Our Asthma Christmas Wish List
I recently participated in a brainstorming session with a group of respiratory therapists.Our goal was to create a list of medicines asthmatics would like to find under the Christmas tree. That in mind, here’s our list of fake, or yet to be developed, asthma medicines.This is our wish list we sent to Santa.
1. Probiotic Magic. Probiotic is a fancy way of saying good, or healthy, bacteria that are essential for maintaining a healthy body. Microflora is a fancy term for describing all the microbes inside our body, good and bad, such as parasites and bacteria. The Microflora Hypothesis states that a normal balance of good and bad microflora inside our gut prevents an abnormal immune response that leads to asthma and allergies. It also states that our modern diet, and antibiotic use, is killing off good microflora, leaving a microflora imbalance. A probiotic pill would, when swallowed, help the gut and immune system prevent allergic asthma.
2. Pig Vaccine. The Hygiene Hypothesis states that our own cleanliness causes an abnormal immune response that leads to asthma. The idea is that, lacking certain “good bacteria” early in life when our immune systems are developing, it gets bored and starts attacking innocuous substances ingested or inhaled, leading to asthma and allergies. This theory first came to light when it was observed that asthma rates were relatively low in underdeveloped countries. Studies actually showed asthma rates were lower among children who grew up on farms, particularly near pigs. A theory was postulated that animals, like pigs, carry the “good bacteria” our immune systems need to mature properly. So our vaccine would involve a one time injection during the first month of life when the immune system is still developing, particularly in those infants shown to have an asthma gene.
3. Super Safe Steroid. Systemic steroids are often used in emergency situations to end asthma attacks by reducing inflammation and swelling in asthmatic lungs. Even though they make breathing easy, they cannot be taken long term due to some pretty awful side effects. What we need is a synthetic version of this medicine that allows us to get the desired effects without the unwanted side effects. Ingesting a super safe steroid pill would prevent asthma symptoms. A bonus is that it would also prevent other inflammatory diseases from flaring up, like arthritis. So, along with better breathing, you’d also be pain free, too.
4**.**** Anti-Allergy Drops**. Three drops in the morning, placed gently on your tongue, would prevent your immune system from attacking innocuous substances without causing drowsiness. In other words, it would prevent allergies from happening sans side effects. If we can prevent and control allergies, we can also prevent asthma attacks in those with allergic asthma. This would allow those with allergic asthma to live normal lives, as they no longer would have to avoid their asthma triggers. No more avoiding dusty basements. No more avoiding your aunt with all the dogs and cats. Yes, you could just be a normal person for a change (aside from having to use the drops every day, but that’s an acceptable trade off).
5**.**** Fortnight Asthma Puffs**. This is an inhaler that is inhaled once every two weeks to prevent and control asthma. It’s a combination inhaler that contains both Probiotic Magic and Super Safe Steroid. It’s timed delayed action lasts two weeks, making it an ideal asthma medicine. All you have to do is remember to mark your calendars, or download the Fortnight Asthma App for your iPhone which will remind you when your puffs are due.
Look, pharmaceuticals have come a long way to creating some great asthma medicines to help us live better lives. Yet there is still some work to do, and this is where Santa comes in handy. Here’s hoping Santa keeps us asthmatics in mind this Christmas season. Wishing you easing breathing this Holiday season!
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John Bottrell is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).