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Friday, June 28, 2013

Does asthma take a "summer break?"

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Does asthma get a summer break? Well, I would LOVE a break from asthma. But that doesn't mean that I can just stop taking my medicine. I may FEEL fine, but I can still have swelling in my lungs if I don't take my maintenance/controller medicine every day.

There's an article from the AAAAI website (American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology), called "Summer Break" doesn't apply to asthma medications.   In the article, they say that people have a laid back attitude in summer, and that leads many of them to stop taking their medicine.

However, they say that can be a BIG mistake. And a dangerous one. Studies have shown that those people who stop taking their medicine (or cut back on it) in the summer can have BIG problems in the fall. In fact, they are more likely to end up in the emergency room or admitted to the hospital due to an asthma flare up. They see a spike in emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the fall for people with asthma who haven't been taking their controller medicine.

Why? If you are prescribed a controller/maintenance medication, and you don't take it, you can have swelling in your lungs. If you are exposed to an asthma trigger on top of that, your lungs can have a tough time fighting it off and you can end up needing medical help to breathe.

We have actually had that happen with Son #2. We didn't understand how important it was for him to take his medicine EVERY day. So when he got sick, we decided we better start giving him his maintenance medicine. Well, it was too late. His lungs were swollen, then he got a cold, and that turned into pneumonia. A very scary (not to mention expensive) lesson was learned.

Don't stop taking asthma medicine because it's summer, you are on vacation, or you "feel fine". It can be a dangerous mistake to make. Keep your lungs healthy so you can enjoy life!

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