People who have chronic respiratory illness frequently state that one of the main symptoms that they find difficult to cope with is perhaps one that doesn’t leap to mind as a major problem for most of us who do not have a chronic illness – fatigue.
Time and time again people who have aspergillosis mention how exhausted it makes them feel, and here at the National Aspergillosis Centre we have determined that fatigue is a major component of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA – see Al-Shair et. al. 2016) and that the impact of aspergillosis on a patients quality of life correlated well with the level of fatigue suffered.
There are many possible causes of fatigue in the chronically ill: it could partly be a result of the energy that the immune system of a patient puts into fighting off the infection, it could partly be a consequence of some of the medication taken by people who are chronically ill and possibly even the result of undiagnosed health problems such as anaemia, hypothyroidism, low cortisol or infection (e.g. long COVID).
Because of the many possibilities that cause fatigue, your first step in trying to improve the situation is to go and see your doctor who can check for all common causes of fatigue. Once you have established that there are no other possible hidden causes you might read through this article on fatigue produced by NHS Scotland containing lots of food for thought and suggestions to improve your fatigue.
The UK Met Office has issued a warning for hot weather in parts of central and southern England. Temperatures are expected to reach over 30C for a day or two starting Friday 17th and then fall back over the weekend.
This intense heat can be difficult for people who have chronic lung conditions to cope with, especially if they get dehydrated, so the British Lung Foundation has provided guidelines to help people prepare and cope with the temperatures. For others, hot weather can increase symptoms of hay fever.
Go to ‘Looking after your lungs in hot weather’ for more details
BLF top 10 tips during a heatwave
Here’s how to plan ahead to stay well and keep cool:
The breath control needed to sing can also help people who have lung disease breathe better and can help lift mood too which is vitally important for our health and quality of life.
Want to try therapeutic singing?
You may be lucky and find a lung health group locally, however, you don’t have to leave your home to benefit (sessions are run on Zoom), AND you don’t have to be a patient either as the groups are also open to carers.
The Asthma & Lung Health charity has published a page giving some useful information on how you can find a singing group in your area.
As we are sure many of you are aware, there is widespread news coverage regarding Monkey Pox, with the UK Health Security Agency (UKSA) today reporting a further eleven cases.
We understand this may cause concern amongst many of you, particularly as this is happening in the wake of Covid-19. However, we would like to highlight that current UKHSA guidance is that the virus does not usually spread easily, and the risk to people is low. Investigations are ongoing, and contact tracing is underway to look at possible modes of transmission and prevent further spread.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a zoonotic (can be spread from animals to humans) viral infection that is endemic in parts of the west and central Africa.
How is monkeypox spread?
The virus is spread through close physical contact with an infected individual or through contact with blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected individuals or animals. It can also be spread through contact with clothing or linens used by an infected person.
It is worth noting that monkeypox is NOT predominantly a respiratory virus so will not spread in the same way as COVID-19 and is unlikely to affect people with pre-existing respiratory disease in the same way.
Initial symptoms of monkeypox include:
- muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
A rash usually appears 1 – 5 days after the first symptoms, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body, particularly the hands and feet.
The rash (which can look like chickenpox) starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off. Symptoms are usually mild and self-limiting and typically clear up in 2 to 4 weeks.
Anyone with concerns that they could be infected with monkeypox is advised to contact NHS 111 or a sexual health clinic.
More information can be found via the link below.
One of our specialist physiotherapists Mairead Hughes ran the Manchester Marathon last Sunday in support of the Fungal Infection Trust (FIT). The Fungal Infection trust supports the National Aspergillosis Centre in many ways – not least providing support so that we can run our patient support websites and these Facebook support groups that mean so much to thousands of patients and carers across the NHS and the world beyond.
As it turned out Mairead’s support was also called into action as 21 miles into her run she stopped to give medical assistance to a fellow runner. The delay cost her 45 minutes on her final time which was just over 6 hours – still an amazing effort I am sure you will agree.
We are all proud of you Mairead and maybe on day you will break that 6 hour mark?