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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Asthma Mom is sick, now what?

(Shutterstock image)

Well, as though this year wasn't bad enough, I am sick with bronchitis (again) - 4th time since November.

What's going on? Well, I've been traveling - and airplanes and airports are some of the germiest places you can be.

For anyone who regularly reads my blog, you know that I am a germaphobe. However, my husband (who likes to come along on my work trips if I'm going to a cool city) isn't a germaphobe.

I can easily go through a whole package of antibacterial hand wipes during a 4 day trip. That nasty tray on the airplane? It's getting wiped down before I have my pretzels and Coke!

Think it's not that dirty? CNN has a slide show called "Journeys with Germs" What are the dirtiest things on the airplane?"  You might be surprised!  

Think of everything else you touch - door knobs, elevator buttons, the TV remote in the hotel. 

I use the antibacterial wipes like a mad woman. And follow it up with hand sanitizer.

The Hubby? Not so much. 

Even though I gave him a travel pack of wipes and practically begged him to slip them in his pocket and use them while he was sight seeing.

Did it happen? Nope. 

This is the 4th trip we have had, and this is the 4th time he has become sick from out trip. So he coughs and sneezes and doesn't wash his hands, and then I get sick.

So, what happens when the Mom is sick? Well, it's almost comical - watching my family stumbling around the kitchen, opening cupboards, the fridge and freezer - like a magical meal will just appear! Not while Mom is sick.

They are a little clueless when it comes to Mom being sick. Usually, I check to see if the kids need a cold washcloth for their forehead. Popsicles? Snack? Movie to watch? 

Nobody checks on me when I'm sick.

 So, I just pull the nebulizer out and put it close to me so I can have a breathing treatment while I'm propped up on the couch. I pile up my cough drops, prescription cough medicine, box of tissues and throat lozenges. Then I keep a note pad handy so I can write down what time I have each medicine (so I know when I can have the next dose.) 

I tend to get a little fuzzy headed when I'm sick, so it's better for me to write down when I take my meds so I don't forget any of them or take them at the wrong time.

I can image all of you moms reading this and laughing. Because you get it. Our families can win and complain when they're sick and we take care of them. 

But no one takes care of mom when we are sick.

So good luck to all of the rest of you moms out there! 



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

2018 Spring Allergy Capitals

 (Shutterstock image)

If you are having a miserable time this spring, then join the club! 

Want to know where your city ranks? Are they one of the top 2018 Allergy Capitals?

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) just released their Allergy Capitals Spring 2018. They rank the 100 largest American cities every years.

The Hubby and I and all 3 kids have allergies, and we are miserable all spring and summer. In fact, at 11:30 last night, 2 of my kids were in a panic because they were out of their allergy medicine!
They are NOT going to have a fun day today....

Where does YOUR city rank for allergies?

AAFA says:


"The top five most challenging places to live with spring allergies this year are:"

"1. McAllen, Texas
2. Louisville, Kentucky   
3. Jackson, Mississippi
4. Memphis, Tennessee
5. San Antonio, Texas"
What do they look at when deciding which cities make the list?  

  • Allergy medication usage (we personally keep the warehouse stores in business by buying allergy medicine in bulk!)
  • Pollen and mold counts
  • Availability of board-certified allergists
So, what do you do if you're miserable? Funny thing you should ask! AAFA has a whole list of things that can help:

  • Limit your outdoor activities
  • Keep your windows closed
  • Use central air conditioning with air filtration
  • Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors
  • Wear a hat to cover your hair
  • Take a shower and shampoo your hair before going to bed to remove pollen from your hair and skin
  • Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities
  • Dry your laundry in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line
  • Limit close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors
  • Wipe pets off with a towel before they enter your home
  • Remove your shoes before entering your home
  • Wash your bedding in hot, soapy water once a week
  • Rinse the inside of your nose with a nasal rinse to flush out and remove pollens you have inhaled into your nasal passages
  • Use a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® air cleaner (portable or whole house/HVAC)

 If you try all of those things and are still struggling with allergies, you can ask your doc about allergy shots (immunotherapy.)

All 3 of my kids completed 5 years of allergy shots. Their allergies are still there, just not as bad now.

Happy spring - and stock up on tissues! 
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Advocating for asthma!


Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Allergy & Asthma Network Asthma Blogger Summit. Thanks Tonya and AAN! Who is Allergy & Asthma Network?


"Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading nonprofit organization whose mission is to end the needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions through outreach, education, advocacy and research."
A big part of what they work on is advocacy. What is advocacy? It's talking to your legislators about important topics for allergies and asthma.

As you can see from the slide, there are several things Allergy & Asthma Network are working on:

  • Safe, effective and affordable medication
  • Affordable and high-quality healthcare and insurance coverage
  • Nurses in all K-12 public schools
  • Appropriate funding for allergy & asthma health and research programs
  • Access to innovative therapies and technologies to advance medical treatment
  • Mitigate environmental health hazards and address climate change
  • End health disparities and move toward greater health equity 
 
I was able to meet with my legislators during Allergy & Asthma Day on Capitol Hill (AADCH). It wasn't as scary as it sounds. I'm not a lobbyist (they are usually paid to meet with ask for people and try to convince members of congress to support their interests.)
 
With advocacy, we talk to our legislators and educate about problems (it's hard for us when the school nurse isn't there to help my child when they have an asthma attack or allergic reaction to a food because the school nurses oversee 5-9 schools, it's important to have stock asthma inhalers in schools to treat students who forget theirs or have an asthma attack for the first time, it would be VERY helpful to have epinephrine autoinjectors in airplane medical kits, etc.) 

Many families go and share stories about how their life is impacted by allergies or asthma. It makes it real for the legislators to see what their constituents are dealing with.
 
In fact, did you know that education and advocacy helped get laws passed in all 50 states that allow kids to carry their asthma inhalers in school? Since schools are drug free zones, students were not able to carry their inhalers with them. Now they can (check with your state, you usually need to fill out a form each school year.)
 
The legislators have so many different problems that they are working on, that it helps when their constituents talk to them and educate them about different issues. I educate about allergies and asthma all day long, every day! They affect my life and my kids. So, it's easy to talk to my legislators. 
 

Want to get involved? You can! Contact Charmayne Anderson at 1-800-878-4403 or CAnderson@AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org.
 
You can help make a difference!  
 
 

 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Ah, spring time and allergies!



It's spring and my nose knows it! You can hear LOTS of sneezing going on at my house right now.

In fact, we buy allergy medicine and tissues in bulk. Hello warehouse club, we are headed your way!

My husband and I passed on our allergies to all 3 kids, so we are all miserable together in the spring and summer. Actually, we are miserable year round with allergies, but spring and summer are the worst. 

And nice mom that I am, I also passed along my asthma to all 3 kids too! So it's fun with allergies AND asthma at our house.

The funny thing about it though is that all of us prefer different medicines to treat our allergies and asthma.

Daughter Kitty likes one allergy pill, while her brothers each like a different brand of pill. And Hubby and I both like different allergy nose sprays. 

It's important that you need to find what's right for you and your body.

We have all had LOTS of visits with Asthma Doc, and he has recommended that each of us try different allergy nose sprays and pills. And he always asks for our feedback. Did it work? Did we like it? Why or why not? If we didn't like it, he would advise us to take a different brand. 

Make sure you talk to YOUR doc before you try a new medicine or change one. Tell him why you like or don't like a certain allergy medicine or nose spray.

Kitty and Son #2 don't like allergy nose spray because they get a bloody nose with it. But Hubby and I both use allergy nose spray and DON'T get bloody noses. 
Go figure.

Asthma Doc has also told us a few other things that we use to help with allergies:

  • Keep the doors and windows closed in the house (this keeps the pollen outside)
  • Keep the windows up in the car and use air conditioning (also keeps the pollen out)
  • Use Central Air instead of Swamp Coolers (Swamp/Evaporative Coolers allow pollen into the home and also increase the humidity level. They can also leak, which can cause mold problems)
  • Remove your shoes when you enter the home (store them in a basket or shelf - this keeps pollen, dirt and grime outside.)
  • Shower before you go to bed at night (this removes the pollen from your hair and skin)
  • Wash your sheets weekly in hot water (so, you shower and have a clean body -  then jump into a clean bed with clean sheets. It helps us sleep MUCH better.)
  • Keep your bedroom window closed at night (letting in the evening breeze will also let in pollen)


If you are doing everything you can to avoid the pollen and other allergies, are taking allergy medicine, but are still miserable, it may be time to talk to your doc about allergy shots (immunotherapy.)

Allergy shots are usually covered by insurance and take 3-5 years to complete. So, you need to be committed to them. Read the link above to see how they work. 

And make sure you ALWAYS wait 30 minutes after allergy shots. They tell you to do that just in case you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis.)

It can and does happen after allergy shots. All 3 kids had allergy shots, yet only one had anaphylaxis. And believe me - I never want to see that again as long as I live. Talk about scary!

So, find out what's right for you. Allergy pills? Allergy nose spray? Allergy shots?

Talk to your doc so you can find a way to enjoy spring and summer. 

Now pardon me while I go find my box of tissues. 

Achoo!