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Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Candy-watch out for food allergies

(blog.candy.com)



Food allergies never take a holiday. Daughter Kitty was searching through her candy and offered a Heath bar to her brother, Son #2. I happened to overhear her, and went running into the other room, yelling "NOOOOOOOO!" I knew that Health bars have tree nuts in them (almonds) which Son #2 is allergic to. He's pretty good at just selecting what he wants to eat, so I reminded Kitty not to offer Son #2 any candy, but to let him pick out what he knew was safe to eat. Kitty is younger than Son #2 and doesn't realize how bad a food reaction can be.


For those of you with food allergies, PLEASE check your candy carefully. It worries me when candy bars that have tree nuts are in the same bag with candy bars that don't contain them. Everyone is different, but I don't want to chance any cross contamination that would cause anaphylaxis. I have seen that reaction once with Son #1, and I never want to see it again.


To read an article about Halloween candy and anaphylaxis from American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, click here. One of the things they mention is that "fun size" candy bars can have different ingredients than what's normally listed on the label.


If in doubt, I would throw it out. I would rather buy Son #2 a couple of full sized Twix bars, he's never had a problem with them or any cross contamination. If you have ever seen someone go into Anaphylaxis shock, it is very scary, not to mention it can also kill you.


Be safe this Halloween, and check the candy carefully if you have kids with allergies. And repeat aloud, "I will not steal my kid's candy, I will not steal my kid's candy, I will not steal my kid's candy." Well, maybe just one piece.......

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Follow up on thrush

(shopcomparecostumes.com-google images)

It seems like all of us moms take care of everyone except for ourselves. I knew my tongue was looking a little discolored and thought it was probably thrush from my maintenance medication, Advair, but I didn't have time to go to the doctor.
One night, after brushing my teeth, I asked my husband if he thought my tongue looked weird, and he said it looked my elderly neighbor's hair, which is stark white! (By the way, this isn't her picture above-she would strangle me if I posted a photo of her. So it's just a fun photo I found on Google Images)
I guess I didn't call the doctor because I didn't have any sick time left at work, since I had used it all up with my earlier bout with pneumonia this month. I wouldn't have time to leave the office and go to the doctor for a checkup. I finally decided to call when my tongue started to hurt. When I looked at photos of thrush online, it looked like many of the people had sores on their tongue. Yuck.
So, I finally called the doctor. Luckily, they called in a prescription. I was afraid it was going to be a bottle of Nystatin, which you rinse your mouth with several times a day. But, they called in a 3 day treatment of a pill I just took once a day. It was an anti-fungal. Nice! That I could do-and luckily he didn't make me come in for an exam. The pharmacist said that they usually save Nystatin for the tough cases. Luckily, this prescription seems to have worked. My tongue is slowly returning to a soft pink, and it no longer hurts.
So, all you moms that are putting off calling the doctor when something is wrong, just do it! We have to be healthy and take care of ourselves if we are going to take care of our families.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thrush from maintenance medication









I think I'll have to call my doctor, I may have thrush on my tongue from my Advair. Even though I do everything right (rinse my mouth and spit out the water) I am also careful to brush my teeth and tongue right afterwares. But I can see a nice white film. Yay.




I was looking at some photos online about thrush, and their tongues look a lot worse than mine (of course, maybe they let the infection go on to long) I remember Son #2 got thrush a few years ago, and the doctor had to call a prescription for Nystatin liquid in to the pharmacy. It's an anti fungal medicine that required him to swish his mouth and spit out the Nystatin (several times a day) It was hard to get cleared up.



One more thing to deal with. Did I ever mention how much I hate asthma and everything that comes along with it? Arrrgh














Friday, October 14, 2011

Prednisone-necessary evil

(Dotweekly.com)




As much as I hate to use it, there are times when prednisone (a steroid) is necessary to treat asthma. (Don't confuse this type of steroid with the type that body builders use. They're completely different medications!)


Using steroids is a last resort for me. Usually, I increase my daily maintenance medication and use breathing treatments with my nebulizer. When I am that sick, my inhaler doesn't work well for me because I can't breathe deep enough to get any medicine into my lungs. What works better for me is to use my nebulizer, I just sit and gently breathe in the mist.



Even using all those medications, there are times I need prednisone. I have been sick now for over a week, and one day I woke up and was having such a hard time breathing that my voice could only come out in a raspy whisper. I asked Hubby to call the after hours clinic (of course it was on a Saturday) because I couldn't talk on the phone. However, After Hours Doc needed to ask me a few questions (did I have sinus congestion with my cough and fever?) so he would know which antibiotic to call in. I think he could tell by the sound of my voice what was wrong with me and which medication for call in.


Click here to learning about different asthma medications. But- a few warnings about prednisone. Click here to read about side effects. You have to take it exactly as directed. You usually start out on a high dose several times a day, then taper down over 5 days or a week. But the side effects can be agitation, nervouseness, mood changes, and increased appetite. There are more serious side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, swelling of the face, depression, and many more.


Just know that if you or your children are on prednisone, it can make you feel a little weird. As sick as I was, my mind was racing, I couldn't sleep, and I started cleaning my basement! Hubby came downstairs and said "what are you doing?!" I shrugged my shoulders, then said "prednisone."


Then I was so tired, I had to take a 3 hour nap. You may feel a little crazy while you are on it, but that will pass. Also, be warned that it impairs your immune system, so now I have to be very careful and try not to be around anyone else who is sick.


So, if you are sick enough to need prednisone, talk to your doctor. Sometimes it is necessary and may be what you need to get the swelling down in your lungs and help you feel better. Just watch the side effects and follow all of the instructions.


Excuse me, I need to get more cough medicine and use my inhaler. Ah, flu season.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keeping track of medication schedules

(Google images)

I'm probably one of the only people in American who doesn't have a iPod or iPhone. I'm a low-tech sort of person. I like my sticky notes-I use them for everything, including keeping track of my medications when I'm sick.

Like most people, I get a little hazy when I am sick and can't remember which medication I've taken and when. It's important to keep track since there is a possibility to overdose on medications if you are a little "out of it."


When I am sick, I will write down any medication I take so I can keep them straight. I record:



  • Advair (my daily asthma medication)

  • Advil (for fever and pain)

  • Dayquil (this contains acetaminophen, and you can take too much and damage your liver)

  • Antibiotic

  • Prednisone

  • Albuterol (my rescue asthma medication)

Some days I don't take Daqyquil, so I have to keep track of how much cough medicine I may have taken. It's easy when you are coughing to think "I should take some more cough medicine-how long has it been since the last dose anyway?"


As moms, we are expected to take care of everyone, but when we get sick, no one takes care of us! My family is so used to me taking care of them, that they didn't know what to do when I was in bed for 4 days this last week with the flu which turned into pneumonia. I was on my own when it came to getting cold washcloths, another box of tissues, and tracking my medication. I know it's important to take my doses EXACTLY as prescribed so I can get better (and not overdose and damage my liver.) After all, my job and family require me to be on top of my game.

So, use whatever works for you to track medication when you are sick. Sticky notes, note pad iPhone, whatever you use. You would be surpised how easy it is to lose track of what time you have taken each medication, especially when your brain is a little foggy from being sick.

Stay well, and remember to wash those hands!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I tried to avoid it, but the flu found me

So, this was my breakfast this morning (well, after I ate my nutritious oatmeal.) I am so careful to take precautions NOT to get sick, but I did anyway.

I was in a training for work last week, and started to notice a scratchy throat. I thought maybe it was due to the extremely strong smelling perfume of the lady sitting next to me. But my throat was still scratchy when I got home. And the next day. Then the fever, chills and body aches hit on day 3, and I knew I was in for a rough ride. My nose did a Niagra Falls impression, and I filled an entire waste basket full of used tissues. My nose could outrun any snotty nosed toddler, hands down!

I spent 4 days in bed. Alternating between "I'm freezing! Where's my jacket?!" to "Woah, it's hot in here, did someone turn the heat up!?" I was camped out on my couch with cold washcloths, Advil, Puffs tissues (with lotion of course), sinus reliever medication and popsicles. I also had all of the TV remotes and my phone. So, I was set.

I just had to wait for the flu to run it's course. But it is taking it's sweet time. By about day 5, I was getting worse and knew I needed an antibiotic and prednisone. (I was coughing up colored mucus) So, I called the after hours clinic for my doctor's office, and they called in my prescription to the pharmacy. (I think he could tell by my voice that I had pneumonia again, I could barely whisper.) I reminded him that I had asthma, and would also need a steroid.

So, a week later, this is what my breakfast looks like.

I just hope Hubby and my kids don't get sick. I am careful to wash my hands every time after I blow my nose. I also spray the remote and phone with Lysol after I touch them. And I am staying on the couch, away from everyone. I'm trying to keep my germs to myself.

I keep reminding myself "things could always be worse, things could always be worse." I'm the only one sick so far, pneumonia is what usually lands on of the kids in the hospital. So, I will keep my cough and germs to myself. And cross my fingers!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Farewell Wonderful Shot Nurse




Myprintablegreetings.com)


We missed a week of allergy shots because daughter Kitty was sick. So the next Friday, the New Nurse was there giving shots instead, and we asked where Wonderful Shot Nurse was. New Nurse said Wonderful Shot Nurse was gone! She has moved on to other things (and we didn't even get to say good bye!) Kitty started to cry. I sent a text to Son #2, and he was shocked.


You see, Wonderful Shot Nurse isn't just a regular nurse. She has helped keep my kids alive for the last 11 years! She has been taking care of Kitty since she was born (she's finishing elementary school)


She has helped take care of Son #2 since he was five years old. (And he's in high school now!) She has given Son #2 his five years worth of allergy shots, and gives him his monthly Xolair injections.


She also gave Son #1 his five years worth of allergy shots and kept him alive when he went into anaphylaxis after one allergy shot. She's more than just a Wonderful Shot Nurse, she was a friend. She always talked to the kids about the new book they were reading, asked how school was going, and genuinely cared about them. She always took time to listen to me and had a great smile for the kids, her whole face lights up when she smiles!


I hope you are all lucky enough to visit a great allergy and asthma specialist's office. And I hope you have a great relationship with them, they do help keep us and our kids alive! (I even bring everone in the office a small Christmas gift every year!)


To Wonderful Shot Nurse-we are so sad you are gone, but I know that life leads us to different paths. Enjoy your new one!