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Friday, September 28, 2018

What are you suffering because of asthma?


Is asthma holding you back from the things you would like to do? 

When I am teaching families about asthma, I help them to understand the Rules of 2's.  

Many times, they THINK their asthma is fine. But they're really not controlled. 

The Rules of 2's is from Baylor University in Texas and says:

If you:

  • Have symptoms/need your inhaler more than 2 times per week
  • Wake up due to asthma more than 2 times per month
  • Refill your rescue inhaler more than 2 times per year
They have also added a new measure, "Measure your peak flow at less than two times 10 (20%) from baseline with asthma symptoms?" That sounds a little confusing!


Why make a big deal about your asthma being under control? Well, are you missing out on things because of your asthma? 


Sometimes people may think, "I'm okay, I'm just having a little flare up."

So, another thing I ask families is:

 "Is asthma holding you back?"

Or 

"Are there things you CAN'T do because of your asthma?"

You can think about how often any of these things are happening:
 
  1. Waiting in a crowded emergency room
  2. Having sleepless nights
  3. Missing school or work
  4. Depression
  5. Bullying
  6. Losing a job because you were missing so much work due to asthma
  7. Hospitalizations
These ideas came from a video that a group of Community Health Workers created (along with other asthma education organizations). They wanted to help families see how much asthma is affecting their life. 

Sometimes, if you look at it that way, you may think, "Hmm. I didn't realize how much asthma is controlling my life."

We're all going to have flare ups. I had a crazy winter last year and had bronchitis 4 times! So yes, I was in Urgent care late at night (I knew it couldn't wait until morning.)

You can watch the video and see if you think your life is as good as it can be (with asthma.) It can take a while to find the right medication for your asthma. 

My 3 kids and I all have asthma, yet we are all on different medications. 

You need to find what's right for you.

And if you are missing out on a lot of things in life due to asthma, talk to your doc. You may be able to change your inhaler to a different one that can work better for you.

Life is wonderful! I would like to keep my asthma under control so I can enjoy life!  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Preparing for disasters when you have asthma





(Shutterstock) 

The weather has been a little crazy lately. 

Some parts of the U.S. are dry as a bone and plagued by wildfires and dangerous smoke.

Other areas of the U.S. are being battered by hurricanes, with crazy winds, rain and flooding.

No matter what part of the country you are in, how do you prepare when you have asthma?
I have been watching the national news stories on TV, showing empty shelves at the grocery store and long lines at the gas stations. 
Like my late father-in-law always used to say, "It costs just as much to fill up the top half of the gas tank as it does the bottom half!"
So, I try not to wait until my gas tank is on "empty" before I fill up. In fact, I know people that will fill up when their tank gets to the 1/2 way point.  

Allergy & Asthma Network has a list of things to help. 

  • Stay on your schedule for taking medicine (it's easy to miss a dose, but can cause problems if you do)
  • Medications - quick relief inhaler (Albuterol), daily controller inhaler (if you use one) and 2 epinephrine auto injectors (if you need those.)
  • Nebulizer - some need power and others run on batteries. I have an adapter so I can run my nebulizer from my car (it plugs into the cigarette lighter.) Find out what your nebulizer needs.
  • Bottled water, allergy free food (if you have food allergies) and cash to buy supplies  
  • Medical records and refill information - if your medicine is lost, it may help in getting refills. Sometimes, you may need to pay cash for a refill if it's "too soon" for your insurance to refill it. But don't go without your medicine!
  • N95 mask - can help protect your lungs 
  • Medical alert bracelet/tag - this will help rescuers to know if you have asthma, food allergies, diabetes, etc
  • Meeting place - where can you go if you need to evacuate? Do you have another family member's house you can go to? Church? School? If family members are split up, they will know where to meet. 
American Red Cross also has an Emergency Preparedness Checklist  
Remember to also keep calm (easier said than done - I know!) Since strong emotions are an asthma trigger, you could end up with an asthma attack on top of the stress of a natural disaster. 
Watch out for:
  • Crying
  • Fear
  • Anger  
  • Yelling
  • Laughter
  • Excitement

The weather can really surprise me sometimes, and it can catch you off guard. Make sure you are prepared for any sort of disaster that may come your way.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Nose spray for anaphylaxis?

(https://www.empr.com/drugs-in-the-pipeline/epinephrine-nasal-spray-anaphylaxis-treatment-intranasal-bioavailability/article/792360/)

I was really excited to see a story on the Allergy & Asthma Facebook page about a nose spray for anaphylaxis.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has given "Fast Track designation" to a Epinephrine Nasal Spray, which could be used to treat anaphylaxis.

The Fast Track is: 

"....a process designed to facilitate the development, and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need. The purpose is to get important new drugs to the patient earlier. Fast Track addresses a broad range of serious conditions."

How do they decide if something is "serious"? It depends on if the FDA feels that the drug will:

 "have an impact on such factors as survival, day-to-day functioning, or the likelihood that the condition, if left untreated, will progress from a less severe condition to a more serious one."

For those of you with food allergies, you know that if "left untreated", our reaction will progress to a "serious condition". 

Son #2 and I have both had anaphylaxis in the last week due to cross contamination. And I would really rather use a nose spray any day over my epinephrine auto injector. 

It's SO frustrating. We always check our food, and as careful as we are, we may not know that someone has contaminated our food until we start to experience symptoms. Then we panic and wonder what happened?!

Someone must have used the same cutting board/knife/cookie tray etc for all of the food prepared.

It's frustrating that when we talk to the restaurant manager, and they say, "Really? Like that's a thing? Like it really can make you sick?"

I want to punch them!  Hard.

Yes, it can make me sick. And even kill me. 

Unless someone has a food allergy, they just don't understand how serious it is. So, we carry epinephrine auto injectors to protect ourselves.

And hopefully soon, we will be carrying a nose spray that does the same thing!