Download Living with Asbestos-Related Illness: A Self-Care Guide PDF

TitleLiving with Asbestos-Related Illness: A Self-Care Guide
LanguageEnglish
File Size2.6 MB
Total Pages16
Document Text Contents
Page 1

CS107729

A Self-Care Guide

Living
with Asbestos-Related Illness

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Living With Asbestos-Related Illness—A Self-Care Guide

Table of Contents
About this Guide......................................................................................................................................................................3

Asbestos Exposure and Health..............................................................................................................................................3

First Steps..................................................................................................................................................................................3

Asbestos-Related Illnesses ......................................................................................................................................................4

Lung cancer...............................................................................................................................................................................4

Mesothelioma ..........................................................................................................................................................................5

Asbestosis..................................................................................................................................................................................5

Treating Asbestos-Related Illness..........................................................................................................................................6

Taking Care of Yourself .........................................................................................................................................................6

Food, Rest, and Exercise.........................................................................................................................................................6

Cleanliness.................................................................................................................................................................................6

Annual Shots.............................................................................................................................................................................7

Keeping a diary.........................................................................................................................................................................7

Avoiding Bad Air......................................................................................................................................................................7

Productive Coughing...............................................................................................................................................................7

Avoiding Smoke .......................................................................................................................................................................7

Respiratory Therapies..............................................................................................................................................................8

Breathing Techniques ..............................................................................................................................................................8

Pulmonary Rehabilitation .......................................................................................................................................................9

Your Doctor is Your Health Partner.................................................................................................................................. 10

Travel....................................................................................................................................................................................... 11

Oxygen Use ........................................................................................................................................................................... 11

Traveling With Oxygen Locally .......................................................................................................................................... 11

Planning a Longer Trip ........................................................................................................................................................ 11

Traveling by Bus .................................................................................................................................................................... 12

Traveling by Train ................................................................................................................................................................ 12

Traveling by Ship................................................................................................................................................................... 12

Traveling by Plane ................................................................................................................................................................. 13

Lodging................................................................................................................................................................................... 13

Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................................. 13

Resources................................................................................................................................................................................ 14


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Living With Asbestos-Related Illness—A Self-Care Guide

Annual Shots

• Get flu and pneumonia shots every year (offered between September and December).
• To protect your health, caregivers and all household members also should get flu and

pneumonia shots every year.
Keeping a diary

• Keep a diary of when you have trouble breathing. Note how often you have trouble, how
bad it is, and what you were doing that may have triggered the trouble. The diary will help
you recognize and avoid events that trigger breathing trouble.

Avoiding Bad Air
• When air pollution and pollen counts are high, stay inside. An air-filtering machine can

improve the indoor air quality.
• Avoid breathing pollutants that can trigger shortness of breath. This includes traffic

fumes, smog, aerosol sprays, and chemical vapors (from products such as paint, kerosene,
and cleaning agents).

• In cold weather, breathe through your nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf.
Productive Coughing

• People with chronic lung diseases are more at risk for respiratory infections because their
lungs are already damaged. One of the most important preventive measures is a “produc-
tive” cough. This is a cough that is moist and brings up mucus from the lungs and air
passageways. This helps clear the air passages.

An unproductive cough reduces airflow and causes respiratory muscle fatigue. If mucus
and other foreign bodies remain in the respiratory tract, they can pool in the airways. This
makes it difficult to expel bacteria and increases the risk of infection.

Very dry air increases shortness of breath and thickens the mucus in your lungs. Your
doctor may recommend a humidifier, breathing therapies, and chest percussion (pound-
ing or clapping the chest to loosen secretions). These steps loosen and thin out bronchial
secretions, allowing them to be expelled by the cough.

Avoiding Smoke
• Stay away from smoke and smokers.
• If you smoke, now is a good time to quit. Smoking can increase the rate at which a

disease gets worse. It can also increase the risk of lung cancer. Even if you have been
smoking for years—or you already have lung disease—quitting smoking now will greatly
improve your health. Your blood vessels will relax, allowing the blood to flow normally;
your heart will not have to work as hard. Your lung tissue will become healthier and you
will breathe easier.

• If you smoke, a structured stop smoking program may help you kick the habit. The use
of nicotine patches and antidepressants along with counseling may also be helpful.

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Living With Asbestos-Related Illness—A Self-Care Guide

Taking Care of Yourself (cont.)
Respiratory Therapies

• Participate in respiratory therapies (such as bronchial drainage) as recommended by your
doctor. Your doctor might recommend using an ultrasonic mist humidifier to help clear
secretions from your lungs.

• You might also learn postural drainage; the positioning of a person to drain and remove
secretions from particular areas of the lungs.

• Clean and maintain respiratory therapy devices to limit their risk of causing infection.
Though you may need proper training to do that, the following are general recommenda-
tions:

► Clean all reusable respiratory therapy equipment twice a week. That includes
ventilator circuitry, nebulizers, aerosol tubing, and peak flow meters. Consult your
provider about cleansing routines for respiratory equipment.

► Completely air dry all cleaned devices before putting them back together.
Moisture trapped in the devices can allow bacteria, viruses, and fungi to grow.

► All ventilator filters should be cleaned and changed as often as the manufacturer
recommends.

Breathing Techniques
• Breathing techniques can help you control your respiratory rate and breathing pattern.

That will help you breathe easier and more efficiently, and make you feel like enough air
is getting into your lungs. Breathing techniques and correct posture also can improve the
function of respiratory muscles and effectiveness of coughs.

• You can also do exercises to help you breathe more easily. Practice the exercises daily so
that when shortness of breath occurs, you will do them naturally and not panic. Some of
the exercises are the following:

► Pursed-lip breathing: Pursed-lip breathing will slow down your breathing so
that it is more efficient (breathing fast only worsens shortness of breath). You
can do this kind of breathing anywhere.

□ Breathe in slowly through your nose. Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
□ Purse your lips as if you are going to whistle.

□ Breathe out slowly through your pursed lips for 6 seconds.

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Living With Asbestos-Related Illness—A Self-Care Guide

Resources
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 2005. Asbestos and your health. Atlanta: US
Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2006. Cigarette Smoking, Asbestos Exposure,
and Your Health. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services. Available from URL:
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/site-kit/docs/Cigarette-Asbestos_Health.pdf.

American Lung Association. 2005. Asbestos. Available from URL: http://www.lungusa.org/site/
apps/s/content.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=34706&ct=67105.

Bartholomew D, Gainey A, Louie W, Phillips C, Sonnek N. 1999. Asbestosis. Omaha (NE):
Creighton University School of Medicine. Available from URL: http://medicine.creighton.edu/
forpatients/Asbestosis/Asbestosis.html.

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. 2005. Airway clearance techniques (chest physiotherapy)
for immotile cilia syndrome. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Available from URL: http://www.cheo.on.ca/english/2013a10.html .

Galvin JR, D’Alessandro MP. 1994. Asbestosis. In: ElectricDiffuseLung: The diagnosis of diffuse
lung disease. Iowa City: University of Iowa College of Medicine Virtual Hospital. Available from
URL: http://www.vh.org/Providers/Textbooks/DiffuseLung/Text/Asbestosis.html.

Lewis SR, Heitkemper MM, Dirksen SM. 2000. Medical/surgical nursing: assessment and
management of clinical problems. 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book.

Harrison A, editor. 1995. Mosby’s patient teaching guide. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book.

National Cancer Institute. 2003. Asbestos exposure: questions and answers. Bethesda: National
Cancer Institute. Available from URL: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/
asbestos.

Springhouse Corporation. 1998. Diseases: a health care professional guide. Springhouse (PA):
Springhouse Corporation.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification and does not imply endorsement by the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/site-kit/docs/Cigarette-Asbestos_Health.pdf
http://www.lungusa.org/site/
http://medicine.creighton.edu/
http://www.cheo.on.ca/english/2013a10.html
http://www.vh.org/Providers/Textbooks/DiffuseLung/Text/Asbestosis.html
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/

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