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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Asthma myths - how much do you know?

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Do you think you know everything you need to know about asthma? I know I don't, even though I have had asthma all my life and have 3 teenagers with asthma. I am always looking for any new information.

I found a fun slide show on WebMd's website that you can use to test your asthma knowledge. It's called "Quiz: What's Your asthma IQ?"

There are 9 questions, and each one explains what the correct answer should be. Take it and see how you do, you might learn something new!

I found another article about common asthma myths. This one is from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Asthma Program. 

You might be surprised at some of the myths.

(Hopefully you won't look like the guy in the photo above when you take the quiz or read the article!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quick melt allergy pills


I saw a commercial the other day where a woman was driving a convertible and was stopped at a red light. She sees a guy on a riding lawn mower mowing the grass strip that runs in the middle of the road, and she starts to panic because she can't get the top to go up on her convertible!  
(She must have allergies.....)

Then she starts sneezing, and her sunglasses end up sideways on her face. She seems a little embarrassed as she smiles at the person in the passenger seat and give s a little laugh.

The commercial is advertising allergy pills that you can take that will quickly melt in your mouth. (No need to find water to wash them down.) I can't remember what brand it is, so I was looking online for dis-solvable allergy medicine. I found Alavert (pictured above) and Claritin (pictured below) 


Has anyone found a dis-solvable allergy pill that works for them? It would be a nice option, instead of having to carry around allergy pills and water. I can add them to everything else I carry around in my purse (Bandaids, finger nail clippers, lip balm, an inhaler and spacer, Epi-Pen, etc, etc)

Ahhhh, My Life as an Asthma Mom.....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pollen Vortex

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This is what it looks like at my house lately....... pass the tissues!!!
It's good to know that I'm not alone. I was watching a story on the NBC Nightly News about the Pollen Vortex

For those of you who had extra long winters, you may be getting a little bit of a break because the ground is still frozen. So things in your area may not be blooming yet. But when it does start to warm up, you could get hit all at once with pollen.

One of the quotes from the story above said:
"But before you throw away the tissues, experts say the slow start could mean a more intense wallop. “It will be a shorter period by a number of weeks but you will see it all hitting very intensely,” says Dr. Shulan." (Dr. Shulan is from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)
So, instead of the tress releasing pollen at different times throughout the spring, they may all release their pollen at the same time. So you could suddenly be hit with ALL of the trees releasing all of their pollen for Spring- all at the same time. 

This could be one awful spring. Some areas of the country had less snow, so they may not be affected as much. But if you had LOTS of  snow this year, and things are just starting to warm up - fair warning!!! You may get hit with lots of pollen.

Watch the video on NBC for help in dealing with allergies. They list 3 new allergy medications that dissolve under the tongue (instead of needing allergy shots.) They also list other things you can do before you go to bed at night to reduce the effects of pollen.

Spring is a beautiful time of year, but it also causes misery for those of us with allergies. And allergies can also affect asthma. If you are struggling with allergies or asthma, talk to your doctor about new medications or ideas of how to treat your allergies.

Until then, stock up on tissues!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sick building syndrome

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I think we have "sick building syndrome" in my office. What is that?  The U.S. National Library of Medicine has an article that lists symptoms from bad indoor air quality. They include:

  • Headache

  • dizziness

  • nausea

  • eye, nose or throat irritation

  • dry cough

  • dry or itching skin

  • difficulty in concentration

  • fatigue

  • sensitivity to odours

  • hoarseness of voice

  • allergies

  • cold

  • flu-like symptoms

  • increased incidence of asthma attacks

  • and personality changes

The people that take care of our building recently changed the filters on the air conditioning unit. That's usually a good thing, but for some reason, it made the air in our building smells like a dirty bathroom. It's awful!!! And it seems really humid, in fact I noticed that the posters on my walls are warping! Woah!!!

It's really been affecting my asthma. In fact, I had to leave work yesterday because my chest was tight and I was having a hard time breathing. I used my inhaler twice during the day, and finally thought, "forget it!!!! I'm leaving the building!!!!" It took several hours for me to start to feel better.

At first, I thought I was going crazy, because many of the employees across the hall couldn't smell anything. And their posters and display board papers weren't warping. But when I would walk back across the hall, the smell in my office was awful.

It's been almost a week with the horrible smell. It seems worse in my area of the building - lucky me!!. And what makes it really bad is that I can't open my window. With newer building, they are built to be "energy efficient." Which basically means that someone else controls the thermostat and decides when to turn the heat and air conditioning on. And the windows are just big panes of glass that don't open. What I wouldn't give to be able to open my window and let some fresh air in!!

Yesterday after I was walking out of the building (holding my inhaler and spacer) I talked to the people in charge of our building and let them know that I had to leave because the building was making me sick. I guess my lungs can only take so much.

If you are having problems, talk to the people in charge of your building. I guess there were enough of the workers in our building that were complaining, that they were able to fix the problem.

I love my job, but I can't do it if I can't breathe. Good thing it's Friday and I can have a break from this building!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Perfume causes another asthma attack

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Most people love perfume and body sprays. There's nothing wrong with wanting to smell good, but as my neighbor always says "people don't have to take a bath in it!!!"

I went to the theater this weekend to see the new Captain America movie. As we were watching the previews, I smelled some REALLY stinky sweet perfume. Ugh. I looked around to see if I could figure out where it was coming from.  I thought it was a woman who had just sat down 2 rows behind me. So, I got up and moved up a few rows. It seemed better, then suddenly it was MUCH worse. I think it was the woman sitting across from me. Great!!! So I got up and moved about 15 rows up. The smell seemed to come and go. I think she was sitting under one of the air conditioning vents, and every time the AC would turn on, it would spread the smell of her perfume.
Many people don't realize that perfume can be an asthma trigger. 

Then it started........first I started to sneeze, then I started coughing. Yes, I was having an asthma attack! I pulled out my inhaler and spacer, shook it, then took a puff. I waited a minute and then took another puff.

I tried to take a deep breath and do a little belly breathing, but couldn't because I would start coughing again. I coughed off and on for most of the movie and my chest hurt. You can forget trying to eat popcorn when you are coughing!! Or trying to enjoy a movie!!

Remember, that what may NOT bother you or trigger an asthma attack can trigger one for other people. Here is a list of the most common asthma triggers. What's yours?

Please keep in mind that some of us have asthma attacks from perfume. Please limit (or don't wear) your perfume if you are going to be in a public place and people will be stuck sitting near you (such as theaters, conferences, performances, or while traveling on planes, conferences, etc) 

I thank you and my lungs thank you.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Is your city the worst city for allergies?

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The annual list is out!!! 
Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American (AAFA) has just released this year's list of Spring Allergy Capitals. They are "The Most Challenging Places to Live with Spring Allergies"

Is your city on the list?
How does a city make it on the list? They are ranked by:

  • Pollen score (pollen, grass, tree and mold spores)
  • Number of medicines people take for allergies)
  • Number of allergy doctors per patient
Hubby and I and all three teenagers have allergies and have been using a LOT of boxes of tissues lately. We also take a LOT of allergy medicine. Hubby woke up this morning with two swollen eyes due to allergies. I told him that people are going to think I smacked him!! (Think of one of the scenes from the Disney movie Tangled where Rapunzel smacks people with her frying pan.....) 

Can you do anything if you have allergies? Yes!! AAFA has a section on their website about how to treat allergies. There are a lot of great ideas on there!
There's the old saying that "misery loves company". If you have allergies, know that there are PLENTY of other people that are as miserable as you are! In fact, AAFA says that there are 50 million Americans that suffer from all allergies (food and drug, latex, indoor and outdoor allergies, insect, skin and eye allergies.) 
So, if you are suffering, you are not alone!! :)