Let’s get rid of the word, stigma, once and for all. Every once in a blue moon, I feel the urge to sound off. Please indulge me:
As a word, “stigma” is an insult to the outrages inflicted upon our population. Its use - even by well-meaning people - only perpetuates our status as third-class citizens. A quick history lesson:
In the US, during the first decades of the twentieth century - in the name of the improvement of the human race, with the sanction of the Supreme Court - 30,000 individuals deemed mentally unfit were subjected to enforced sterilization.
In Hitler’s Germany, some 300,000 to 400,000 forced sterilizations were carried out. Then, beginning in 1939, a quarter million mentally and physically disabled people were gassed in special “euthanasia” centers.
We live in a more enlightened age, but the basic premise that we are not welcome as equals in society remains substantially unchallenged. We are no...
When someone sneezes we usually say, “Bless you” but when you hear a bellowing cough your instincts are to run away. The suffering cougher goes unblessed and often feels isolated as people flee for cover hoping not to inhale any aerosolized infectious particles. Such defense mechanisms are not looked down upon in today’s era of germ avoidance, but what defense does the cougher have against the seemingly never ending cough?
The role and effectiveness of cough suppressants will be a topic to revisit on another day. More importantly, the cause of prolonged coughing should be identified. Let’s first discuss the difference between acute and chronic cough.
An acute cough generally goes away within three to four weeks for a child and within eight weeks for an adult. There are many causes of acute cough but the most common one is the common cold. Other causes include sinus infections, flu syndrome, other upper respiratory infections and ear i...
Phlegm. Secretions. Sputum. Mucous. Yuck! Whatever you call it, that junk in your lungs is yet another part of having COPD that’s not a lot of fun. Yet, it’s one of those things that as a person with COPD, you just have to deal with – and if you learn how to handle it, you’ll breathe easier. What’s the role and function of sputum in the lungs? Before we talk about getting rid of excess phlegm, we need to understand why it’s there in the first place. Mucous has two important functions when it comes to lung health.
The mucous in your lungs provides protection by stopping unwanted particles and trapping them before they get too deep in your lungs. Lining the airways (the breathing tubes, bronchi and bronchioles) is a thin layer of mucous called the “mucous blanket.” Just underneath this mucous blanket are cilia, millions of tiny little hair-like structures. The cilia move like a wave to help propel the mucous – carrying trapped dust, b...
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