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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

In 2010, Asthma Exacerbation Triggered by Facebook Encounter

Published January 2, 2011 10:18 PM by Sharlene George

It’s one of those stories that didn’t quite make the headlines, but it is fascinating nonetheless.

And it is a tale from the year 2010 that simply couldn’t have happened a decade ago. As life evolves, so do the asthma triggers of the world. In late November Italian doctors warned the world that Facebook could trigger asthma and published their findings in Lancet.

While many a man has had his breath taken away by a beautiful woman, the case detailed by these doctors was a little different. A young Italian male struggled to catch his breath after seeing that his ex-girlfriend had “friended” a handful of other men on the social networking site. The docs across the sea cautioned that tracking his ex-girlfriend’s cyber moves caused enough stress in this 18-year-old patient to launch his asthma.

Following his care providers’ advice, he stopped the Facebook log-ins, and his asthma attacks subsided. The Associated Press reported: “The man had been taking two inhaled steroid drugs several times a day to control his asthma. But when his girlfriend dumped him — and worse, unfriended him on Facebook — his condition deteriorated. The man’s worried mother measured his breathing patterns before and after his Facebook activity and found a 20 percent difference. After consulting a psychiatrist, the man decided not to log into Facebook any more. That stopped the asthma attacks.”

Arrivaderci, asthma.

-Valerie Newitt

posted by Sharlene George

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