PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a new kind of treatment for people with asthma and they might need it on days like this when bad air is an issue.
This is the first “Code Orange” air quality warning of the year. The alert signals dangerous levels for air quality.
The EPA now says the Philadelphia-metropolitan region has failed to meet overall ground-level ozone standards.
Bad air is a risk for people with respiratory diseases like asthma.
Running is a treat for Lynn Kocka, who has struggled with severe asthma for years.
“I feel like I’m getting back to my fitness level,” said Kocka.
Despite standard medicines, she had difficulty exercising and even working until she tried biologic therapy.
“Biologics actually target a specific pathway that’s causing the asthma to try and target it, so that asthma can get controlled,” explained Dr. Sumita Khatri of the Cleveland Clinic.
Lynn receives an injection of biologic therapy in the back of her arm every four weeks and it didn’t take long to see results.
“Within five days I could tell in my chest that I was not, like, coughing as much, so it was pretty amazing,” Kocka said.
Research shows biologic therapies effectively control severe asthma, resulting in fewer flare-ups and trips to the hospital and may even reduce the need for some asthma medicines.
“Some patients with severe asthma, they can be on high-dose oral steroids too, which has some significant side effects, so these biologics might actually reduce the need for those oral steroids,” Dr. Khatri said.
Kocka is active again and says she has her life back.
“I can absolutely do everything I could do before I became sick. Going to the store, running here, there, everywhere, chasing the dogs, just every day normal life is totally 100 percent better,” she said.
There are currently four biologic therapies that are FDA approved to treat severe asthma.
Ozone is expected to be high for the next couple of days and pollen is also really high, so it’s a double whammy for people with respiratory issues.