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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fireworks, smoke and asthma - a deadly mix

(Shutterstock image)

It's that time of year again - Independence Day (or as most people call it - the 4th of July!)

I like fireworks as much as the next person - but only aerial fireworks like the cities shoot off for the city festivals. (I'm not a fan of those carnival rides though....)

Am I just old and cranky? I only like aerial fireworks and not neighborhood fireworks? Well, yes. I mean - I am old and cranky - but there's a reason why I don't like neighborhood fireworks.

About 15 years ago, Son #2 had been outside playing with friends (as kids do during summer.) I looked out to check on the kids and noticed that the neighborhood was suddenly full of smoke from a forest fire about 15 miles away. So, I quickly called all of the kids to come into the house. 

Son #2 started coughing, so I started giving him Albuterol breathing treatments.

He had already been hospitalized before for asthma (and pneumonia), so I was worried. 

As the night went on, he was still coughing, but not too bad and the treatments seemed to be helping.

Once it was dark, Hubby wanted to light sparklers and other fireworks with the kids. Son #2 didn't seem to be struggling to breath, so I let him go out for a few minutes.

When he came back in, the coughing was worse - and harder. Many of you moms probably know what I mean about the "asthma cough" - it literally hurts your ears to hear them cough.

Anyway, after another breathing treatment, he didn't seem to be improving, so I decided to head to the ER. To cut a long story short, he was instantly taken back to the an ER room and upstairs to the Pediatrics Floor. (Thank you triage nurses - for knowing that my son needed to be seen ahead of someone that needed stitches or a had a broken arm. People who are going to stop breathing always get seen first at the ER!)

After 3 long days in ICU in the Pediatrics Ward, with the "crash cart" outside his room, we were sent home with an oxygen tank. What a scary experience!

The following year? I was scared to let him be outside in the smoke from the fireworks. So, I was  a mean mom and made him watch the fireworks from inside the house. He was one mad kid and let me know how unfair it was!

But it was my job as an asthma mom to protect my son.

Son #2 is in college now, and doesn't seem to be bothered by neighborhood fireworks. We want to enjoy summer and fireworks - but now we go inside the house once it gets too smoky. And we always have our nebulizer and asthma inhaler nearby - just in case.



   

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Losing my voice with asthma

(Shutterstock image)

This falls under the category of strange but true - losing my voice with asthma.

And this happens to be my husband's favorite thing! Ha ha.

When I have a severe asthma attack, or get bronchitis or pneumonia, I lose my voice. It usually happens after a bad coughing spell.

I can't speak above a whisper. 

The first time it happened, I was really surprised. It doesn't seem to last very long -  if I'm sick, it will last for a few days.

This was a problem this spring when I had bronchitis. I couldn't call Asthma Doc's office to make a doctor's appointment, because they wouldn't be able to hear me on the phone.

So, I had to have whisper to daughter Kitty that I needed her to call Hubby. She told him what was happening, then he called Asthma Doc's office to make an appointment for me. Sigh.

If I have a sudden asthma attack and use my inhaler, I can also lost my voice. It will usually last for a few hours. Then, just as suddenly as when I lose my voice, it will come back. My voice will start to crack and then just come back. 

I feel like I should be in an episode of Brady Bunch when Peter goes through puberty and his voice is changing.

It wasn't always this way. 

This just started about 5 years ago. No idea why.

When I tried to look up reasons online, all I could find was a topic about Laryngitis on WebMd.

I don't like it really fits this situation.

Anyone else have problems losing their voice with an illness or sudden asthma attack?


Monday, June 5, 2017

Embarrassed by asthma?




(Photo of the article from Family Circle Magazine)

Do any of you feel like you are embarrassed by asthma?

I read an article in Family Circle Magazine about kids that are embarrassed to use their medication.

The article was talking about how kids won't take their asthma inhalers, check their blood sugar levels, or give themselves insulin for their diabetes.

Why?

Well.....I guess because they don't want to look different. 

Everyone wants to "fit in".
Have your kids felt that way? Most of the times our kids won't tell us even if they DO feel that way. You know, that would mean they would have to talk to us....
But, even adults can feel too embarrassed to use their inhaler in public.
The researcher looked at all of the scientific studies about the stigma about asthma (embarrassment), and how that affects the lives of those with asthma.  (If you want to read his paper, scroll half way down the page and you can download his research paper.)

I used to feel embarrassed to use my inhaler in public.
 But then I decided it was my job to let people see me use my inhaler and realize it's no big deal! After all, I am a Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C), and if I don't want to use my inhaler in public, then what kind of example am I setting?!
So, I use it. 
During meetings at work, during church (yep - right there in the middle of the pew), at the movie theater or during my daughter's dance recital.
Once in a while, I will see someone looking at me. I will look back at them and smile, as if to say, "Don't worry, I got this."

I make sure I use proper inhaler technique too. If people are going to watch me, they better see me use it the right way!

If you want to make sure you are using your inhaler the right way, you can watch the video from the Utah Asthma Program.

And if you feel like you need to use your inhaler - do it! It can be scary and dangerous to wait.
And you can help set a good example for those around you. Let them see that it's okay to have asthma and use your inhaler in public!

And if you want to learn how to help your kids with ANY chronic disease, read the article, "No one Needs To Know I'm Sick". 

You'll be glad you did!