Copyright 2010-2019. All Rights Reserved

** I do not advertise for companies. If you leave a comment that links to your company, your comment will be deleted**

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Who to call, email or chat with for help?

(Shutterstock image)

Do you ever have questions AFTER you  leave your doctor's office? Or on the weekend, and you just want to ask a few questions?

Your doctor should be your first go to person. I can usually leave a message with my doctor's nurse and she will call me back with the answer to my question.

But maybe you doctor doesn't have a great bedside manner or you want to talk to someone else? 

Enter American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine. It's a free resource that is staffed by Registered Nurses and Registered Respiratory Therapists who can answer questions about "lungs, lung disease and lung health, as well as helping people quit tobacco."

What is their background?

".....rehabilitation, education, acute care, emergency medicine, public health, neonatal care, home care and adult intensive care. Some staff members are addiction counselors who crossed over from drug and alcohol treatment programs to tobacco cessation, and we have staff who are bilingual (Spanish), allowing us to help even more people. Our translation service helps with more than 200 different languages as well."

You can call them at:

1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872)


The staff will research your question and answer back via email.


(I actually tried the "chat online" and couldn't get the page to load, but maybe my computer was just being slow? So good luck if you can get that option to work!)

Of course your doctor should be your first option, since she/he is treating you. But if you want to talk to someone else, this might be worth a try!  



Friday, December 22, 2017

When you're sick after hours

Wouldn't it be nice if those of us with asthma could have a "simple cold" without it going into bronchitis?

Yeah, wishful thinking!

This was me 3 weeks ago. I knew it was coming - Hubby had bronchitis first, then it slowly went through all 3 kids and ended with me. Since I am a germaphobe and extremely careful at washing my hands, not touching my face, and disinfecting everything at home, I thought I had escaped the illness.

No such luck.

I knew I was in trouble one Sunday morning when I woke up and was still struggling to breathe even after I used my nebulizer. I had lost my voice and was also coughing up colored phlegm. I know from my Asthma Action Plan, that doc wants me on prednisone (oral steroid) and an antibiotic when that happens.

But, what to do on a Sunday morning? I had a few options:

  • My asthma specialist After Hours
  • My primary care doctor After Hours
  • Telemedicine (where I Facetime or Skype with a doctor)
  • Urgent Care
  • Emergency Department 

I decided to send a page my primary care doc since he has a better After Hours network. For those of you that are younger  - this is what we used before they had cell phones! You call the After Hours phone number, enter your cell or home phone number, then the pager beeps to alert the doctor to call a patient back at that number.  

Since I had lost my voice, Hubby had to answer my cell phone and explain that I was sick, had asthma, and needed a steroid and antibiotic (according to my Asthma Action Plan.)

Hubby found a 24 hour pharmacy (since my normal pharmacy is closed on Sundays), and Doc called in an antibiotic and steroid.

Since those of us with asthma can't wait until morning when the doctor's office opens, we need to know what to do after hours.

What do any of you do on a Sunday morning or evening when you get sick?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Watching for drug interactions

(Shutterstock image)

This month, I got bronchitis (again!) It had gone through the whole family and I thought I wasn't going to get it because I am a germaphobe and so careful with washing my hands.

But, as soon as the scratchy throat started, I knew I was in for the long haul.

With any medical condition that needs a prescription, it's hard to juggle medications and find one that won't interact with another.

As my cold turned into bronchitis, I knew it was time for an antibiotic and an oral steroid. How did I know? I have an Asthma Action Plan that Asthma Doc filled out for me. 

Asthma Action Plans are like stop lights - green, yellow and red zones. Each zone tells you what to do if you are in that zone. Green means "GO", or you are good and not having symptoms. Yellow means "CAUTION" because you are starting to cough, are short of breathe, wheezing, etc. The Red Zone means "STOP" and call 911 or go to the closest hospital.

I was in the bottom of the yellow zone because I was taking my controller inhaler twice a day, using my nebulizer with albuterol, and was still struggling to breathe. 

You can see that this Asthma Action Plan says "Keep ORAL STEROIDS on hand in case you fall into STEP 3 of the yellow zone or into the red zone." 

Since my steroids had expired, I had to call the doc to call in a prescription. Since I have asthma, and was coughing up colored phlegm, he decided to put me on an antibiotic too.

However, Pharmacist called to say there was a possible drug interaction between the many medications that I take. 

I am SO glad he flagged that as a problem! That's why it's important to always use the same pharmacy.

If you have to use an after hours pharmacy, make sure they know about ALL of the medicines you usually take. My pharmacy has a program that will alert the pharmacist to a drug interaction.

There is also a website you can use, on click on the Drug Interactions Checker. (It's not a substitute for talking to your doctor or pharmacist, but can help in a pinch.) 

I found out that I could have had some VERY serious complications if I had taken the antibiotic that the doc called into the pharmacy. So, doc called in a different medication.

It's taken 2 weeks, and I missed a week of work (and time I could have spent getting ready for Christmas!) but I am on the mend.

Make sure you know what to do if you are in the green, yellow or red zones for asthma. And if you need a new medication, make sure you use your regular pharmacy to check for drug interactions. Or tell the after hours pharmacy about ALL of the medicine you take so they can check for a drug interaction.

If you are already sick, the last thing you need is a serious drug interaction!


Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Epinephrine autoinjector for babies and small children!

(Shutterstock image)

For those of you that have kids with food allergies (or maybe you have them yourself!?) You know how scary it to be to try to eat out at times.

I don't trust anyone! How do I know if they have the same cooking utensils on my chicken that they used on seafood? 

Did they put my chicken on the same area of the grill as the seafood when they cooked it?

Are there desserts that have tree nuts on the tray? If so, Son #2 can't eat ANYTHING on the tray because it is all contaminated!
Whew! It can be tiring to always be on the lookout for food allergies.

If you have babies or younger kids with food allergies, that can be really scary. Because they didn't make epinephrine auto injectors for them - until now!

The needle length and dose of this auto injector is made just for them. 

Kaleo is the same company that makes Auvi-Q, known as "the talking auto injector". It looks very different from other auto injectors (it's about the size of a pack of gum.) And  it will "talk you through" using the device, step by step.

Kind of helpful if you panic during an allergic reaction.

I didn't see a photo of the new Auvi-Q, but its' the 0.1 dose. The dosing for older children and adults is usually 0.15 or .3, so this dosing is much less. 

If you have a baby or small child with food allergies, talk to your doctor and pharmacist about getting the new auto injector. 

It is expected to be available "the first half of 2018". 

Good luck!