to have peaked.

Sales to North America, Europe and "Other" regions fell 19 percent, 26 percent, and 33 percent respectively over the year.

However, sales throughout Asia Pacific were 26 percent higher than a year ago at $438.8m.

There company's margins came under pressure over the year, following higher use of premium air-freight services and elevated freight costs.

Revenue from its hospital division were down 19 percent to $1.2 billion, but sales from its home product group, which includes its sleep apnea and home respiratory devices, saw revenue growth of 1 percent to $469.5m.

Looking ahead, Gradon said it did not expect hospital hardware revenue for the current financial year to continue at the rates seen in FY22.

He estimated that the average utilisation rate of these products was 60 to 70 percent of a pre-Covid-19 midpoint and expected that over time clinicians would make use of the equipment for other treatments.

"Given the ongoing uncertainties regarding our customers' stockholding choices and their capacity to implement new protocols with personnel shortages and the possibility of further surges of Covid-19 over the near term, we are not currently providing quantitative revenue or earnings guidance for the 2023 financial year."

Gradon said high freight costs would continue to weigh on its margins and that the company was also carrying more inventory to help mitigate supply chain shortages.

Forsyth Barr analyst Matt Montgomerie said the result had minimal surprises.

"Our FY23 base case is a sharp decline in hospital hardware revenue and modest growth in consumables revenue.

"Despite the revenue uncertainty, we expect [operating expenditure] growth broadly in-line with history as FPH invests for growth."

New Products

The release of company's full year financial results coincided with the announcement that it had three new products.

Its Optiflow Swtich and Optiflow Trace consumable products were designed for anaesthesia.

"We see an opportunity to improve outcomes for patients undergoing anaesthesia and believe that these new products will contribute to our aspiration of sustainable profitable growth over the long term," Gradon said.

It also unveiled a new piece of hardware, Airvo 3, which generates high flows of respiratory gases to be delivered to the patient via a variety of consumable face/nasal masks that the company sells.

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May 24, 2022 – After 2 years of hearing about the coronavirus, there’s now another infectious disease on Americans’ radars: monkeypox.

There is now one confirmed case and four suspected cases of the monkeypox virus – a rare disease closely related to smallpox – in the U.S., according to the CDC.

There are two strains of the virus: one out of Central Africa, and another from West Africa that is less severe. The strain from West Africa has been behind recent monkeypox cases. The confirmed case in the U.S. is a male in Massachusetts who had recently traveled to Canada.

The four suspected cases – one in Florida, one in New York City, and two in Utah – were all identified in males. They have tested positive for orthopox, the family of viruses that includes monkeypox and smallpox.

People with suspected cases had also recently traveled internationally, but specific locations aren’t being disclosed because of privacy concerns, according to Jennifer McQuiston, DVM, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology.

There is also a presumptive case of the virus in Seattle with a male who had recently returned from a country with monkeypox cases, local health officials reported on Monday.

There are currently over 90 confirmed cases and around 28 suspected cases of monkeypox in a dozen countries, according to the World Health Organization.

This outbreak is unusual as cases have popped up in areas of the world where the virus is rarely seen, such as Australia, Canada, and the U.K., as well as other countries in Europe.

In the U.S., the CDC suspects that more cases of monkeypox will likely be discovered in the coming days and weeks.

While monkeypox is a cause of concern, quarantine to help stop its spread probably isn’t needed, according to President Joe Biden.

“I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19, and the smallpox vaccine works for it,” he said at a recent news conference.

Why Is Monkeypox Spreading Now?

Reasons behind the current global outbreak are unknown or at least haven’t been made available, says Aaron Glatt, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in New York state.

But while some monkeypox questions remain unanswered, the virus is hardly novel.

Monkeypox is endemic in Western and Central Africa, where most cases have been found since the virus’s discovery. Over the last 5 years, many monkeypox cases have appeared in Nigeria, which led to infections in at least nine people in various parts of the world who had recently returned from the country, McQuiston told reporters at a recent news conference.

Human monkeypox cases have been previously discovered in the U.S., including two people who had traveled to Nigeria in 2021.

Forty-seven confirmed and likely cases were also found in the U.S. in 2003. Those were closely linked to animals imported from Ghana, according to the CDC.

But recent global cases of monkeypox were found in people who hadn’t visited West African or other countries where the virus is often found. Infected people had traveled to Canada and countries in Europe, where cases were reported in late April and early May.

What Are Symptoms of Monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox are similar but less severe than those of the smallpox virus. They normally appear a week or two after exposure to the virus, though it can take longer in some cases.

Monkeypox normally starts with flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, a headache, and achy muscles.

Unlike smallpox and chickenpox, swollen lymph nodes are also common. (Worth noting: Despite similar-sounding names and descriptions, chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, meaning it is not related to the monkeypox virus.)

After 1 to 3 days of these symptoms, a rash usually develops on your face, then can spread to the rest of your body.

Next, the most notable symptoms can develop: flat, circular lesions in different parts of the body that eventually turn into bumps filled with a clear fluid.

These bumps eventually become crusty before falling off.

Recovery usually takes 2 to 4 weeks, even without specific treatment.

How Does Monkeypox Spread?
Monkeypox is largely transmitted through close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have lesions as a result of the virus.

You can also catch the virus through respiratory droplets if you’re around an infected person with lesions in their mouth for an extended period.

“What we are talking about here is close contact – it’s not a situation where if you are passing someone in the grocery store, they're going to be at risk for monkeypox,” says McQuiston.

To prevent the spread of the virus, it’s best to quarantine people who have it and to follow up with their close contacts, the CDC says.

Some health experts also suggest a “ring vaccination” strategy to curb monkeypox spread, which means vaccinating close contacts of a person infected with the virus.

Are There Vaccines for Monkeypox?

The smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective against the monkeypox virus, according to the CDC.

The U.S. currently has one antiviral and two FDA-approved vaccines for smallpox prevention.

One – a newer vaccine by the name of Jynneos – is also approved to fight against monkeypox. Those 18 years old or older can receive the two-dose vaccine if they are considered high risk for smallpox or monkeypox.

The U.S. has around 1,000 Jynneos vaccine doses and has requested more from the National Stockpile for certain “high-risk contacts of some of the early patients,” McQuiston says.

The U.S. also has more than 100 million doses of an older smallpox vaccine, called ACAM2000. But health officials are hesitant to give it to the public because it can have severe side effects.

These side effects can be particularly dangerous for people who are immunocompromised or those who have eczema, according to John Brooks, MD, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.

Right now, smallpox vaccines will mostly go to people who have been exposed to monkeypox or who “have a significant reason to get the vaccine,” Glatt says.

“You wouldn’t give this to the general population at this point in time.”

How Are Monkeypox Cases Confirmed?

Testing is done in two stages.

First, patient test samples are sent to state laboratories to be tested for orthopox.

If tests come back positive, the samples are sent to the CDC for monkeypox testing.

Do I Have to Find a Special Kind of Doctor for Monkeypox Treatment?

If you suspect you contracted monkeypox, you can visit your local doctor’s office.

“This is a disease we’re asking front-line providers to be vigilant for because it can be managed or diagnosed in a general physician's office using routine standard precautions,” Brooks says.

Protection against monkeypox for health care workers includes wearing gloves, an N95 respirator, face mask, and possibly a protective gown, he says.

Who Is Most Vulnerable to the Monkeypox Virus?

Anybody can become infected and spread monkeypox after being closely exposed to the virus.

That said, most recent cases around the world have been identified in parts of the gay and bisexual communities, as well as other men who have sex with other men.

And while monkeypox is not classified as an STD, the virus can spread “during sexual and intimate contact, as well as with personal contact in shared bedding and clothing,” according to Brooks.

Monkeypox can also be mistaken for certain STDs, particularly when there are virus sores in the genital and anus regions, he says.

“One thing I want to say about the disease is how the disease presents, these lesions and rashes have been a little atypical than what we expect,” Brooks says.

“In one case, a doctor thought the person had very severe herpes at first.”

Anyone who notices an unexplained rash should reach out to their doctor right away to check for monkeypox infection and STDs, he says.

How Dangerous Is the Monkeypox Virus?

The current monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. and Europe has resulted in mild symptoms.

But the virus can cause serious health problems, particularly for immunocompromised people, as well as those with certain skin conditions, like eczema.

Lesions that develop in certain parts of the body can be particularly harmful. Lesions in the eye could damage your vision, according to McQuiston.

And if the virus causes your lymph nodes to swell, it could be hard for you to breathe.

“Luckily we do have antivirals that are available for treatment, which can be used in persons that we think may be at higher risk for severe disease or have severe disease already,” says Brooks.

How Is Monkeypox Different From COVID-19?

The viruses differ in two major ways, according to the CDC.

COVID-19 is highly contagious, mostly through liquid droplets released when infected people talk, cough, or sneeze.

Monkeypox, on the other hand, is largely spread through bodily fluid, virus sores, and respiratory droplets of people with lesions in their mouths and throats due to infection.

Secondly, the COVID-19 virus affects the upper respiratory tract, leading to symptoms like a sore throat and coughing, vs. the monkeypox’s flu-like symptoms.

“Early in COVID-19, we didn’t have a lot of information, and things changed as we learned more,” McQuiston says. “We do know a lot about monkeypox from many decades of studying it, and respiratory spread is not the predominant worry.”

Could Pets Get Monkeypox?

Given that the monkeypox is a zoonotic virus, meaning it comes from animals, it can jump into humans and other species in what’s called a “spillover event.”

But cats, dogs, and other pets are likely not at high risk of infection, McQuiston says.

“During the monkeypox outbreak in 2003, we did extensive testing of a lot of different animal species, and we did not see spread during that outbreak to domestic pets,” she says.

“But I think this is an area we are going to continue to watch carefully.”

If I Get a Smallpox Vaccine to Fight Against Monkeypox, Would the Protection Decrease Over Time?

Many older adults are likely already vaccinated against smallpox. While there’s probably some benefit, protection likely wanes over time, says Glatt.

“Even those people, if they were exposed, would probably need a second dose of smallpox vaccine.”

Could Monkeypox Be the Next Pandemic?

The likelihood of a monkeypox pandemic is extremely unlikely, Glatt says.

“The routes of transmission are dissimilar to COVID-19,” he says. “You really need prolonged, close contact, and it’s not well-spread human-to-human. COVID-19 is extremely well-spread human-to-human.”

To learn more about monkeypox symptoms and prevention, click here.

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A large study of adults in the United States who survived COVID-19 during the first 2 years of the pandemic found that they had twice the risk of developing pulmonary embolism or respiratory conditions in the year following infection.

In other developments, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracking today shows that the more transmissible BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant is now the dominant strain, as illness levels continue a steady rise across the country.

Seniors had higher risk of neuro, mental conditions

The new findings on post COVID-19 conditions come from a CDC analysis of a large electronic health record database that compared outcomes in people ages 18 and older who received a COVID-19 diagnosis in a clinic, emergency department, or hospital with people from the same settings who weren't sick with the virus.

The study included 353,164 COVID-19 patients and 1,640,776 controls. The findings appear today in an early online edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Researchers looked at 26 clinical conditions that had been previously linked to post-COVID illness. Patients were followed until their first occurrence of one of the 26 conditions or until Oct 31, 2021.

Of patients ages 18 to 64 years old, one in five COVID survivors experienced a condition linked to previous infection. Of those 65 and older, one in four experienced one of the conditions.

For both groups, the highest risk were for pulmonary embolism and respiratory symptoms. However, seniors had a higher risk of neurological conditions and four mental health conditions, which included mood disorders, other mental conditions, anxiety, and substance-related disorders. Researchers said those findings were concerning, because older people are already at higher risk for stroke and neurocognitive impairment.

The authors wrote that the findings are consistent with earlier studies showing that post-COVID problems occur in 20% to 30% of patients, with some requiring follow-up care. They said COVID prevention strategies and routine assessment for post-COVID conditions are critical for reducing the impact of the disease and its longer-term complications.

They also said more research is needed to better understand the physiologic mechanisms that contribute to the post-COVID conditions.

BA.2.12.1 becomes dominant in US

In its updated variant tracking today, the CDC estimated that the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant, first spotted in New York, is now the nation's dominant strain, making up an estimated 58% of sequenced specimens. Last week, the variant made up 49.4% of sequenced samples.

BA.2.12.1 is thought to be more transmissible than BA.2, but so far, there's no evidence that it causes more severe disease.

In other US developments:

  • The CDC today issued a Health Advisory Network alert to clinicians about COVID-19 rebound after treatment with Paxlovid. Symptoms can recur 2 to 8 days after Paxlovid treatment, and patients can test positive again after having tested negative. The CDC said Paxlovid treatment helps prevent hospitalization and deaths and said a brief return of symptoms might be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of treatment or vaccination status. So far, rebound infections are reported to be mild and the condition can be managed with isolation and masking.
  • For the week ending May 17, more than 107,000 COVID-19 infections were reported in kids, up 72% from 2 weeks ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in its latest update.
  • The nation's 7-day average for daily COVID-19 cases is 107,316, with 312 daily deaths, according to an analysis from the New York Times.

WHA shores up WHO funding

The World Health Assembly is meeting this week in-person in Geneva today for the first time since the start of the pandemic, and today the group adopted a more sustainable funding mechanism to support the World Health Organization (WHO).

The plan gradually increases member contributions to eventually make up 50%—up from 16% currently—of the WHO's core budget by 2030-2031. It also includes measures to replenish funds to broaden financing and strengthened WHO governance to add transparency, efficiency, and accountability.

The WHA, made up of health leaders from 194 member states, is the decision-making body of the WHO.

In other WHA developments, the group re-elected the WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, to serve a second 5-year term. He was the only candidate.

In other global developments:

  • The European Medicines Agency has approved the use of AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 for third-dose boosters in both those who got the vaccine as their primary series and in those who got an mRNA vaccine.
  • North Korea says its "fever cases" are starting to decline, but global health officials say it's extremely difficult to gauge the country's COVID-19 surge situation, according to Reuters. So far, North Korea hasn't responded to offers from other nations to help. At the World Economic Forum this week, South Korea is expected to press for help for North Korea.

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Fisher & Paykel Healthcare experienced unprecedented demand for its breathing aids during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SUPLLIED

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare experienced unprecedented demand for its breathing aids during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s annual profit fell 28%
  • The company is coming off a period of huge demand for its products
  • Revenue from its key hospital division fell 19%

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare reported a 28% drop in annual profit as demand for its breathing aids slowed from the unprecedented high levels during the earlier stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Profit fell to $376.9 million in the year to March 31, from $524.2m a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the NZX on Wednesday. Revenue slid 15% to $1.68 billion, in line with the company’s forecast for revenue of between $1.675b to $1.7b.

Fisher & Paykel experienced a surge in demand for its Airvo devices and Optiflow consumable products during the pandemic as hospital clinicians turned to nasal high flow therapy as a front-line treatment for Covid-19 patients. Over the last two financial years it has supplied $880m of hospital hardware, the equivalent of about 10 years’ worth of hardware sales prior to Covid-19.

“The last several years have been remarkable for our company,” said managing director Lewis Gradon.

READ MORE:
* Fisher & Paykel Healthcare boomed during the pandemic; What is the outlook now?
* Fisher & Paykel Healthcare beats expectations, gives NZX50 a boost
* Fisher & Paykel Healthcare profit slips 2% as demand for breathing aids to treat Covid-19 slows

But demand for its breathing aids is now starting to slow, with revenue from its key hospital division, which includes humidification products used in respiratory, acute and surgical care, down 19% to $1.2b.

Breakfast

Most of the deaths occurred in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to a WHO report issued on Friday.

Gradon said the company had supplied an “extraordinary” amount of hospital hardware over the last two financial years, but warned sales of the devices were now expected to fall.

“Covid-19 may have peaked in many parts of the world for the time being, and many countries have boosted their hospital treatment capacity,” he said. “As a result, we do not expect hospital hardware revenue for the 2023 financial year to continue at FY22 levels.“

Over time, the company expects hospital clinicians to use the extra respiratory machines purchased during the pandemic for an increasing proportion of respiratory-compromised patients in general, Gradon said.

“If the change in clinical practice occurs over a three-to five-year time-frame, it would drive strong growth in hospital consumable sales over this period,” he said.

Still, the uncertainty ahead meant the company could not provide guidance for the coming year, he said.

“Given the ongoing uncertainties regarding our customers’ stockholding choices and their capacity to implement new protocols with personnel shortages and the possibility of further surges of Covid-19 over the near term, we are not currently providing quantitative revenue or earnings guidance for the 2023 financial year,” Gradon said.

Higher freight costs weighed on the company’s gross profit margin, which fell to 62.6% from 63.2%, and Gradon said the margin was likely to be at a similar level this year.

Fisher & Paykel increased its final dividend to 22.5 cents, bringing the full-year dividend to 39.5c from 38c the year earlier.

The directors approved a profit-sharing payment of $19m to employees who have worked for the company for a qualifying period.

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Have you ever come across a painted rock? Are you familiar with the concept? People paint rocks and leave them in public areas for others to find. What they paint on the front of the rock is completely up to them. The underside typically offers information about the person or group that placed them there. The purpose can be to raise awareness, share a message of hope, or just make someone smile.

One recent morning, while running errands, my wife, Susan, went to a local Wegmans grocery store. As she walked from her car toward the store, she noticed it: a painted rock on the ground next to the shopping cart corral. It was painted in the blue color associated with pulmonary fibrosis. The rock had a simple message painted in white on a blue background: “Just Breathe.”

Divine providence?

In the painted rock world, when you find one, it is customary to share with the artist where you found it. It was no different for Susan. When she returned home, she was excited. How was she, of all people, the one who came across this rock? A phrase so meaningful to us had been left for Susan to discover.

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Pulmonary Fibrosis News | Main graphic for column titled

On the rock’s underside were the words “Spotsy Rocks on FB.” Spotsy Rocks! is a public Facebook group whose members either paint the rocks and/or discover them.

Susan posted a picture of the “Just Breathe” rock in the Facebook group, and within hours, we met Jessica Foster, the artist who painted it.

 

How to bring joy to others | Pulmonary Fibrosis News | Sam holds a rock painted sky blue with the words "Just Breathe" written in white, followed by a heart.

“Just Breathe”: finding joy in a little blue rock. (Photo by Sam Kirton)

Susan had commented about where she found it and had explained that her husband had a lung transplant last year, which made the find “especially meaningful.” Foster’s response was equally joyful: “Yay!!! That is one of my rocks. I’m so glad the right person found it, that makes it even more special!!!”

Finding joy

Foster takes joy in creating “positive rocks.”

With COVID-19 continuing to linger, many in the rare disease communities continue to be negatively affected. In response, we’ve found ways to connect with one another via platforms for virtual gatherings, like Zoom. When yoga studios could no longer hold classes in person, they could do so via Zoom. Virtual pulmonary rehabilitation videos began to become available. People began to share with others in a virtual setting the things that brought them joy.

What is your joy?

I recently shared with you that one of my passions is cooking. I love to make others happy one bite at a time. I also have other things that bring me joy. None of us are limited to a single thing that brings us joy. We’re all worthy of a whole bouquet of joy.

Writing this column each week brings me joy. It’s therapeutic for me to share my journey and some things I’ve learned along the way. It’s especially true when I read your comments and learn of a connection you made with something I wrote. This is a form of advocacy for the pulmonary fibrosis community.

You must find your own joy. Rare diseases and joy are not mutually exclusive. The pulmonary fibrosis community, along with other rare disease communities, constantly amaze me with the things that bring joy.

One little rock

Jessica Foster, you rock! One little painted rock left in a parking lot to be discovered by Susan brought joy to the artist, to Susan, and to me. Thank you for sharing your joy and helping me make every breath count.

What are the little things that make you smile? Is it something you can teach others or share with others? Please let me know in the comments below. 


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.



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I was cooking dinner for my kids when a radio report stopped me, mid-stir: “Why gas stoves are bad for the climate–and you.” My ears perked up as the broadcaster specified that pollutants from gas stoves are especially harmful to kids. I looked down at the blue flames licking up the sides of the simmering pasta pot. Um, oops? 

As a parent, my capacity for things-you-really-should-worry-about feels entirely maxed out. Is it really so bad? I wondered. And why am I only hearing about this now? 

But it turns out multiple studies have found that gas stoves emit indoor air pollutants including methane gas, which is bad for the environment, and nitrogen oxide particles, which are bad for our lungs. In fact, these particles can decrease lung function and trigger or exacerbate asthma in kids, with symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Some gas stoves can leak methane continuously—even when the burners aren’t in use. 

Anne Hicks, a paediatric lung doctor in Edmonton and the clinical lead at the Children’s Environmental Health Clinic at the University of Alberta, says that studies examining gas stoves and indoor air quality have actually been around since the 1990s.

It’s become the topic du jour though, partly because of a new study out of Stanford University in January 2022, which sparked media attention when researchers found that gas stoves emitted alarming levels of methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas that’s bad for the environment.

While all of this was news to me, it’s not surprising to an expert like Hicks, who studies environmental exposures and respiratory outcomes in children. “There’s a lot of fuel-burning sources of air pollution inside our homes, and all of them have an impact on children,” says Hicks, who’s also an assistant professor in paediatric respiratory medicine.

The good news? “It’s not as if families need to go out and remove their gas stoves today.” But understanding gas appliances and their potential effects can help you make the best decisions for your family. Here is what you should know.

How do gas stoves work?  

The natural gas that powers a household appliance like a gas range is mostly methane (with a few other hydrocarbons in the mix). That burning blue flame releases carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, traces of formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides and microscopic particles, or aerosols, of soot. 

One often-cited study on emissions from gas stoves was published in 2018 by Tara Kahan, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan and an environmental analytical chemist who studies indoor air quality. 

“We were looking at nitrogen oxides specifically—similar to what makes up smog,” says Kahan. That’s because nitrogen oxide can exacerbate asthma and even, with long-term exposure, cause asthma. 

“These markers of bad air quality went up when people were cooking, and they lingered even when the stove was turned off,” says Kahan. “Most of us had gas stoves at the time, so we were upset when we saw the results.”

How bad is my gas stove for my kids?

Kahan, who has a six-year-old daughter, says more studies are needed to determine the exact health impacts for families. “Are there immediate detrimental effects? Probably not,” she says.  “But is it bad over years and years of use? Maybe. We don’t know. It’s a newer area of study.”

Hicks agrees it’s a tricky question to answer, because there’s no way to tell whether a person’s lung damage or inflammation is from gas stoves or something else, and because respiratory problems like asthma are what’s called “epigenetic—this means it’s both nature and nurture.” 

Family history of asthma, and then the different exposures and triggers in your lifetime, all have an effect, she explains. Do you live in a high-traffic city with lots of outdoor air pollution? Are wildfires common in your area? Does anyone smoke inside the home? Do you have a wood-burning stove as well as a gas range? All of these things can contribute to our susceptibility to lung diseases. 

But even though we don’t know exactly how gas stoves might affect each individual, because lung damage is cumulative over time, looking at all the sources of air pollution in, and near, your home is wise, experts agree. 

Should you get rid of your gas stove immediately? 

No, says Hicks. But the health—and environmental—effects of gas appliances are definitely worth considering the next time you’re shopping to replace appliances. 

This is especially the case if you have a family history of allergies or asthma, including things like hay fever, food allergies, or even eczema—as your kids are more likely to be susceptible to asthma in the first place, so it’s a good idea to be more mindful of indoor air quality in general.

“Wood-burning fireplaces, smoking or vaping tobacco or cannabis products, or simply having an attached garage instead of a detached one—all of these things also contribute to indoor air pollution,” she says. 

One silver lining of the COVID pandemic, and even the wildfires in Western Canada, she says, is that parents are generally more mindful of indoor and outdoor air quality these days. 

Another consideration is the age of your kids, as babies and toddlers are also more susceptible to environmental exposures, says Hicks. Their airways are smaller, and for kids with asthma, getting a run-of-the-mill cold triggers the airway to swell and narrow. Your windpipe is the size of your little finger, and in kids, it may only be 3 or 3.5 mm wide, she explains—that’s smaller than the width of a drinking straw. A virus can also cause extra mucus, which can block your breathing, and that’s why some kids get sicker. Plus, many babies and toddlers are just building up their immunity to common viruses. 

But it’s never too late, she says, to improve indoor air quality for the whole family, no matter how old your kids are. Parents in the home can benefit from cleaner air, too. 

Alternatives to gas stoves

If you are planning to replace your gas stove, you’ll be looking at either an electric stove or an induction stove. Electric stoves have coil burners (usually covered with a glass or ceramic cooktop) and are the less expensive of the two options. An induction cooktop uses copper coils which create a magnetic current with the pot or pan and heats the cookware directly. This provides quick, even heating, but induction cooktops require specific cookware, which is a potential added expense. 

According the data from the Stanford study, it’s not helpful to simply replace an old gas stove with a new one. It compared newer models of gas stoves (about three years old) with older gas models (more like 30 years old) and did not find a compelling difference between the two. It also didn’t matter whether you bought a fancier, more expensive gas stove or an inexpensive one.

How else can I mitigate the effects of gas stoves?

If you have a gas stove that’s sticking around, there are still ways to reduce the potential negative effects. Both Kahan and Hicks say we should always turn the hood fan on when we’re cooking on a gas range, which helps ventilate your kitchen and reduces both the aerosols produced when cooking and the nitrogen oxide. 

Kahan also suggests opening the windows in your kitchen, which will help increase the ventilation. Using a high-quality air purifier with a HEPA filter in the kitchen will help reduce the aerosols as they are released by the stove, she says, but it won’t address the nitrogen oxides. You could also keep air purifiers in the kids’ bedrooms and/or main play space and living areas for general air quality purposes. 

To reduce the amount you are using your gas stove, you can use an electric kettle instead of a kettle that goes on a stove burner, cook more microwaveable recipes, or opt for a countertop induction burner (which you plug in). Popular countertop appliances such as the Instant Pot or  air fryer are also good alternatives. 

“Our house came with a gas stove, and I’m not going to go and rip it out immediately,” says Hicks. “But I’m keeping the hood fan on, and I’m using the Crockpot instead of cooking soup on the stove all afternoon, which also decreases our family’s carbon footprint.”

Kahan also says that cooking on the back burners of a gas stove is better than using the front burners, because those gasses are better captured by the stove’s hood fan. 

You could also confirm that your range’s hood fan does in fact ventilate directly outside, says Kahan, and isn’t just pumping the same air back inside. “If it’s what’s called a ‘recirculating hood,’ those don’t tend to do much good.”

Do I also need to worry about my gas hot water heater, gas furnace, or a gas fireplace?

These also are likely to leak a bit, but since they all have a vent or chimney that leads to the outside, and they’re usually in the basement (where most families don’t spend as much time as the kitchen), the indoor air pollution generated isn’t as bad for your family’s health—just the environment. But the Stanford researchers do plan on studying this further in the future. 

This may feel overwhelming, but it’s all about moderation and mitigation, says Hicks. “Life is a bit hazardous. It’s about finding the things you CAN fix, and making life as safe as you can.” 

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