Today is April 28

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2021

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Ramadan is a holy month of fasting and prayer for Muslims. According to, fasting is a fundamental principle of Islam, which boasts the second most followers of any religion in the world after Christianity. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk every day. This fasting does not just refer to food, as Muslims are supposed to avoid drinking, smoking and sexual behavior while fasting during Ramadan as well. Fasting is meant to bring Muslims closer to God while reminding them of the suffering of the less fortunate. To make it through their daily fasts during Ramadan, Muslims typically consume a pre-dawn meal. At the break of the fast, many Muslims will take a first sip of water before later enjoying a large feast known as “iftar.” Free iftar meals are typically provided by mosques and aid organizations, and these feasts are often treated as social events within the Muslim community. All Muslims who have reached puberty are expected to participate in the Ramadan fast. However, pregnant women, women who are nursing, the sick, and the elderly are exempt. Those who accept their fasting exemption are encouraged to fast in the future if they are capable of doing so. The exact dates of Ramadan change each year and are based on the lunar calendar. In 2021, Ramadan begins on the evening of April 12 and continues until the evening of May 12.


Understanding asthma as allergy season returns

The arrival of spring and summer is typically welcomed with open arms. Warm air, green grass, colorful flowers, and, of course, vacations are just a few of the many reasons to celebrate spring and summer.

Spring and summer also marks the return of allergy season. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. A 2017 survey found that 27 percent of Canadians age 12 and older reported having allergies. For many people, allergies are a minor seasonal nuisance that are overcome by taking over-the-counter medications or staying indoors on days when allergen levels are especially high. But the World Allergy Organization notes that a history of allergies is a known risk factor for developing asthma. In fact, Statistics Canada reports that, among people diagnosed with allergies, 63 percent also reported having asthma.

What is asthma?

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines asthma as a chronic condition that affects airways in the lungs. The airways carry air in and out of the lungs, and when people have asthma, these airways can become inflamed and narrow, compromising a person’s ability to breathe.

Who gets asthma?

Many asthma patients are diagnosed during childhood. The ACAAI reports that most children with asthma exhibit symptoms prior to their fifth birthdays. Asthma symptoms also may appear in adults older than 20, and such instances may be attributed to adult-onset asthma. Certain adults may be more likely to get adult-onset asthma than others. For example, WebMD reports that women who are experiencing hormonal changes, such as those who are pregnant or in menopause, may be more likely to get adult-onset asthma.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

The ACCAI notes that it can be hard to recognize symptoms of asthma in very young children. That’s because the bronchial tubes in infants, toddlers and preschool-aged youngsters are already small and narrow. Head colds, chest colds and other illnesses may further narrow these airways. So symptoms of asthma could be mistakenly associated with colds or other illnesses. A nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks or sudden, scary breathing emergencies are two symptoms of pediatric asthma. Parents also can be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • A wheezing or whistling sound when breathing, especially when exhaling
  • Trouble breathing or fast breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to pull in tightly
  • Frequent colds that settle in the chest

Like pediatric asthma, adult-onset asthma can be easy to miss. That’s because of natural changes in muscles and a stiffening of chest walls, both of which are associated with aging and therefore often attributed to age. The symptoms of adult-onset asthma are similar to those of pediatric asthma, and adults who suspect they might be experiencing asthma symptoms despite no history of the condition can ask doctors to conduct some specific tests designed to detect asthma. A lung function test and a methacholine challenge test are two ways doctors can detect adult-onset asthma.

Allergy season has arrived, and that could make some people more vulnerable to asthma. More information about asthma is available at


Blueberry Pie Day


1 refrigerated pie crust

4 cups blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel


Roll out one sheet pie crust to flatten. Fit into a 9-inch pie dish.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until mixture is thickened and clear. Stir in butter; cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 cups blueberries and lemon peel.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Turn cooled filling into pie shell. Lay the remaining pie crust on a sheet of wax paper. Roll out to flatten. With a knife or pastry wheel cut pastry into 3/8-inch wide strips. Arrange in a criss-cross pattern on top of blueberries, pressing ends into the edges of the bottom crust and crimping to seal.

Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake in the bottom third of oven until crust is golden and filling bubbles gently, about 30 minutes. Cool on rack.


Cornmeal Crumb Top Variation: Do not use top crust. In a medium bowl combine ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ cup cornmeal, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon and 3 tablespoons softened butter until blended. Crumble over filling. Bake as above.

Decorated Lattice Variation: Cut top crust into ¾-inch wide strips. Set the two end strips and two short strips aside. Arrange remaining strips in a criss -cross pattern on top of blueberries. With the large end of a piping tip or a small knife cut out 15 small circles and 12 small leaves . Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Place in clusters decoratively on the pastry lattice securing with a little milk. Bake as above.

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