It's Asthma Awareness Month!!
You may be thinking, "yeah, I know all about asthma." Well, I know I don't know EVERYTHING there is to know about asthma-even though I have had allergies and asthma all my life.
I also passed on my genetic defect to all three of my teenagers - poor kids!! When my kids were younger, it seemed like we were ALWAYS in the doctor's office.....well, we were. We knew our pediatrician, as well as most of the other pediatricians in the county from seeing them during the after-hours clinics. And after 12 hospitalizations for our kids, we also knew most of the nurses and respiratory therapist in the pediatric wing of the hospital. I'm thinking that's NOT a good thing....it's kind of like being on a first name basis with your mechanic. Hmmm.
Most of the situations were beyond our control. Our kids were hospitalized multiple times for pneumonia and also from breathing smoke from forest fires. We did everything the doctor said to do to try to control their asthma symptoms. From making changes in our home to making sure all the kids were taking their daily maintenance medication. But sometimes, your lungs can't take any more inflammation or damage, so you have to go to the hospital.
Start by making your home allergy and asthma friendly
In addition to what Asthma Doc asked us to do to our house, we found some information from the Utah Asthma Program. They have an article titled "How to Avoid Triggers and Reduce Exposures." I also found info on Mayo Clinic's website.
Figure out what triggers are causing your asthma attacks
We also figured out what triggers (or causes) were making us have asthma attacks. CDC has a list of common asthma triggers . I have learned that triggers can change over time. A new trigger for me is scented candles and perfume. I already knew that smoke, cold temperatures and dust can trigger asthma attacks for me. My teenagers have different triggers. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what caused an asthma attack. You can carry a small notebook and record what you were doing before you had an asthma attack to see if you can figure out what caused it. (Did you pet the neighbor's cat or dog? Attend a soccer game on a grass field? Talk to a friend while they smoked? Clean out your dusty garage?)
Work with your doctor to create a plan that's right for you.
My teenagers and I all have different allergy and asthma medication. It seems like there's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to asthma. There are National Guidelines that doctors follow in determining which medicine is right for you. You may have to try a few medications until you find one that works for you. If you have allergic asthma, your doctor may want you to have allergy shots to desensitize your body.
Asthma and allergies can be controlled and you should be able to have a great life. It may take a little work to figure out the right combination of allergy and asthma medicines and what changes you need to make to your home so it's allergy and asthma friendly.
But you can do it! Let's enjoy this life we have all be given!!