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Monday, February 29, 2016

Credit card sized inhaler


What IS that silver thing sticking out of the wallet in the screenshot? Why it's an inhaler of course! Silly you, anyone can see that!

This story was shared by Allergy & Asthma Network on their Facebook page last week.

I read the article and saw the photos and thought, "Come again? What?"

The Bloom Inhaler holds 6 puffs from your regular inhaler. The idea behind this is you pre-load 6 doses into this credit card sized inhaler and leave your regular sized inhaler at home. Hmmmm.

How does it work? Slash Gear says:

"The user inserts the regular inhaler’s canister into Bloom’s matching port and depresses it six times, loading six doses into the slim inhaler. A hermetic seal prevents it from leaking back out, says the company. When the inhaler is needed, the user depresses the upper button and inhales the medication like normal...." 

This is a screenshot from Slash Gear's website:

It's a skinny little thing that is about as thick as 5 credit cards, so it could fit nicely in your wallet. They say it has been tested and is expected to be approved by the FDA in November. Cost should be  $40.

What do you think? Would you use it? It is kind of cool.....


Thursday, February 25, 2016

House stuff

 (Shutterstock image)

Last week, I talked about having our house inspected by a professional to see if there was anything we were missing.

We can't figure out why daughter Kitty is still having a hard time with her allergies and asthma. We have to be missing something, but what?

You can see the bathroom remodel we are dealing with now (last week's post). It's REALLY fun to have 5 of us trying to all use the boy's shower. Sigh.

Was there anything else?

This is what we the inspector found we need to work on:

  • Make sure we vacuum AT LEAST once a week (this means everything - especially under the beds)
  • Wash the sheets for EACH bed once a week (for us, it works best to pick a day of the week for each bed. So, I wash our sheets on Friday. Kitty's sheets on Saturday, etc. My sons are supposed to wash theirs weekly........yeah, riiiiiight. I'm sure that's getting done!) 
  • Clean the vents (did that when we first moved in....but it's been 11 years. So time to do it again)
  • Change the furnace filters monthly (because we have cats - long story of why we do)

So, what are we doing right?

  • We take our shoes off before we come into the house
  • We dust weekly 
  • We have roll up shades in the bedrooms instead of horizontal blinds (horizontal blinds are the WORST for building up dust - and that's one of our allergy and asthma triggers) 
  • We don't store ANYTHING under the beds (makes it easier to vacuum underneath)
  • We get new pillows for the beds every year
  • We wash the slipcovers on our couch each year
  • We wash the curtains in all of the rooms each year 
It's REALLY interesting how things in the home, work, etc can affect your asthma. 

Can't find a housing inspector to look at your house with a fresh set of eyes?

 Happy inspecting!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Black mold!!

This 1950's tub and shower look innocent enough - but it's been the source or arguments between Hubby and I. 

I knew the shower was leaking. Hubby said there was NO way it could be leaking. Mmmmhmmm.....

The tile wall seemed to be bowing out away from the wall. When I pushed on it, it sounded crunchy (like the tile wasn't stuck firm to the wall like it should be.)

Daughter Kitty's allergies always seemed WORSE when she was in the shower. That girl can sneeze 30 times in a row - easy. I knew there was something in the bathroom, but couldn't figure out what was causing problems. I cleaned every inch of that bathroom, and still she sneezed.

Asthma Doc was considering starting her on allergy shots - again. (She already had shots for 6 years.)

The only thing left  that could be causing problems was the shower.  

Hubby kept saying there was no way it was leaking. 

Last week I talked about having a housing inspector take a look at your house to see if there's something you are missing. It's a great idea to have someone else look with a fresh set of eyes.

Housing Inspector had suggested a few ideas, and agreed with me that there was probably water damage behind the wall. YEEESSSSSS! I guess Hubby had to hear it from someone else that he probably should check into fixing the shower.

He FINALLY agreed to tear out the shower. (But he wasn't happy about it.) (Don't worry - he took his mask off for this photo.) It's VERY important to wear protective gear when you tear out a bathroom with water damage. EPA has some great tips for Mold Cleanup in Your Home

It was a VERY long day for him. We have a historic house, which has plaster walls, not wall board. So it takes a crowbar and LOTS of patience.

A few hours into the destruction, he said, "Hmmm....guess what I found?" 

I knew he had found mold behind the wall, just like I said....

Can I tell you how much I wanted to say, " I TOLD YOU SO!!" I was nice and didn't say anything. He said, "Well, at least I admit I was wrong!" ARGH!

If he would have just listened to me sooner. We have been married almost 30 years, you think he would have learned to listen to his wife by now!

If you are not able to control your allergies and asthma, take a good look at your house or apartment and see if you can figure out what might be causing problems. Some areas have Asthma Home Visitation programs. They are free programs that will help you learn more about controlling your asthma, and check your home for any problems that might be making your allergies and asthma worse.

Here's an example of a program in Boston 

Guess it just takes a fresh set of eyes to see what you (or your husband) is not seeing as a problem in your home.



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Is something in my house making asthma worse?

(Shutterstock image)

Many people don't realize that there are a LOT of things in your house that can affect your asthma. 
Things like:

  • carpet
  • pets
  • dust on blinds
  • dust under beds
  • sheets that aren't cleaned often
  • water damage
  • dusty vents
We went through our house with an experienced housing expert to see if there was something we were missing.   Daughter Kitty has been in her yellow zone for a couple of months. She is on the highest dose of several allergy and asthma medicines, but it still having a tough time with her asthma.

I thought we were being careful. We have tried many things over the years, such as:

  • Wood floors (easier than carpet to see the dust and keep clean)
  • Removing our shoes when we come in the house (we store them in a big basket by the front door)
  • Vacuum every week with a good vacuum (we have been slacking off on this...)
  • Wash our sheets EVERY week in hot water (we do this, but the kids don't)
  • Get new pillows every January during the White Sales
  • Use allergy covers on the mattress and pillows
  • Cleaned out the air conditioning/heating vents when we moved in
  • Removed the swamp cooler and installed central air
  • Don't store anything under the bed (so we can vacuum under the beds each week)
  • Use roll up shades in the bedrooms (to avoid the dust that builds up on horizontal blinds)
  • Showering before bed during pollen season (to remove the pollen from our hair and bodies)
What did we find? Well, you'll have to wait until next week to find out. (Kind of like waiting for the next episode of Downton Abbey....)

 Until then, check out Minnesota Department of Health's "Home Environment and Asthma" page. You don't need a Housing Expert. You can watch a video on their website to see how to inspect your own house. 
Happy viewing! 



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Having Chronically Sick Children

(Shutterstock image)

One thing I have learned over the years is that people don't understand that asthma is a CHRONIC disease 
(meaning it last for a LONG time)

Unlike a cold (which is an "acute" illness - meaning it lasts a short time.)

For many of us, asthma is there for life. I can't count the number of times someone has said, "My brother's next door neighbor had a friend in college who met a guy who "outgrew" their asthma, so you will too!" 

They mean well, but the fact is that asthma is a lifelong disease. I'm almost 50 and have not yet "outgrown" my asthma!

And all 3 of my kids inherited my asthma (sorry about that guys!) They have severe asthma, which means they have been hospitalized 12 times (and one son almost died twice.)

I just read this article about families dealing with kids with chronic conditions. It's called "The Connections We Make as Parents of Chronically Ill Children" 

Erin Gunn talks about 3 types of families that she sees visiting the hospital:

  1. Families who are just there for a medical test and leave
  2. Families who have had kids hospitalized, but will go back to "normal" (we sort of fit under this category)
"The second group of families knows worry. Their child has an illness that requires inpatient care or surgery. They have watched their child have painful or scary procedures. They know what it’s like to sleep in a chair at their child’s bedside. They also know their current nightmare will be over soon, and normal life will resume."

3. Families whose kids have life-threatening illnesses and will spend weeks or months in the hospital (over and over again)
Reading this article helped me remember our Family Mantra:
Yes, I have sped to the hospital with my emergency flashers on my car and run into the hospital carrying my lethargic, pale child. 
Yes, I have seen the panicked look on the face of the nurse and doctor in the emergency room. 
 Yes, I have watched the nurses unable to get an IV in my child's arm because their oxygen level is so low. It would take several tries (one time it took 7 tries to get an IV in son's arm.)
Yes, I have watched my son have a blood gas 
(they take blood from the artery instead of the vein - which is VERY painful)
Yes, I have watched my son hooked up to a heart monitor (so they will know if he "crashes" - or stops breathing and his heart stops beating.)
Yes, I have had to dig my fingernails into the palm of my hand to stop myself from crying in front of my child while they were in the hospital.
Yes, I have been sleep deprived, anxious, scared, and defeated during 12 hospitalizations for my kids. 
But none of that can compare to the families in category #3.
Reading this article makes me realize how lucky I am.  And how hard it is for other families with kids with medical conditions much worse than what we deal with.

Erin Gunn ends the article like this:

"Imagine if we start paying attention to everyone we meet. Imagine if we get to know their story a little, how it might impact our story. Imagine how much less alone we might feel. What if we open ourselves up to possibility, if we focus less on our busy lives and what we are doing next, and start paying attention to the moment we are in? It seems to me that we will have so much more empathy and compassion. We will learn so much about ourselves and others. We will have more support and compassion given to us when we need it."

What if?