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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ever forget to take your daily medication?

(Shutterstock image)

Well....I must admit that some days I forget to take my daily, maintenance inhaler. Daughter Kitty is VERY good, she remembers to take her inhaler every morning and every night. 

If you someone who sets a good example and reminds you to take your medicine, what else can you do to help you remember?

I have heard of many different ideas:
  • Put your inhaler near your toothbrush (since you brush your teeth every morning and night)
  • Set an alarm on your smart phone
  • Set an alarm on your watch

And now comes technology! There are new "inhaler sensors" that can track your inhaler use. WebMD says:

"The devices attach to your maintenance and rescue inhalers and automatically note when you take a dose, send you reminders that it’s time to take another, and mark where and when you needed an emergency fix."

A scientific study published in The Lancet showed that of kids who needed to use an inhaler on a daily basis, 84 % of kids who had the inhaler sensor used it every day, compared to 30% of kids without the sensor.

That means: 

“Benefits range from improving medication adherence to reducing hospital admissions, which makes smart inhalers the next wave of respiratory care technology to improve patient outcomes,” Cassandra Perez of RT Magazine wrote in October. 
There are several version on the market. Propeller connects to your inhaler and uses Bluetooth to store data and send it to your doctor if you want.  

Smartinhaler sends alerts and stores your data in the cloud.

What will they think of next? 

Has anyone tried any of the smart inhalers? If so, leave a comment! I would be interested in seeing how they work.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Asthma and strong emotions


Did you know that laughing, crying, angry outbursts, etc can all cause asthma attacks? 

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) list several other causes (or triggers) of asthma attacks. ACAAI divides them in categories:

  • Allergens
  • Pollen (from grass, trees or weeds)
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites
  • Animals (their dander)

  • Irritants 
  • Strong odors (perfumes, scented candles, etc)
  • Smoke
  • Chemical fumes (cleaning sprays, etc)
  • Other causes:
  • Illnesses (that pesky cold!)
  • Extreme weather (cold to hot, or dry to humid)
  • Exercise 
  • Strong emotions 

Have you ever had an asthma attack from a strong emotions? I have! I had a case of the giggles and could NOT stop laughing. I laughed so hard I had an asthma attack.

I also had a very sad situation that had me doing the "ugly cry". That also caused an asthma attack.

Unfortunately, when you have asthma, your body over reacts to things that "normal" people experience. With asthma, our lungs go crazy and cause an asthma attack.  (Seriously? Laughing or crying!? THAT causes an asthma attack too??) I really hate asthma.....

I was at the airport this week and waiting to board my flight when I saw something really sad.

  I saw a female passenger on the phone behind the gate agent's desk, sobbing. She couldn't stop crying.  The female airline employee hugged the woman as she cried and then led her to another area. 

I wasn't sure what was happening, but couldn't imagine someone crying that hard because of air travel (missed a flight, etc.) 

As I was boarding the plane, another passenger said that he over heard the phone call and that the woman's mother had died. The passenger had just talked to her mother before her flight, and the mother was supposed to pick her up at the airport. 

She was in a state of shock, as were the rest of us getting on our flight. 

It reminded me of when my mom died years ago, I can still remembered what I went through. And this passenger was having it all play out in a VERY public place. 

I thought it about during the flight home and decided I wanted to blog about it. 

Now that you know that strong emotions can cause asthma attacks, let's talk about moms. If your mom is still around, call her today or give her a hug!

We think our moms will always be there. But they won't.

Hug your mom or call her today while you still can.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Stay active with asthma!

(Shutterstock image)

Wahoo! The weather is finally getting warmer where we live. (Sorry for all you people that live in Oregon and Washington and get day after day of rain......) 

We are trying to stay active as a family, but what is the best way to do that if you have asthma? It may be different for each person with asthma. The one thing that drives me crazy about asthma is that there doesn't seem to be a one-size-fits-all treatment. 

WebMd has some ideas in an article called "Don't Let Asthma Keep You on the Couch"
These are a few highlights, but it's best to read the whole article!

  • Tennis, volleyball and golf have short bursts of energy, but then give you time to catch your breath
  •  Hiking, biking and walking can increase your endurance, but won't leave you breathless
  • If you are swimming laps and are short of breath, it could be because you are sensitive to the chlorine in the water 
They also list a few exercises that might be harder for someone with asthma:

  • Long distance running, basketball and soccer can be harder because it's a constant burst of energy
  • Hockey and cross country skiing can cause problems because of the cold, dry air 

 So, how do you know what's right for you? Try it out of course! As long as your doctor is okay with what you are doing, you can try a few sports and see what you like. Of course there are other ways to exercise that aren't on their list.

You can go canoeing, horse back riding, etc.
Now that the sun is out, I love riding my beach cruiser (I'm not one of those long distance bikers that wears spandex!) I just wander around the neighborhood on my bike and look at all of the neighbor's pretty flowers. 

I also enjoy walking (I love the sun on my face - and I get my best thinking done then!) 

And there's always the gym. Exercise bike, treadmill, yoga, pilates, spinning, swimming, etc.

But, no matter what I'm doing, I ALWAYS bring my inhaler! With my luck, I will be the one time I don't have it that I will need it. So, I use a sling bag and stick my keys, phone and inhaler......just in case.

Now get out and enjoy the sun! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

An excuse for not making the bed...

Allergy & Asthma Network publishes a VERY helpful magazine once a quarter. It's called Allergy & Asthma Today. 

I was reading the Spring 2016 issue of the magazine  and had to laugh out loud when I came across an article called "Don't Make That Bed!" 

Okay, I won't! 

Hubby is very tidy and always likes to make the bed. Unfortunately, he leaves VERY early for work while I am still curled up in bed. So, he hopes in vain that I will make the bed after I get up. Ha! Dream on......

It's not on the top of my list of things to do in the morning. I just try to get daughter Kitty up and to high school and me to work by 8 am. And neither Kitty nor I are morning people.

The "Don't Make That Bed!" article talks about researchers in Kingston University in London. Of all the creepy things to study, they studied dust mites.     

Their study showed that if you leave your bed unmade each day, the bed will dry out and dust mites won't be able to live in your mattress. Dr. Pretlove of Kingston University's School of Architecture says: 
“We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body,” Dr Pretlove said. “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.” 

For all of you messy people....this is your excuse to not make your bed!  (Honest Mom.....this will kill the dust mites and make my allergies and asthma better!)
For all of you tidy people that like to make your bed, mattress covers are recommended to protect you from dust mites. 

In the "Don't Make That Bed!" article, Allergy & Asthma Network suggests contacting them if you can't afford mattress and pillow covers. They have coupons and discounts. Contact them at 800-878-4403. 

Meanwhile, Messy People of the World - unite and leave the bed unmade. Ha!