There has been a lot in the news lately about people not taking their asthma seriously. I have to put my hands up and say I probably am one of those statistics. Is it really dangerous and I seriously need to get my act together or is it a lot of hype about nothing?
Growing up it felt like everyone in my family had asthma and it was no big deal. In fact I was one of the lucky ones and did not really have attacks. I remember my cousins having this circular disks with tablets in, and that it could be dangerous for them at night. All it meant for me is that I lost my breath when I ran (a good excuse for being no good at sports day).
I have never been any good at remembering to use my inhaler and did not even used to carry one around with me. For me this has only been a problem once when I was dancing at a Festival and overdid it. Luckily there were ambulances on site and I had an oxygen mask put straight on. All I remember is them constantly asking everyone if I had done any drugs! This has been the only time my asthma has scared me. Generally a blue (salbutamol) inhaler has always done the trick. I do get tired a lot and I still cannot run.
I started smoking at a frightfully young age and my peak expiratory flow was around 220. This is an objective measure of how well the lungs are working and mine should have been around 410. Before we got married my husband was really concerned about the fact I smoked and that it was risking me cutting short our time together. It has been almost 11 years since I have given up smoking and I have felt a real difference.
Luckily our doctors surgery take asthma seriously and keep sending out letters telling you to see the asthma nurse until you actually make an appointment. One of the problems I have with it is that I do not see myself as struggling and I have to pay for prescriptions (why contraception is free but not inhalers I will never fully understand). I was also really pleased that my peak flow had gone up to 330. I did not know how low this was still until a conversation with friends – as for my age and height it should be just under 440! This reading was also taken on a good day when I did not have a cold. I am meant to use a brown inhaler twice a day and a blue when needed. So the nurse helped me cut back on costs by giving me a white one that does both. I am still not good at using it regularly but keep it in my coat pocket and am trying.
My oldest three children have been lucky and never struggled with their chests. My youngest, however, has been really susceptible. Constantly being told he was “too young” to be diagnosed as having asthma in one year he ended up with 6 out of 12 months resulting him being on antibiotics, including having to be hospitalised and having them via intravenous drip. He even knew exactly what to do with the chest x-ray. He has all manner of different ones. He is now having 2 brown puffs every day and night ok I am a shit parent and forget because I am one of those who do not take it seriously enough. The nurse has suggested he do it himself and he remembered for like the first day. I only seem to be able to remember when he is ill. I know this is terrible and I have even put them out in the kitchen to remind myself. Hopefully as he ages he will be more independent and do it himself.
Does anyone have any advice on how I can be better at remembering to use the inhalers? Maybe someone would like to do me a daily tweet and say have you done it!