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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Slacking off during summer?

One thing I am worried about as summer is starting is if my daughter Kitty will remember to take her daily, controller (or maintenance) asthma medication.

I remember listening to a webinar where a doctor talked about the dangers of not taking asthma medicine during the summer. (I wish I could find the webinar, but I can't remember which doctor gave the presentation.) I did find a website where someone asked that same question. Dr. Daniel More answered a question on

I think the problem is that kids and adults may be start a different routine. Kids are out of school, so they are sleeping in, going to summer camp, starting swimming lessons or attending sports or dance camps. So their regular routines are thrown off.

The same thing can be said for adults who are traveling, we may forget to take our daily, maintenance asthma medicine too.

Dr. More said:

"There are many reasons why stopping asthma medications during the summer is a bad idea. First, it's rare to have the underlying problem of asthma -- inflammation of the lungs -- go away during the summer. For most people with asthma, inflammation in the lungs is there all the time, and this needs to be treated all year long. Stopping asthma medicines during the summer leaves inflammation untreated, which could lead to complications from asthma (such as emergency room visits and hospitalizations)."

Yikes! That's a scary thought! When my kids were younger, they were hospitalized 12 different times for asthma (two of those were ICU). And it is VERY scary to watch your child struggling to breathe.

Dr. More also said: 

"Second, asthma attacks during the summer are still very possible, especially with a variety of asthma triggers around during this time of year. Grass pollen is present in high amounts during the summer, which can trigger asthma symptoms if a person is allergic to grass. Smoke from campfires or barbecues can act as an irritant in the lungs, causes asthma symptoms. Some people can even be allergic to barbecue smoke, especially if the smoke is from a wood such as mesquite, and the person is allergic to mesquite pollen.
Exercise-induced asthma, as a result of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and swimming, is also more common during the summer months."
 Dr. More also talks about when kids return to school in the fall, they are around lots of other kids - which can leads to lots of germs and getting sick. He also said that:

" of the most common times of the year for asthma attacks in kids is within the first few weeks of starting back at school........." 

Does anyone have any ideas of how you make sure your kids take their asthma medicine during the summer? And any tips for the adults who are also traveling and may forget to take their asthma medicine too?

I want to avoid another asthma attack and trip to the E.R for my kids.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Dry powder inhaler?

Did you know there is a new dry powder rescue inhaler that is soon to hit stores? (If it hasn't already.....)

The new inhaler is made by TEVA pharmaceuticals. In the press release, it says that the inhaler is "the first and only breathe-actuated dry powder rescue inhaler". I had to read that twice......but it looks like instead of being like a regular inhaler (that comes out in a spray) this is a dry powder.

It sounds like other asthma medications that are dry powder - but they are usually daily, controller (or maintenance) medications. This is a rescue inhaler.

There's also a quote from Dr. David I. Bernstein of the University of Cincinnati. He says, "The approval of ProAir RespiClick is significant as it eliminates the need for hand-breathe coordination during inhalation." 

In simple terms, it's made for those of us who have no coordination and can't chew gum and walk at the same time. With this inhaler, you wouldn't have to time it just right to get the medicine into your lungs.

With regular rescue inhalers, you have to time it just right - or you might breathe in too soon or too late, and not be able to get all of the puff from your inhaler into your lungs. If you aren't careful, it will just end up at the back of the throat. I use a spacer to help me get it just right. 

When I use my inhaler, the puff goes right into spacer (the tube), then I just breath in slowly and all of the medicine will go down into my lungs.

This dry powder inhaler looks like another option.
As with any new medicine, your doctor will know what's best for you. And some insurances may not cover it. I know that my insurance company is a little picky about what it will cover.
But, I like to at least know what my options are!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Asthma Blues

Just a short post today since I'm traveling (and I can't get a photo to upload.)

I met Al Keith at an asthma conference this month. He is an inspiring guy! He became a respiratory therapist after his daughter passed away as an infant. His daughter had an amazing respiratory therapist who inspired Al Keith to then become a respiratory therapist. His dedication and passion has impacted many lives over the years.

As a respiratory therapist, he provided asthma education to his patients. In 2002, he created Asthma Blues, which combines music and asthma education. The music CD uses different types of music (blues, country and rap) to teach people how to take care of their asthma. 

He uses guidelines from the NHLBI (National Heart Lung Blood Institute) to create the songs.

They are pretty funny - you can listen to one of the songs here and read the lyrics on the screen.

Studies have shown that the music and educational program are successful in helping people control their asthma.What a creative approach!

And what a wonderful man who took lemons and made lemonade (from the death of his daughter, to becoming a respiratory therapist to help other families.)

Hats off to Al Keith!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Traveling with asthma....

We were traveling last week, and of course someone in the family was sick. It seems like EVERY time we travel, someone is sick. I guess that's what happens when Hubby and I both work. Both of our sons work and go to college, and daughter Kitty is in school with 1200 other germ infested students. So there are LOTS of germs floating around.

So, what to do when you travel and you have asthma?

We started by checking to make sure we had our Out of State Coverage cards from our insurance company. Then Hubby looked up locations that were covered in the area where we were traveling. There were a few doctor's offices there that would accept our insurance. There was also a hospital. 

Then we made sure we packed maintenance medications, the rescue inhalers and allergy medicine. Oh, and LOTS of tissues.

The problem we found when we travel is that we are off our regular schedule. So, we had to remember to take our maintenance medication each morning. At home, we have a regular routine when we get ready for work or school. Not so much when we travel.

We had to put our medicine out on the table in the hotel room so we would see it and remember to take it every morning and every night.

We also checked the pollen count in that area before we left so we knew how much allergy medicine to bring. There are a lot of different sites out there that work well to find your pollen level.   

I also took my Epi Pen, and it was interesting because of all the airports and secured buildings we visited, I only had one person stop me and ask me about it. The guard pointed it out on the x-ray screen and asked what it was. It looked a long spring on the screen, so I was confused for a minute. Then I realized it had to be my Epi Pen (it looks a lot different in on the x-ray screen than it does in my purse!)  I told him it was my Epi Pen and took it out to show him. He then waved me through security. 

We were okay with our allergies and asthma while we were there, but I believe in being prepared. I know that if I DON'T take our medicine on vacation, something will happen and I wish we WOULD have brought it. If I do bring it, we seem to do well. Maybe it's just knowing that it's there and we are prepared.....just in case.