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Facebook triggers asthma attacks in teen

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A teenager suffered multiple asthma attacks after seeing his ex-girlfriend on Facebook, ABC News reports. The 18-year-old, who suffers from depression, was un-friended by her after the break-up, but created a new account so he could watch his former love online. The shock of seeing her profile picture gave him an asthma attack.

The girl deleted him as a friend while she friended many other young men. The teen created a new Facebook account and became her friend again, but became short of breath when he saw her profile picture. Now, every time he sees the profile, he has an asthma attack. The solution: “In collaboration with a psychiatrist, the patient resigned not to login to Facebook any longer and the asthma attacks stopped.”

In response to this highly specific circumstance, doctors in Italy are now saying Facebook may be “a new source of psychological stress” for many. Psychological stress is a known asthma trigger. In depressed asthmatics, stress can cause their autonomic nervous systems to tighten up their airways.

“It seems that for this young man, instead of avoiding that stress, by logging on he was creating it for himself,” said Dr. Karen L. Warman, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at Montefiore Medical Center in N.Y. “If things create stress for you and they’re avoidable, then you should avoid them.”

While most of this is self-explanatory, social networking does make it harder to escape and easier to stay in touch with old flames. This may be the first asthma attack a Facebook page has caused, but it likely won’t be the last.

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