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Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday parties with food allergies

(Shutterstock image)

It's holiday party time - and as someone that is allergic to seafood - I am constantly checking my food at holiday parties. Shrimp in BBQ baked beans???? Yep.....I have had that happen! 

Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts, which are in a LOT of bakery products and ice creams. So he has an even harder time avoiding his allergen than I do. 

Last month, I attended a national allergy and asthma conference where one of the doctors showed a VERY funny video about food allergies.

How can that be funny?

Well.....if you have ever had a time when a doctor thought you had NO idea what you were talking about (because HE'S the doctor, not you......) you may get a chuckle out of watching the video. 

It was create by Dr. Julie Brown and it shows a mom trying to tell the ER doctor that her son is having anaphylaxis - but the doc isn't listening.

Does that sound familiar?  I have had pretty good luck over the years with doctors saying that "they listen to a mom's intuition because she knows her child better than anyone else, and she knows when something is wrong."

And....I've had other doctors that seemed to have the God Complex.

(They are God and are in control and the rest of us are mere mortals....)

It is pretty funny....

So, what can you do if you have food allergies? And will be at lots of holiday parties? Allergy & Asthma Network has a fabulous article "Holiday Party Prep: The Power of Role Play"

You can read it to find great ideas for dealing with food allergies,  and it will help you and your child feel empowered. 

If you are prepared, you can enjoy the holidays!

Now....pass the chocolate!




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Real or artifical tree?

Well, it’s that’s time of year again. My friends on Facebook are posting lovely pictures of their family at the Christmas tree lots, picking out the perfect tree. It’s post card perfect.

Well, we are……heading to our store room to haul out our carefully packaged Christmas tree. Sigh.

No fresh smelling pine trees, no pesky needles to sweep up.
Just an artificial Christmas tree.

Hubby and I and all 3 kids have allergies – to everything. Trees, grass, flowers, bushes, cats, dogs, horses – basically anything that is alive. And that includes Christmas trees.

It’s not that we haven’t tried to treat our allergies. Not only do we all take allergy medicine (or allergy nose spray) every day, but the kids have all had 5 year’s worth of allergy shots.

Allergy shots are supposed to desensitize your body and make your allergies better...but just our luck - they didn't work well on the kids. 

Their allergies aren’t as bad as they used to be, but they still sneeze, get a runny nose, and have itchy eyes and throat.

So, we get a nice, boring artificial Christmas tree.

(Hubby actually doesn’t mind because it saves money! We don’t have to buy a new tree each year.)

I have to admit – I do miss the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, but it’s not worth the miserable month we would spend with allergy medicine and a box of tissues.

We did buy a fresh pine wreath for the front door, so at least we have that!

What is right for your family?

Real of artificial tree?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Thunderstorm asthma"

(Shutterstock image)

What a weird world we live in! 

Many of you have probably heard about "thunderstorm asthma" that hit Melbourne, Australia last week and left so many people unable to breathe.
What is thunderstorm asthma?

The Age, an Australian news source, explained it this way:

"In Melbourne, this phenomenon occurs when moisture-charged winds immediately before a storm whip up rye grass pollen from the pastures north and west of town, sweeping them into the city. Rye grass is the pollen that causes most cases of hay fever in Melbourne."
For those of you with allergies and asthma, you probably know what it's like to have hay fever cause an asthma attack. 
Ragweed, grass, flowers or trees are in bloom - you inhale the pollen and instantly you start sneezing and your chest tightens. Then the cough starts and you frantically paw through your purse to get your inhaler. (That's what I do anyway.......)
On Good Morning America, Bill Nye the Science Guy explained thunderstorm asthma in this video 
(My kids watched Bill Nye the Science Guy when they were growing up, so now every time I see him I get his theme song stuck in my head....."Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill Nye the Science Guy!") 

In Melbourne, the problem was the crazy wind broke the pollen into smaller pieces that were then inhaled by anyone that was outside. It hit a lot of people all at the same time
The New York Times reported that patients struggling to breath:

".... flooded the city’s emergency rooms, swamped ambulance call lines and joined lines around pharmacies during six hours on Nov. 21. All were struggling for breath. About 8,500 people went to hospitals. Eight have died, and one remains in intensive care more than a week after a thunderstorm surged across Melbourne, carrying pollen that strong winds and rain broke into tiny fragments."
You can watch a video from The Age and see how hospitals dealt with the flood of patients. 

That's a LOT of patients all at once. 

So, what do you do to protect yourself if you have allergies and asthma? 

It's hard to prepare for a freak storm! But - I try to prepare for ANY asthma emergency. 

My asthma inhaler goes everywhere with me. It's been to LA, Denver, Chicago, Houston, Washington DC and Paris. I never leave home without it - even when I head to the gym for a quick work out. I don't bring my purse to the gym, but instead bring my drawstring bag and throw in my inhaler, workout gloves, keys and water bottle.

I also know the emergency signs of an asthma attack and when I need to call 911 

When my kids were younger, they were hospitalized 12 times with pneumonia (2 of those were in ICU), so I know how scary it can be when you can't breathe. 

My heart aches for those who lost their lives to thunderstorm asthma. And I hope those who were treated in the hospital can keep getting better.

This makes me want to hug my kids (even if they are in high school and college) I can just see it now, "Oh sheesh mom! Not in front of my friends!" (Insert eye roll from kids.)

That's My Life as an Asthma Mom

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Avoiding food allergies during Thanksgiving

(Shutterstock image)

And.....the fun begins of trying to avoid food allergies with holiday parties.

Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts, and I am allergic to seafood. So we are always on the lookout for cross contamination as restaurants, family parties and work parties. As careful as we try to be, we both had an accidental exposure last month, which makes me really nervous. Because the next allergic reaction to either of us will be anaphylaxis. 

This week, a family member gave us a loaf of delicious looking pumpkin bread, and when Hubby cut a slice -  I saw walnuts. I quickly turned to Son #2 and said, "Don't touch it!!!" 

Then I wrapped it up tightly, moved it to the back of the counter and sanitized the counter top. Sigh. Here we go again....

We have told family members several times about our food allergies, but it just goes in one ear and out the other. I'm not sure why - maybe because they don't have to deal with it, so they forget.

For us, it is life threatening.

This year, I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and I will NOT have pecan pie in my house. I will buy any other kind of pie, but I will not bring nuts into my house.

In fact, I will be supplying the pie myself so I know that there are no nuts. 

Other friends and family can bring things like green salad, rolls and mashed potatoes. I don't have to worry about those foods.

If you have food allergies - let everyone know. You need to protect yourself.

Don't be afraid to ask what's in a certain food. I will pick up the serving utensil and dig into a dish and examine it. I will also ask if it contains seafood or nuts.

If there is something nearby that has nuts or seafood, I will ask that we serve ourselves dinner first so we can make sure people don't switch serving utensils - which can result in cross contamination. 

When I host a dinner, I will also put small signs in front of each dish so people can know the ingredients.

Speak up and protect yourself! The holidays are a wonderful time - but not if you are in the ER with anaphylaxis! 


Friday, November 18, 2016

Seeing Doctors In a New Light

I just attended a national allergy and asthma conference for doctors. As a Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C), I was hoping to learn as much as I could about new research, treatment plans. I want to make sure I am up to date when I help families understand more about asthma.

Since I work in Public Health, I felt like an outsider there. But it was interesting to see things from the doctor's point of view. 

Did you know that (gasp!) they aren't perfect?! (Seriously.....who IS perfect? No one!)

Did you know that they lose sleep worrying about patients? They worry:
  • Is there a different diagnosis? 
  • Did they miss something on a medical test? 
  • Is their patient going to be okay? 
  • Could they have done more?
The list of what they worry about can go on and on.

Not only are they doctors, but they are also parents and have their own families to worry about.

The EMR (electronic medical record) that they are required to use takes a LOT of time. It's supposed to be more accurate, but apparently many of the doctors hate it.

The presenter said that many times doctors go home after work and have "pajama time" - meaning they spend another hour or two finishing up online paperwork.

Not only do they worry, they also can suffer from depression - just like many of us do. It sounds like they are under a lot of pressure. 

This is the first time I have seen this side of their profession. 

What can we do to let doctors know that we love and appreciate them?

I send a Christmas card each year with a hand written thank you about how they specifically have helped me or one of my family members.

When I was more organized, I also would take them something from a local bakery along with the card.

I'm going to make sure my doctors get a nice card this year! And maybe I won't wait until Christmas - I think I'll do next week before Thanksgiving to show that I am thankful for them. 

Many times, we are not at our best when we are at the doctor for ourselves or with a child that is having problems with their asthma. (It's always hard watching a child struggle to breathe.)

So, I like to send something afterwards to thank them for keeping me calm and taking care of my kids.

What are you thankful for?

If it's your doctor - let them know!  

Monday, October 31, 2016

ALERT! Do not use dusty costumes today!!

Quick post before I run off to the Halloween party for work.

This morning, I grabbed a shirt from the shelf in my closet - a cute little thing that spelled "Happy Halloween" in orange and white sequins. That was all the dressing up I was going to do today....

However, I haven't worn the shirt since last year. So, I threw it in the dryer on the "steam refresh" cycle, pulled on a skirt and thought I would be okay. 


As soon as I arrived at my office, I started sneezing.....then coughing....then realized not only did I need to quickly use my inhaler, but I would have to drive back home and change my clothes!

So, here I am back at the office. 

If you (or your kids) have asthma and allergies and are triggered by dust, PLEASE clean your costume carefully before you wear it tonight.

You just might have time to get it washed and dried before it's time to trick or treat. 

 I can hardly type this blog entry because my hands are shaking from using my inhaler....

If you can prevent an asthma attack, it will be worth it!
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Another option for epinephrine

Ah, the constant battle of trying to find the right medication - and one I can afford!

Like many people with asthma, I also have allergies - including food allergies. So, I carry an epinephrine auto injector. 

And since I had an accidental exposure to seafood last month, my body made new antibodies and I'm afraid my next exposure to seafood will mean a very severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis.)

To be safe, I take epinephrine EVERYWHERE I go. In fact, my epinephrine has been to Disneyland, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Washington DC and Paris. (The Washington DC security checks at the Senate and House buildings are REALLY strict - so after they put my purse through the x-ray machine, the officer was really suspicious! I had to pull out my epinephrine and explain what it was and why I had to carry it.) 

Anyway, I'm sure most of you have heard about the controversy about Mylan raising the price on their Epi Pens. Since I needed a new epinephrine pen, I did some research to see what else was available. 

I ended up getting one from Adrenaclick. You can read more about it from an earlier blog post  I was able to get the generic version for a $10 copay.

Auvi Q  will be coming back on the market in 2017.  I have NO idea what it will cost since everyone has different insurance and co-pays.

Auvi-Q is different because it's small (you can see the grey "practice trainer" above.) It's about the size of a credit card - but thicker. About as thick as a cell phone. Some people may like it better to carry in their pocket. 

The other really cool about it is that it "talks" to you and walks you through the steps to use it. Northern Colorado Allergy and Asthma Clinic has a very clever video that shows how it works 

So, talk to your doctor and see which epinephrine injector would be the best for YOU to use. 

And remember to take it everywhere you go.....just in case!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Teal Pumpkin Project

And.....the fun begins! Trying to find candy without tree nuts for Halloween. Son #2 has a tree nut allergy and had an accidental exposure last month. Not good.

There are many different types of chocolate candy that don't have tree nuts (Milky Way, Milk Duds, Hershey's chocolate bars, Whoppers, etc.) But many times, the snack size candy bars are in the same bag with candy bars that DO have nuts. Or they're made in the same factory (which means they can be cross contaminated.)

What are some other candy options? The Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board has a Peanut and Tree Nut Free Candy List

Since son #2 is in college, he is WAY too old to Trick or Treat for Halloween, but I want to have some candy available when he comes home for Sunday dinners. I have to bribe him with something, right?! 

What about the kids who have multiple food allergies and so they can't trick or treat? Where's the fun in that?! They need to enjoy Halloween too!

Enter Food Allergy and Research Center (FARE.) 3 years ago, they came up with a great idea to let kids know if your house is food safe for Halloween.

It's pretty easy. You just:
  1. Buy a non food treat (bracelets, necklaces, stickers, glow sticks, etc). I get stuff at my local party supply store
  2. Put a teal pumpkin out front  
  3. Put up a free poster that explains why you have a teal pumpkin
  4. You can make a donation to The Teal Pumpkin Project
You can download free signs for your house. You can have non-food treats, or candy and non food treats. 

They also have a few more signs.

Need them in Spanish or French? They have those too!  

This is an easy way to let kids with food allergies trick or treat without worrying about getting sick or having an allergic reaction. 

Has anyone tried this in their neighborhood yet? If so, how did it go?

Let's make Halloween fun for all of the kids!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Birthday in the hospital

Since all 3 of my kids inherited my asthma (sorry guys!) we have had LOTS of late nights/doctor visits/ER visits and hospitalizations.

One of my last posts was about Kids in the Hospital

I promised I would share the story about Kitty being in the hospital on her here goes.

 Son #2 and Kitty both had pneumonia (again).  I mean - what else is there to do in winter?! Son #2 was admitted to the hospital the day before Kitty was and she was SO MAD that she had to be in the hospital again. 

Sorry kid. 

But there she was, the day before her 7th birthday. After were settled in her room and had her oxygen on, IV hooked up, and had met all of the nurses, I  realized I would have to cancel Kitty's birthday party for the next day.

  The woman in the photo above is the hospital's "Child Life Specialist" (CLS) . She helps the kids play games, gives them donated blankets and stuffed animals and generally tries to make the hospital a less scary place for kids.

CLS came to check on us and see what we needed. After a sleepless night, I was in a daze and mumbled something about Kitty's birthday was the next day and I would have to cancel her birthday party.

She said, "Don't do that! Just have the kids come here!" Since I was a little sleep deprived, I wasn't processing what CLS was saying and stared at her blankly.

CLS said that they have had other birthday parties at the hospital, and we could quickly plan one for Kitty. She asked what theme Kitty wanted? That year it was puppies. CLS said she would decorate the spare conference room, ask the hospital cafeteria to bake a puppy themed birthday cake, and arrange for security to escort the group of kids to the secure pediatrics floor of the hospital. 

Hubby had just arrived at the hospital to switch places so I could go home to shower and change and see our other kids. I was re-energized with CLS's plans, so I stopped by the party supply store for puppy themed party supplies.

I called the parents and said there's been a change for Kitty's party, can you come to the hospital tomorrow? We'll have the party there! 

The last thing to figure out was how to get Kitty to the conference room with all of her friends.

Since this was her 6th hospitalization, we had to be sneaky. The next morning I told Kitty that she needed another chest x-ray, but that we would just walk down (and pull her oxygen tank behind us) instead of taking the wheelchair. So off we went down the hall. Only I turned right instead of left and went down a different hallway. I stopped in front of a door not far from her hospital room and said, "Okay, let's go in!"  She looked at me and rolled her eyes and said, "Mom - this isn't x-ray!" (Seriously? What 7 year old kid knows what the x-ray department looks like at the hospital??)  

I threw open the door to the conference room to a loud "Surprise!!!" from all of her friends and their parents. CLS had done a GREAT job! There were balloons, posters, and lots of puppy themed toys and games. 

 In the photo above, you can see the kids wearing their black puppy ears and white puppy paw print hats while they sit around a table. CLS found cute silver dog bowls, filled them with beads, and helped the kids make beaded "dog collars".   

I don't remember the other games, or even what the cake looked like. 

But I do remember being filled with love. Love for Kitty. Love for Kitty's friends and their families. And love for CLS who took the time to coordinate a hospital birthday party for one VERY sick little 7 year old. 

She helped us make the best of a bad situation.

And for that, I am truly grateful. Despite what I see on the news each night, there is still good in the world.     

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fun with vocal chord dysfunction!

( Shutterstock image)

Fun with what? 

Did you know VCD is commonly mistaken for asthma? And just to confuse you a little more, there are people that can have asthma and VCD.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) list the following symptoms of VCD:

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms of VCD can include:
•    Difficulty breathing
•    Coughing
•    Wheezing
•    Throat tightness
•    Hoarse voice
•    Voice changes

Several months ago, Asthma Doc suspected VCD in daughter Kitty. (She also has asthma.) Sometimes, her throat feels "tight" (instead of her lungs feeling "tight".) Asthma Doc said the best treatment is speech therapy, but he couldn't find a speech therapist locally who specializes in VCD. I found one through our local hospital system and set an appointment.

This week was her first appointment. Speech Therapist said my daughter fits the typical profile: young females between 14-21 who are very athletic. Hmm.

He is going to spend several sessions with her to help her control her breathing so she can be more active. She will be learning special speech therapy techniques and deep breathing.

She could already feel a difference on the first visit. He made her run the stairs at the hospital, then practice the technique he taught her - and it worked! 

Yes, this is only the first visit, but I see hope on the horizon!

Mayo Clinic says your doctor may suspect VCD if:

  • It's harder to breathe in than breathe out when symptoms flare up
  • Asthma medications don't seem to ease your symptoms
  • Results of breathing (pulmonary function) tests or other tests for asthma are normal
 If you wonder if you could have VCD instead of asthma (or in addition to asthma), talk to your doc.

There's something new to learn every day!





Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kids in the hospital

(shutterstock image)

It's funny the things that kids can remember. 

When my kids were little, they were hospitalized 12 times for asthma.

Even though daughter Kitty is in high school now, she told me she can still remember the last time she was hospitalized at age 7. She said she was SO MAD that she had to be in the hospital AGAIN!

Kitty and Son #2 both had pneumonia (as is our usual winter activity...) and were both VERY sick. We had already:

And they were still getting worse. Son #2 was the first to end up in the hospital. He was admitted one night around 3am (they always get worse during the night.....)

Neighbor was at home while we were getting Son #2 admitted. and she was watching Kitty. When I returned from the hospital at 4am, i gave Kitty another breathing treatment. As soon as the doctor's office opened, I was on the phone to get them to look at Kitty.

Pediatrician listened to her lungs, reviewed her medications, and said, "Well, if she gets worse, you can bring her back tomorrow." I replied, "She won't be here tomorrow, she'll be admitted tonight."

I surprised myself when I said that. I don't know how I knew....I just knew.

I watched her all day and watched for the signs of an asthma emergency  

I knew she was getting worse. The final straw was when I was using the oxygen monitor that night.

It had been steadily dropping and had reached 91 (you should be close to 100.) I knew from past experience that our hospital will admit my kids if they have all the signs of an asthma emergency and their oxygen level drop to 90 or 91.

I called Hubby at the Pediatric Unit and said, "I'm bringing Kitty down to get admitted. Meet me in the ER." By this time, I had learned "the ropes" of having a kid in the hospital for asthma.
As soon as we entered the ER, they took us right back to a room and could see how sick she was. I told the ER Doc that her brother was admitted the night before and I felt she needed to be admitted too - it was time for the professionals to take over. She said, "Yes, good idea."  

I asked ER Doc to call up to Pediatrics and move Son #2 to a double room so he and Kitty could share a room. (See? I told you I had learned the ropes....)
This is the part where Kitty gets mad because she has to be admitted to the hospital.....again. But, she got to spend time with her brother and they were able to battle pneumonia together. Until he was discharged a day later, and she was stuck there for her 7th birthday. (The birthday story can be another post on another day.)
It's always funny to hear what kids remember. She was mad that she was admitted to the hospital again, but doesn't remember the story leading up to it. 
Well, you know!  

My Life as an Asthma Mom! Sometimes I wonder how I have survived all the stress over the years....


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Can my child carry an inhaler at school?

(Shutterstock image)

The short answer is YES! Your child can carry an inhaler at school. 

Some parents say, "What about the drug-free zone at schools? I thought they can't have ANY medicine at school." Nope. 

"All 50 states have laws in place that allow students with asthma to carry and self administer asthma quick relief inhalers and other lifesaving medicine. The laws vary by state and each school district may have its own policy and paperwork requirements. Contact your school nurse or school officials and ask about the self-carry/self-administration policy in your school district."

We  have a state law that allows ANY student to carry and use their inhaler IF they have a form filled out at the beginning of the school year. Our form is a combination form. The front side is an Asthma Action Plan and the back side is the permission form that allows the kiddos to carry their inhaler.

For those of you that have asthma, you know the panic that can set in if you don't have your inhaler handy. I don't want my daughter's inhaler locked up in the front office while she is out on the soccer field. When she has an asthma attack, she needs her inhaler RIGHT THEN.

She can't wait while someone runs to the office, locates the secretary to unlock the nurse's office, finds the inhaler, then takes it back out to the field. Crazy!

Our state has an AWFUL student/nurse ratio. Our nurses have between 5-9 schools that they supervise. Yep, not kidding. School Nurse is at the high school Mondays from 8:30 -11:30. I sarcastically tell daughter Kitty that if she is going to have an asthma attack, make sure she has it during that 3 hour block of time. She rolls her eyes and says, "Yeah, right mom. I'll make sure that happens."

My kids have always been on their own if they have an asthma attack at school. They carry their own inhalers and they are not afraid to use them!

Check with your school and see what the school asthma inhaler (and EpiPen) policy is.

Seconds count when you have an asthma attack and kids need to have their inhaler in their backpack....just in case.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

9-11 survivors develop asthma

We attended a local 9-11 anniversary memorial, and I happened to hear a REALLY FABULOUS bagpiper perform. I can't seem to listen to Amazing Grace on bagpipes without shedding a few tears - must be allergies, right?!

It was the 15th anniversary and most of the news programs talked about stories of those who had passed away. Stories about dads who had kissed their kids goodbye - not knowing that the kids would never see their dad again. There were stories about others who had died - moms, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends. All who died too young.

And then there were stories about first responders that helped that day and were later diagnosed with asthma. Hubby looked at me after watching the news story and said, "You should blog about that." Great minds think alike.

It doesn't surprise me that people that helped in New York City developed asthma. There was such a think layer of dust. How could it NOT damage someone's lungs?

A clip from the story says:

"It is thought that exposure to this dust through the lungs and skin has contributed to the asthma, gastrointestinal problems, and possibly the increased cancer risk experienced by rescue workers, especially those who were on the site immediately after the attack, when the cloud of debris dust was its thickest."

Another story from ABC News, "9/11 First Responders Battle Toxic Exposures 15 Years Later", says:

“They have chronic … asthma, chronic sinusitis, sometimes quite severe, sometimes interstitial lung disease [where the tissue can be scarred],” she said. “[Post-traumatic stress disorder] itself can be chronic disorder.”

There only bright side of this (if you want to call it that....) is that their care if completely covered under the World Trade Center Health Program.  PBS NewsHour has an interesting video if you have time to watch it (it's 15 minutes.) 

It's so sad that they didn't have the proper protection and equipment for working in the dust of the twin towers. And now they have life long problems. I think they did the best they could with what they had. It was an overwhelming disaster :(

For the rest of us "average Joes", did you know that there are things in our every day environment that can affect our asthma? CDC has a list Common Asthma Triggers 

Check to see what you can do to protect your lungs.

I don't think we can ever thank the First Responders enough for what they have gone through.

I am so proud to be an American! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Find where the urgent care centers are BEFORE you travel!

We have learned a LOT traveling with 3 kids with asthma over the years. I have learned to ALWAYS checked our destination for Urgent Care centers BEFORE we leave on vacation. Just in case.

Need to know what’s available by Disneyland? I can tell you! How about the Grand Canyon? Washington DC? Grandma’s house? I can tell you that too!
I’m one of those believer’s in Murphy’s Law (If anything can go wrong, it will.)

I’ve decided to outsmart Murphy over the years. It seems like if I am prepared for something, it WON’T happen. If I’m NOT prepared, something WILL happen.
So, I always look BEFORE we travel to find the closest hospital or urgent care. If there is an accident or illness while we are traveling, the last thing I want to do is try to try to find medical help while we are in a strange place and in a panic. (We learned that lesson the hard way while we were in Hawaii on vacation…..but that story is for another time.)

Over the holiday weekend, we went to see family. Daughter Kitty had a cold, but can usually use her rescue inhaler (Albuterol ) and be okay.  I asked Kitty if she wanted to pack the nebulizer for our trip. When the kids were little we ALWAYS packed the nebulizer – even if no one was sick. My kids have difficult to control asthma (as evidenced by 12 hospitalizations). So, we always felt safer knowing our trusty nebulizer was with us – just in case.

We decided not to bring it this time. Big mistake. Kitty used the nebulizer at home before we left, but still wasn’t feeling well by the time we got to family's house 5 hours later. She used her inhaler, but was still struggling to breathe. 

I told her the Urgent Care was only a couple of miles away, and we could head there for a treatment with a nebulizer. She didn’t want to go. After watching her for a while, I could tell she was getting worse. 
So, even though she complained (gotta love teenagers!), we dragged her to the Urgent Care. And I am sooooo glad we went! Not only were her lungs still really tight, but she also had an ear infection.

I told Urgent Care Doc that we were traveling and had not brought our nebulizer. They tracked down a home health care company that could deliver a nebulizer (at midnight on a Sunday night no less!) We debated whether to rent it or just buy it. But since our nebulizer is 16 years old, we decided it would be safer to have a new one. Who knows how much longer ours will last?

And there it is! A tiny new nebulizer (our old one is twice that size.....)

Kitty felt so much better after using the nebulizer. When she is sick, the nebulizer seems to work better than if she uses her rescue inhaler.

I am so glad I knew where the Urgent Care was located, so we could calmly drive there. I also knew they would take care of her and our insurance would also cover that visit. 

If you are traveling, PLEASE make sure you find the closest Urgent Care or hospital before you leave. We also carry an Out-Of-State insurance card  since our insurance will cover us in an emergency when we travel to other states.

If you are prepared, you may not need to use it. We have been going to family's house for 21 years, and this is the first time we have needed to use an Urgent Care  in their city for one of the kids. 

Include Urgent Care centers when planning for vacation.....just in case.