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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Triggers

Well, about triggers. I already mentioned mine being cold temperatures (and of course dust, and anything green that grows)

My #1 son (that's what his grandpa calls him- he can't keep all the grandkids' names straight) has exercise induced asthma. I can always tell when he's been playing ultimate frisbee with his friends, because I can hear him coughing all night. You would think by now he would automatically use his inhaler before he goes......he also has problems with respiratory infections making his asthma worse (as do most people with asthma).

My #2 son has problems with emotions-every time he starts his hearty laugh, it instantly turns into a cough. He is also allergic to all animals and anything green that grows. The biggest worry is his tree nut allergy. We've had several problems with that, it's nice that they now list on food labels that a food was "produced in the same factory that processes tree nut products". We still carry Bendadryl strips and an epi pen everywhere we go. And I have to inspect all the food first if we're not eating at home. Respiratory infections also go straight to his lungs. There's no such thing as "just a cold" for him.

Kitty (our youngest) also has multiple triggers. When they did her scratch test to prepare her serum for allergy shots, the only thing she wasn't allergic to was rats. The nurse jokingly suggested we could have a pet rat! She is also affected by respiratory infections.

Even knowing about all their triggers, it's hard to protect them. We can't live in a bubble, but we try to minimize exposure any time we can. That's easier said than done.

Fridays I'm going to do "Flashback Fridays" to some fun asthma episode. Ah, good times! NOT!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Asthma is a strange beast!


Asthma is one wily little devil. It seems people think 'no big deal - give an asthmatic an albuterol inhaler' and that will cure everything. Not exactly.

Asthma seems to change over time and wax and wane. The hardest thing is figuring out what your triggers are. And that isn't always as easy as it sounds. I was shopping for a baby gift last week at a local retail store and suddenly felt my chest tighten up and the hard cough starting. I have no idea what happened-was there a dusty shelf? Chemical sizing on the baby towel I bought? Something too fragrant in the baby shampoo aisle? Something on the aisle where I bought the rubber duck?

I was fine once I left the store, some things can never be explained. I have shopped there for almost 15 years and never had a problem.

Sometimes, I'm so busy, it takes a few minutes to dawn on me that I'm having a hard time breathing and getting that 'twitchy' feeling in my throat. Then the cough starts.

The hardest thing about summer is having a smoothie, otter pop, or any sort of iced treat. Since my trigger is usually cold temperatures, it does cause me to constantly cough when trying to eat any tasty iced treat. I usually give up an surrender my Jamba Juice to my sweet hubby after two sucks on the straw. That seems to be my limit. I have found that by eating ice cream slowly(ie licking it off the cone-never using a spoon) I can enjoy my all time favorite-chocolate peanut butter ice cream. But no cheating and using a spoon, or the chest tightens and the cough starts.

Ah, the curse of genetics. Thanks mom and dad for passing asthma on to me, and then what do I do? Pass it on to all 3 of my kids. More about them later.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why am I doing an asthma blog?!

My name is Andrea, and I hate asthma! It has dramatically changed my life. I've gone from being an Interior Designer, to going back to school for another degree (in Public Health) to help other families with asthma. I got a crash course 10 years ago when one of our children was diagnosed with asthma.

Asthma can be overwhelming with all of the unique lingo, medications and equipment.

I am asthmatic, and it comes from my husband's side of the family as well, so unfortunately, all three of our children are asthmatic.

We've had countless doctor visits, middle of the night ER visits, and 12 hospitalizations for asthma. We all have different triggers and severity levels.

By sharing what I have learned over the last 10 years, I hope to be able to take some mystery out of this chronic illness and help others along the way.