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Thunderstorms Linked to Breathing Trouble for Older People

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A new study out Monday might provide the strongest evidence yet that thunderstorms can worsen certain health conditions. Across a 14-year period in the U.S., researchers found that the days surrounding a thunderstorm were clearly associated with a spike in emergency room visits for respiratory problems among older Americans, especially for those with preexisting conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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Scientists have theorized that thunderstorms can negatively affect health since at least the mid-1980s. Several studies have documented waves of respiratory illness linked to severe storms, particularly asthma. At least one study has found evidence that sleep apnea may worsen during the stark changes in atmospheric pressures that come with a storm. And there’s even some evidence for the old tale that storms can worsen a person’s arthritis to the point where sufferers can effectively predict their arrival.

For this new study, published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, the authors wanted to get a deeper sense of the possible connection between thunderstorms and our health, using as much data as they could study at once. They were able to collect weather data on all the thunderstorms recorded in the U.S. between January 1999 and December 2012 from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (with lightning strikes serving as an indicator for these storms). Then they cross-referenced that information with data on nationwide ER visits from people over the age of 65 on Medicare, specifically for respiratory problems.

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“In our study, we saw a modest but real increase in emergency department use for breathing problems in the days surrounding thunderstorms, particularly among patients with asthma and COPD,” study author Christopher Worsham, a research fellow, pulmonologist, and critical care physician at Harvard Medical School, said in an email. “Among adults over 65 in the U.S., we estimated about 52,000 additional breathing-related emergency department visits over the 14 years we studied that were attributable to thunderstorms.”

Previous studies have tied pollen to the rise in asthma cases following major thunderstorms, the theory being that these storms crack open pollen grains on a massive scale, blanketing an area with allergy-triggering plant gunk. But in this study, the spikes in ER visits began before the storm showed up, and there was no corresponding effect on pollen counts until after the storm had passed, with levels actually declining for a day or two post-storm.

While Worsham and his team don’t rule out that pollen could have a large influence on outbreaks of asthma after very severe storms, they don’t think pollen is typically to blame for these storm-related spikes in breathing problems among older adults. It’s also still possible that the relationship between respiratory health and environmental conditions affected by thunderstorms may play out differently for younger people, who tend to be more allergic to things like pollen.

They did notice that there were noticeable increases in temperature and particulate matter (air pollution) soon before a storm. So it’s these factors that probably have more of an impact on the respiratory health of older people with asthma and COPD, Worsham said. And because thunderstorms are expected to become more common and more severe in the U.S. as global temperatures rise, the findings could prove to highlight yet another health consequence of climate change.

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Though the study didn’t look at any preventive measures that older people with breathing problems could take before a thunderstorm, Worsham does offer some advice.

“Anyone with asthma or COPD who typically has worse symptoms around storms should be sure to take their inhalers as prescribed by their primary care doctor or pulmonologist,” he said. “If their symptoms are not well controlled, they should let their doctor know.”

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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