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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

When to keep kids home from school

 (shutterstock image)

I was listening to the radio on my commute to work and heard the 2 male hosts discussing when it was okay to let their kids stay home from school,  and how they would treat them.

They had opposite views! 

Host A said that he would send his kids to school if they were sick (I wanted to reach through the radio and strangle him....) but if they had to stay home, they had to stay in bed and not have any electronics, Netflix, etc. He said he felt like his kids were "faking it."

Host B said he would keep his kids home if they were sick (thank you!) and to help them feel better, he  would stop and get ice cream, and shoot off confetti cannons. I like his view MUCH better!

As mom to 3 grown kids with asthma, my kids missed a LOT of school when they were little.

How do you know if you should send them? I found a blog from Dr. Chad Hayes called "Too Sick for School? Here's Your Guide"

He covers 25 different illnesses, including asthma, vomiting, rashes, pink eye, etc. Here's what he says about asthma:

"Children with asthma have a lot of different triggers—from allergen exposures to viral infections, exercise, and a lot more. There’s no concern about spreading this to other children (except maybe the cold that kicked it off), so it really depends on the child’s symptoms. If they are having difficulty breathing, or if they need treatments so frequently that the school or daycare can’t provide them, keep them at home. But remember, missing school frequently due to asthma is a sign that it’s not well-controlled."

For me, if my kids were in the Yellow Zone of their Asthma Action Plan, they would stay home. If I knew they were going to need breathing treatments on the nebulizer every 4-6 hours, I would want to keep my eye on them at home. My kids would usually go from bad to worse VERY quickly (and that's why we had 12 hospitalizations.)

It used to drive me crazy when parents would send their kids to school when they were sick. I don't want my kids around someone else who has a fever or is throwing up. Don't share the misery! There were many parents who KNEW their kids were sick and throwing up, but sent them to school anyway. Then it just spreads through the whole classroom, and then to our families.

It's also very easy for a simple cold to turn to pneumonia or bronchitis when you have asthma. And that would mean another hospitalization for my kids.

And when my kids were discharged from the hospital, Asthma Doc would tell me to keep the kids home from school for a week. It takes a while for their lungs to bounce back and he would stress that their bodies need to heal.

Talk to your doc to see what he or she recommends, so you're not infecting the rest of the classroom. 

As for me, when someone is at home sick, they get soup, ice cream, Netflix - and anything else they want. Our lungs work hard with asthma and we deserve a rest! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


What's new with QVAR? If you are using QVAR now, you know that it's just like other inhalers, it uses a propellant to mix with the medicine and makes a nice little spray for you to inhale.

With the new QVAR, it's "breathe actuated". What does that mean?

If you have ever taken Advair, Breo, Anora Ellipta or Utibron Neohaler, you know that you usually click the inhaler device to the side, which will load a dose of the powdered medicine, and then you have to inhale it. 

With the QVAR RediHaler, it's the same idea - except that it's shaped to LOOK like a regular inhaler (which could be confusing for a lot of people).

 I haven't seen one in person yet, but it looks like it works like the ProAir RespiClick. With that rescue inhaler, you will remove the cap - which will click and load the dose, and then you inhale it. It doesn't have a propellant, so you will have to work a little harder to inhale the medicine. 

(For me, that's the hard part of the ProAir RespiClick. If I am having an asthma attack,  I CAN'T inhale very well, so I have a hard time using the ProAir RespiClick and will have to use my nebulizer instead.) But some people like it - so find what YOU like!

The QVAR RediHaler is a controller inhaler, which means you will take it every day. So, you should be able to take it every morning (or every morning and every night) - depending on what your doctor prescribes and easily inhale the medicine.

The reason they are starting to make the "breathe actuated" inhalers is to try to help people use their inhalers the right way. I STILL use a spacer with my inhaler. I'm not very coordinated (I can't walk and chew gum at the same time....) so I use a spacer to make sure I'm getting all of the medicine into my lungs.

Want to see if you are using your inhaler the right way? Watch this video, "Using Your Inhaler with a Spacer or Holding Chamber Device." 

So if you are one of those people who doesn't like to use a spacer with your inhaler, the new QVAR RediHaler might be an option for you. I don't really care what inhaler people use, as long as they USE it every day! (That's why they call them controller inhalers - because they control the swelling in your lungs. But you have to take it EVERY day!)

Asthma medicines are always changing, so thought I would share anything new with my readers. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any medicine you want to change!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New York passes bill to protect renters!

(Shutterstock image)

Hats off to New York City for protecting those with asthma!

The New York City Council passed The Asthma Free Housing Act, Intro 385.

What does the bill do?

  • prioritize prevention measures in homes of susceptible persons – those with diagnosed asthma, COPD, or lung cancer;

  • require landlords to inspect for Indoor Allergen Hazards and correct them and their causes using approved methods;

  • require NYC Housing and Preservation Department (HPD) to inspect for Indoor Allergen Hazards and their causes, and issue appropriate violations;

  • require HPD to correct violations for Indoor Allergen Hazards where Landlords fail to do so promptly; 

  • create a system for physician referrals for housing inspections by the City for patients with asthma; and

  • codify safe and effective work practices for remediation of mold hazards.

What does your house or apartment have to do with your asthma? A LOT! There are many asthma triggers in a home or apartment that can make asthma worse. 

It doesn't take much to make our lungs cranky and cause an asthma attack. And if you are living in an apartment and breathing in mold spores, cockroach droppings, mice droppings and tobacco smoke, your lungs are going to let you know that they are not happy. 
Want proof that it's affecting renters? The national average for asthma in children is 1 in 11. In some areas of New York City with low-incomes, the rates are 1 in 4 kids.

As a mom with asthma who has 3 kids with asthma, I know that means lots of doctor visits, ER visits, medications and missed school days.

Why pass a bill to protect renters?

Well, you would think most landlords would do the right thing, right? Apparently not! As a former landlord, we would respond immediately if there was a problem with an apartment. We would tell our renters to let us know RIGHT AWAY if something was leaking. The faster we fixed it, the less damage there would be. 

Sometimes, they would call us and say that something had been leaking for months. It would take us a lot longer and be a lot more expensive for us to fix the problem.

We would ask why they didn't call sooner, and would gently remind them to let us know right away if something was wrong so we could quickly fix it.

They would tell us that other landlords would raise their rent or evict them if they asked for a repair.

This is frustrating for me that people don't do the right thing! But apparently we are in the minority of actually wanting our renters to have a nice, clean place to live. 

So, that means passing bills in some cities. 

Thank you New York City for protecting your renters!      


Monday, February 5, 2018

Therapy peacocks....oh puhleeze!

I saw something on the news last week that I thought was surely a publicity stunt - a "performance artist" who wanted to bring her peacock on the airplane.
Yes, you read that right - a peacock! It seems like there is a big increase in people trying to bring "comfort animals" on airplanes. The thing that is frustrating about this situation is that United Airlines told her 3 different times that she could NOT bring the peacock  - but she came to the airport with it anyway.
Oh puhleeze!
United Airlines since changed it's policy so owners have to 'confirm that the animal can behave in public and that it's up to date on it's shots.'
Here's a quote from a CBS News story:

"United has seen a 75 percent year-over-year increase in customers bringing emotional support animals onboard and has experienced a significant increase in onboard incidents involving these animals," the airline said in a statement. "We understand that other carriers have seen similar trends. The Department of Transportation's rules regarding emotional support animals are not working as they were intended, and we need to change our approach in order to ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience for all of our customers."

Speaking of a "pleasant travel experience, " how do those of us with allergies and asthma protect ourselves on a plane? We have rights too you know!

I REALLY don't want to sit next to someone's dog, cat, etc on a long flight. Especially if they are petting their comfort animal or service animal, which will release dog and cat hair (and dander into the air.) 

I would hate to be trapped next to an animal and have allergies set off an asthma attack.  I have had asthma attacks before from people's dogs and cats, but could at least leave their house or yard and get away from the animal. But, being stuck on a plane next to one? Yikes! 

The New York Times shares a horrible story about a family kicked off a plane because their son was allergic to dogs.

George Hobica, founder of says:

“I would say almost every plane has had a dog in the last month, and they’re not deep cleaned very often. You still have dander, and if you’re highly allergic you may react to it"

 From now on, I'll be taking allergy medicine BEFORE my flight - just in case. And I always have my inhaler with me on board the flight. 

If I am seated next to someone with a "comfort animal" or "service animal", I will ask to be re-seated, as far as possible from the animal!

I have no problem with people that need a comfort animal or service animal, I just can't sit next to one on a flight. 

I have a rights too - the right to be able to breath on a flight and not coughing so hard from an asthma attack that I throw up. That would make for a fun flight...