My kids have been asking me to get a dog for as long as I can remember and my answer is always “no!” Though I do love animals, I prefer them from afar. I love seeing an owner play with their dog across the park, or a puppy through a screen on an Instagram video. The reason being, I am allergic to all animals with fur, and it causes me to have an asthma attack when I come into contact with them. Have you ever experienced shortness of breath or difficulty breathing? It is not a comfortable experience. So my tactic is to avoid exposure to allergens that cause me any discomfort. Dogs being one of them. Since asthma affects over 25 million Americans, it is apropos that with allergy season approaching us in May, it is also Asthma Awareness Month. Take time to learn about the things that cause you to have symptoms and make a plan to avoid them or limit your exposure to them.
May is Asthma Awareness Month
The American Lung Association recognizes May as a month to be cognizant of our loved ones dealing with Asthma and May 7, 2019 is World Asthma Day. Asthma is something that I have lived with most of my life. As a child, teen and now adult with asthma, I have had a series of flare ups. Viral respiratory infections and allergies being the main triggers. Symptoms of asthma can be different for everyone. They range from anything from a cough, wheezing and shortness of breath which are caused by tightness of the airways. The good news is that once the signs and symptoms are recognized, asthma can be easily controlled.
My struggle with asthma
As an adult, I am aware of many of the triggers that cause my attacks. Some include, pollen, certain foods, dust, mold and pets. Interestingly, I sometimes have a reaction the day after being exposed to a dog or something else I am allergic to. I call that my allergic asthma. Airplanes cause me the most anxiety, sometimes the person next to me is eating nuts or carrying their furry friend-my worst nightmare.
A look at my asthma action plan
First and foremost, I was diagnosed by my healthcare provider at the early age of 5 years old. Since my allergies and triggers change during different phases of life, I seek out medical care when needed.
As discussed with my doctor, I take a preventative medication daily. An inhaled steroid medication helps to reduce inflammation of my airways. For me, this is critical to keeping my asthma under control.
I carry my reliever medication with me at all times, no matter where I am. I know what shortness of breath feels like and I don’t want to ever be in a situation where I can’t breathe. Rescue medication like my inhaler makes my life easier and I definitely feel more secure with it with me.
I take antihistamines when necessary and prior to being put in an uncontrollable situation. Unfortunately, I have to reduce my contact with the allergy induced triggers. This sometimes means saying, “no” to a dinner party at a friend’s house where I know a dog or cat will be present.
Seeing an allergist helps me to understand which allergies are airborne and during what time. During allergy season, I take allergy medication regularly.
When my kids, kids that I am teaching, fellow teachers and friends are ill, I wash my hands regularly. Their little ahem bug or cough, sometimes turns into a huge breathing difficulty for me. Telling my family and friends about my asthma helps. They understand my neurosis and incessant hand washing and we manage our expectations, when together.
Prior to boarding a plane, I let the attendants know my allergies. This sometimes helps but on occasion, the other passengers are disappointed when they can’t eat the almonds they packed for the flight.
Asthma Awareness Education is key
Awareness is always important. The Lung Association offers a free online course to help better understand and manage triggers and respond to an attack. Whether you need to tell your friends, family or the people on an airplane that you have an allergy that affects your breathing, people should be informed.
Images taken by @laceydaveyphoto
This post is sponsored by the American Lung Association, all opinions are my own.