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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

If the doctor gives you a prescription, TAKE IT!!!!!

I was talking to a woman at the gym this morning who has been out sick for a while with pneumonia. I told her to join the club!!

She asked how long it took me to feel better, I said it always takes longer when you have asthma. I'm still weak and not back to myself after 3 weeks. We started chit chatting and she said the doctor gave her an inhaler, but she doesn't want to use it because she might get thrush. She said the doctor told her to rinse her mouth out after she uses it. I told her not to worry, I've only had thrush once or twice from my inhaler, and I've had asthma all my life.

She said she can "feel" that all of the swelling is gone in her lungs. I told her that you CAN'T feel inflammation in your lungs. Here is a direct quote from Webmd. 

Even when you feel well, your asthma hasn't gone away. Even if you can't feel it, your airways might still be inflamed.
Asthma Doc always says that if you use a rescue/emergency inhaler, all it does is "buy you time"  until you get the inflammation out of your lungs. I told her that she probably didn't have to use her inhaler all the time like I do, she should just use it until it was gone. I told her that the doctor gave it to her for a reason, so she needs to use it to get the swelling down in her lungs. Here's another quote from the Webmd site:

Treating persistent asthma with only occasional puffs from a rescue inhaler is like dealing with a leaky pipe in your basement by mopping up the water on the floor. You're only thinking about the symptom and not treating the underlying cause. Over time, if asthma isn't well controlled it can damage your airways permanently.

I like my lungs, I would like them to keep breathing for me. And they can't do that if they have a build up of scar tissue from chronic inflammation.

Lesson: if your doctor prescribes medicine for you-take it!! You only have one set of lungs, you should take care of them. For those of us with asthma, we're a little protective of our lungs. We don't take them for granted because we know what it's like to not be able to breathe.

So, be the grown up that you are and take your medicine! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween time! Check your candy for nuts!

It's that time of year again...sugar overload! I mean Halloween.

If you have a child with food allergies (or have some yourself) you need to check all the Halloween candy carefully. Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts, so we have to be careful when we pick out candy.

If you have someone that is allergic to peanuts, good luck finding chocolate candy without it! The Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and even the Butterfinger candy bars in my cauldron all have peanuts. Luckily, we're NOT allergic to peanuts, so we can eat all of these candy bars. Mmmmm.

We worry about cross contamination, so if I had a child that was allergic to peanuts, I wouldn't let him eat the Twix candy bars that are also in the cauldron. If you have candy bars that have peanuts mixed in with candy bars that don't, that can be enough cross contamination for some people to cause anaphylaxis. 

We read labels to see if the candy was produced on the same equipment that was used to make candy that has tree nuts. If it has, then that candy gets put in a pile for me to eat. Sigh, the things I do for my kids....

If you have a child with a tree nut or peanut allergy, try using a separate bowl with candy that your child can eat. They need to have some fun on Halloween too! And if they get candy that they can't eat, you might have to be a good parent and eat it for them.........

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Breakfast time!

Yep, that was my breakfast this morning. An antibiotic pill first, then a steroid. MMMM. Then I did a breathing treatment in the nebulizer with Albuterol. Once my lungs were opened up a little, I could use my Advair inhaler. Breakfast of Champions, yum!

I can't believe I'm sick again. Hubby got sick the last day of our vacation, and I was careful to wash my hands and spray everything with Lysol. I thought I dodged a bullet, but a week later it was my turn to be sick. When I woke up with a scratchy throat, I thought "uh oh-not again!" Wasn't I sick with this last month?

It's been miserable. First the low grade fever started, then I had sneezing fits that could be heard by the neighbors. I followed that up with a nasty cough. I woke up on Saturday and realized I was in trouble. I was coughing up colored phlegm, a sure sign of infection. And I was so breathless that I couldn't speak above a whisper.

I called Asthma Doc's after hours line, but the phone system wasn't working. Annoying. So I called  Primary Care Doctor. I was worried my message didn't go through, so decided to go to the InstaCare facility to be seen by a doctor. As I was just about to check in at the desk, my cell phone rang, and it was my Primary Care Doctor. Since I hadn't checked in yet, I motioned Hubby to follow me out in the hall while I talked on the phone. Primary Care Doctor could tell by my voice that I was pretty sick. I reminded Doc that I have asthma (which makes every illness worse). He said he would call in an antibiotic and course of prednisone to the pharmacy (exactly what I was hoping for!) Sounds like I have bronchitis or pneumonia (again).

Hubby said, "Phew, that was close. That just saved us $75!!" Yep, that's Hubby the Tightwad. I am impressed that he was actually willing to drive me to the InstaCare and crack open his wallet for the $75 co-pay. But he was equally delighted to skip the co-pay and head to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. He must have been feeling really generous because he also brought home orange juice and home made chicken soup from my favorite restaurant.

It's been a LONG week of sleepless nights and equally miserable days. and I am still not feeling better. I thought I would head to my office to catch up on a few things, but that was a mistake. I am headed back home to bed. 

 If you get sick and you have asthma, don't hesitate to call your doctor, go to the after hours clinic or emergency room. Colds/flu/bronchitis/pneumonia are always worse when you have asthma. It's especially scary if you have kids with asthma that get sick. My kids have been hospitalized 12 separate times because of pneumonia and asthma.  It can go from bad to worse VERY quickly.

I did go see my doctor yesterday because I was still not feeling better. I had a really bad coughing spell and felt a sudden searing pain in my right side. Turns out I pulled a muscle, which makes every time I cough a real joy. It could be worse, several of my friends have told me that they actually broke a rib during a coughing spell. Sheesh! Doc listened to my lungs and said they sounded better, but to just give it a little more time.  He did prescribe a strong cough medicine, so hopefully that helps.

I think I'll head back to bed, have a little more chicken soup and orange juice and watch some chick flicks. Now all I need is a little chocolate, because that makes everything better. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What are "retractions"?

(Shutterstock image)

Retractions are one of those severe symptoms of an asthma attack. It's when you are having such a hard time breathing, that you are using other muscles to help, and the skin sucks in around your collar bone and along your ribs. You can see the collar bone sticking out each time you try to take a breathe and you can see the skin tighten over the rib cage.

It's a  BAD sign and you need to get to the hospital-FAST! A call to 911 would be a good idea.

If you want to see a photo of what it looks like, click here. The Webmd website has a slide show called "Signs of  a Pending Asthma Attack." It has 10 very helpful photos and tips about asthma.

I have actually seen retractions on Son #2 once, it was one of the many times he ended up in the hospital-only that time he was listed in ICU. (Intensive Care Unit) It was something I never want to see again. He was sick and I had just given him a breathing treatment with the nebulizer and I was rinsing out the canister in the kitchen. I walked back into the living room and saw his stomach suck WAY in, the skin was stretched tight against the rib cage (I could see each rib individually) and his collar bone was sticking out. I ran closer to look at him, and he was very pale and his lips were a dark burgundy color. He looked bad. I got him in the car and drove as fast as I could to the closest Emergency Room (BIG mistake-I should have called 911)

There was a flurry of activity around him in the hospital, and they had the "crash cart" parked outside his hospital room. They wanted it close by so if he stopped breathing, they could quickly resuscitate him. Nice thought, huh?
Asthma is very different. Some people have mild asthma, some have moderate asthma, some have severe. They all can have different triggers (or things that cause asthma attacks), are treated with different medications and can have different symptoms. The following quote is from the Webmd website.

Other Signs of Asthma Emergencies

If you notice any of the following, get emergency help at once:
  • difficulty talking
  • inability to exhale or inhale
  • shortness of breath
  • feelings of anxiety or panic
  • coughing that won't stop
  • pale, sweaty face
  They also list chest and neck retractions, and blue/grey lips or fingernails.

Hopefully you never have to experience any of these, or see these signs in a loved one. But if you do, get help FAST!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Don't climb a tower after using your inhaler....

Something was bothering me one morning on vacation. I don't know what it was-sometimes that's how it is with asthma. You can't figure out what triggered an asthma attack. I decided I had better use my inhaler, and I felt much better afterwards.

We were visiting a beautiful old cathedral, and we had to wait some time to climb to the towers on the top and over look the city. I didn't think much of it until I started climbing the 350 stairs to the top. (And it was a narrow spiral staircase!) My lungs felt like they were on fire. And my heart was beating quite fast. I realized that was thanks to using my inhaler AND climbing a steep flight of stairs.

It was harder to climb the tower than I thought it would be. Luckily there was an older woman in front of me that had to stop to catch her breath. She apologized, and waved me on. I told her I wasn't going any faster than she was and I would wait. It gave me a moment to try to belly breathe and slow my breathing down. I couldn't have passed by her on that narrow spiral staircase anyway! We made it to the top and the view was certainly worth it!

But lesson learned, I have to be careful if I'm going to do strenuous exercise right after using my  inhaler. Some people can use their inhaler and then head out for a soccer match, basketball game, etc. It might not bother some people to use their inhaler right before exercise, but for me it does. Just another example that asthma is not a one-size-fits-all disease.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vacation time!!!!!


Time for a vacation, so I won't be blogging while I'm gone. I'm one of the few people in American who doesn't have a smart phone, so I couldn't blog even if I wanted to.

Have fun reading through all the old posts, you can use the search bar to look up any information you would like.

I hope my asthma behaves itself while I'm on vacation.....