By Pamela TurnerUniversity of GeorgiaDo you or a family member suffer from asthma? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 23 million people, including 6.8 million children, have been diagnosed with asthma. People with asthma experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that may be accompanied by coughing, wheezing or tightness in the chest. A severe attack can be life-threatening. Asthma can limit a child’s ability to play, learn or sleep, and result in large financial costs to the family. Each year more than 17 million visits to the doctor’s office or hospital and nearly 2 million emergency room visits are related to asthma. It is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children under 15. But, asthma can be controlled by learning to manage or avoid things that trigger an attack. If you are an asthma sufferer, it will take some detective work to figure out your asthma triggers. Once you know what is causing your asthma attacks, you can create a plan and control your exposure. Asthma can be triggered by indoor and outdoor environmental factors. Common asthma triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, cockroaches and pets.Tobacco smoke is one of the easiest asthma triggers to control. Simply reduce your exposure and make sure no one smokes in your home or vehicle. Sufficient evidence links dust mites to the development of asthma among sensitive persons. Dust mite control should be part of your asthma plan. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that like to live in humid environments, like your mattress. They can also be found in upholstered furniture and stuffed animals. To discourage dust mites, keep the indoor humidity below 60 percent. Control your exposure to dust mites by covering mattresses and pillows with dust-proof covers and washing blankets and sheets weekly in hot soapy water. This will kill dust mites and their eggs. If your stuffed animals can’t be washed, place them in a large plastic bag and put the bag in the freezer for a few hours. To further remove dust mites, vacuum your carpet and upholstered furniture weekly with a high performance vacuum. Research shows that cockroaches and their droppings can also lead to the development of asthma. So, stop feeding them. Cockroaches need food and water to survive. To discourage cockroaches, don’t drop snacks in the sofa and don’t leave food in bedrooms or on the kitchen counter. Also remove pet food at night. Every two to three days, vacuum or sweep areas that may attract cockroaches. Rather than spraying pesticides inside, use roach traps or gel baits to control cockroaches.Furry pets, like cats and dogs, can also trigger asthma attacks. Keep pets off beds and carpeted areas and bathe them weekly.Other things may trigger asthma attacks. It’s important to create an individual plan to control your asthma triggers. Remember, with a little effort, you can control asthma. (Pamela Turner is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension housing specialist with the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.)
Elizabeth A. Kramer, a lawyer for the women who filed the lawsuit, said in an email on Monday night that the sexual abuse was pervasive. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – The University of California system has agreed to pay $73 million to more than 5,500 women who were patients of a former U.C.L.A. gynecologist who has been charged with 20 felony counts of sexual assault.The settlement terms were made public on Monday in a class-action lawsuit against the university system and the physician, Dr. James Heaps. The suit was initiated by seven women who say Dr. Heaps sexually abused them during medical examinations. – Advertisement – “The settlement, if approved, will provide real and immediate compensation to thousands of women — no less than $2,500 and up to $250,000, or more in extraordinary circumstances,” Ms. Kramer wrote. “In a case involving widespread sexual misconduct, a class settlement compensates survivors who otherwise would not have come forward to seek relief from the courts, through a respectful and confidential process.”Under the terms of the settlement, the University of California system will pay the entire amount. “The incidents described in the lawsuit reflect alleged conduct that is contrary to our values,” U.C.L.A. Health said in a statement on Monday. “We thank the individuals who came forward and hope that this settlement — which is still subject to court approval — is one small step forward for the patients involved.”- Advertisement – In the settlement, the university system and Dr. Heaps do not admit wrongdoing, which is not uncommon. The settlement in the lawsuit, which was approved by the university system’s Board of Regents, still needs a judge’s approval.The civil suit, which was filed in October 2019, is separate from the criminal case against Dr. Heaps, who was employed at the student health center at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1983 to 2010. Dr. Heaps, 64, worked at U.C.L.A. Health from 2014 to 2018. He was initially charged in June 2019 and has pleaded not guilty to all charges. A lawyer for Dr. Heaps did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday night.U.C.L.A. Health said that an independent review of how the university responds to allegations of sexual misconduct by medical professionals — commissioned by the Board of Regents — was completed this year. “U.C.L.A. is committed to policies and procedures to protect patients,” the university system said.One of the women who filed the lawsuit said that Dr. Heaps made sexual comments about her during an exam while he inserted his fingers into her vagina. The woman said that Dr. Heaps inappropriately touched her genitalia and thighs, and asked her if she was dating anyone and how often she had sex, according to the lawsuit. Another former patient said that Dr. Heaps had “fondled, cupped, and jiggled her breasts in a sexual manner, as if for his own sexual gratification or in an attempt to sexually stimulate her.” The $73 million settlement shared some parallels with a $215 million settlement that the University of Southern California reached with former patients of Dr. George Tyndall, the campus gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct involving hundreds of patients during his decades-long tenure. That settlement was approved by a judge in February.