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January to-do list – asthma and allergy version!

I have no idea how more than half of January has already gone by! What's on your ?

I've already had to update my insurance with the medical center and the pharmacy.

I am dealing with the addition of cold air combined with my exercise induced asthma when riding my bike. Ugh! Just means really taking it slow to start!

And I need to ask dh if he's checked the filter in the furnace to see if it needs to be replaced. The rain is kicking up the mold outside and it's definitely affecting my indoor air! And not in a good way!

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  • Marie E Natzke

    Keeping the bedroom clean Keeping The floors in the rest of the house clean. Also to keep air purifier filters clean as well

  • Pljohns

    Just trying to do anything I can to keep myself at more of a constant temp-make sure the inside isn't any warmer than necessary and I have a good transition point from the warm house to the car;

  • Gloria

    Hi everyone. I know I have been scarce lately. Since I retired, I don’t know how I ever had the time to work! Last week I went to Flagstaff with some old friends. Had a great time and stayed in a very nice hotel. When I do that, I always check out their bedding trends. What they did there was they did away with the comforter and covered the bed with a good quality sheet. Then they put a little throw at the foot of the bed. So I just got a new set of 1000 thread count sheets (Wamsutta from eBay) and I did likewise.

    I really like this idea because it is much easier to keep clean. Less pet and human dander. All you have to do is wash that top sheet to freshen up! It looks very clean and up-to-date.

  • Marie E Natzke

    Hi Gloria,

    I've been doing that myself for the last couple of years because of my arthritis. I would get twisted in the blankets and it would hurt my back. So I use a fleece blanket that just covers me. No top sheet just the fitted sheet. Hope you had a good trip.

  • Shea

    Ive been to Flagstaff–it was the first place I ever skiied… It was beautiful there. Did altitude affect your asthma at all? (I havent been to a high altitude since getting asthma/churg-strauss syndrome.)

    Every now and again I let my lizards roam around the house. They are all desert lizards and like to find little "caves" to hide in. Then Tommy and I look for them–like a game of hide and seek. One–Cleopatra–was very well-hidden in a new hiding spot (shes always been the sneaker of the bunch!) So nooowwwww I know of ALL the crevices on the house that need to be cleaned!!! ( I did find her, in a tiny crack under a speaker). I havent gone back and cleaned yet, but now that I know where the dust is… I have to get inthere and pretend Im Elmer Fudd and go after those dust bunnies!!!

    Im also overdue on washing the bedding and curtains. 

    But, on a plus side, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a portable nebulizer online. The pari trek one with the battery. I feel comforted just knowing its on its way. My old neb is 6 years old now and I need it twice a day at least and … Im just thankful Ive got another on its way. (Ive got a small day trip planned to Disneys Animal Kingdom with my son and parents) and it is very soon, Ill be gone from very early to very late, so that trip is what pushed me to order it. 

  • Pljohns

    Shea-you will LOVE that pari-I have it and have had it for years (mine was 6 years old and finally just recently ordered a new one).  I've never had a problem with it and LOVE the fact that I can wonder anywhere with it because of the battery.  

  • Gloria

    Very good question about altitude, Shea. Previously I required oxygen when I went there. But since I retired on September 1 of last year, my lungs have been healing. I found that I was fine there! I am so happy about that. We walked around town and I did not get light-headed, as I have in the past.

    I have had a few asthma attacks in the last couple of weeks, all attributable to the demon fragrance. I have had to use my rescue inhaler. But since retiring, I can mostly avoid that terrible trigger. 

    I have no allergies that show up with testing. As my allergist confirmed, the human body (animal as well) has developed allergic respose for environmental irritants to which our species has been exposed. Often these irritants are and have been ubiquitous historically. I believe that the onslaught of fragrance is fairly new and we have not evolved to produce a measurable immune response. Anyway, fragrance is a killer for me; and I can’t express how happy I am to now be able to avoid it! 

    Although testing showed that I have no alleries, I did get a good HEPA air purifier (Coway), I vaccuum my house frequently and do what I can to help my poor, recovering lungs. People who see me, including my PCP, tell me how much better I look now that I am not having daily asthma attacks. I also walk or ride my bike every day.

    Oh, also, Shea, I love your lizards!

  • LK

    I realized after reading several posts about portable nebulizers, I only have one nebulizer and it isn't portable.  Thankfully, don't need to use it too often, but I figure If I have a backup nebulizer that's portable it would use batteries so it would work if the power goes out or some other act of nature.

  • K8sMom2002

    @Gloria, so glad you've been doing better — hate that you've had some perfume assaults lately. What a great idea about the bed! I've been thinking about buying a duvet cover so that I can wash at least the outside of our comforter more often. 

    Shea, you and me both about those dust bunnies! Where do they COME from?? 

    Lisa, I think the back up neb is a great idea! We were out of power earlier this week … it makes you think about . I do try, and unfortunately between hurricane scares and cold weather, I've had way too much practice lately.

  • Pljohns

    I tend to be a bit OCD about making sure I have access to my nebs even without power-I have 2 with the battery pack that I keep charged, a car adapter for them both for the lighter plug, the one in my purse is totally battery powered (AAA's) and I always have extra batteries in the case with it.  I can't use inhalers at all so I have to have my neb.  I've got to 2 ol' Pari desk top units that I use when I'm nebbing like I am now-the battery ones are just not meant for that kind of load, but I wouldn't take anything for the battery pack when I'm not having issues.

  • Megan Roberts

    Hey @Shea, I expected altitude would be really hard on my asthma (during exertion in particular), but oddly it was not triggering, for me at least. I will say that during exertion I do get shortness of breath a bit faster and it does take longer for my heart rate to come down afterwards. But for me it didn't trigger asthma symptoms or closing of my airways. I expected the worst and was pleasantly surprised. 

    I love that you have free range lizards.

    @Pljohns love that you have the portable nebs ready to go — and @LK that you're now thinking of planning ahead for that too!

    @Kathy P wishing you solidly good breathing during those cold air bike rides. Man do I feel your pain. The wind in addition to the cold makes it especially hard for me running — and as a cyclist you definitely have more wind to contend with! 

    @Gloria great advice on the reduced allergen bed coverings!

  • Shea

    Im glad to see that the altitude is not too big of a trigger for those who replied. I managed to get the dust bunnies all vacuumed up, and did most of my to-do list for January. I cancelled out Animal Kingdom trip until a later date while this flu is going around–Its just a high volume, high traffic, dense place so I figured it was best to reschedule. I tested my neb out–turns out I did not order the pari trek… I just had originally typed that in but ordered a lower-priced neb thinking it was the pari.. It is a DeVilbiss Traveler Portable Neb. It came with a rechargeabke battery, power cord/charger, and a reusable mouthpiece and tube, and some extra pieces like extra tubing, a mouthpiece that is good for a month of use, and two face masks (child and adult size) and a carrying case that looks like a camera bag. It takes longer than my regular neb but Im glad I have it as a backup and for longer day trips…. There are many times in the past when having one of these eould come in handy. @Gloria well that is great that you do not have allergies… Allergies are my biggest trigger and it is a paon bc it affects more than just my lungs. But since I have had this disease perfumes are also a trigger so I get ya on the difficulty managing that! Im glad you have been healing and able to do more since you retired, I love hearing that!

  • Gloria

    Sounds like a good move, Shea, to limit your exposure to crowds. I keep reading about flu epidemic. I just read something about an hour ago on the CDC Facebook page. I got my Flu shot and my second pneumonia vaccine a little while back, but I would be happy to limit my exposure too.

    Funny (or not) story about dust bunnies…A couple of years ago I decided to do a really thorough cleaning under my bed. I got under there with the vaccuum extension and a flashlight. As I was vacuuming, I felt a sharp pain just above my elbow on the outside of my arm. I thought maybe I pulled a muscle, but I kept going with my cleaning. My arm intermittantly hurt for about a week. So one night the pain woke me up. It was dark, but when I touched the inside of my elbow, I felt something sharp! I didn’t want to turn on the light! I pulled this thing out and it was a long beading needle! I was in shock! I must have sat there on my bed for a couple of hours with my mind moving at about 1/3 speed trying to decide what I should do. Finally I drove myself down to the ER. I had a raging infection in my arm, so I had to take antibiotics, but thankfully, the needle went all the way through my arm without causing any other damage.

    Moral of the story…NEVER vaccuum under the bed! (Not really, just be careful)

  • Megan Roberts

    That is a horrifying story, @Gloria, and one I'm going to use to try and get out of vacuuming dusty dark places ever again!   Honestly though, you had that in your arm for a WEEK?!  WOW. Glad your arm recovered.

    @Shea I agree with Gloria, super good idea to stay out of big public crowds right now, especially ones where people may be bumping into you and touching the same surfaces all day. Glad you got the portable neb unit order straightened out. 

  • Gloria

    I just read that the efficacy of the flu shot this year in the USA is about 30%. More reason to stay away from crowds and wash my hands frequently.

  • Pljohns

    They must have bumped it-around here they are saying 10%-20% at best.  I'm staying away from any public places or crowds and wearing my mask all the time-washing hands, hand sanitizer and anything else I can do.  

  • K8sMom2002

    Gloria, while this year's flu shot isn't as good a "match" to the virus that causes flu as it has been in years past, my sister's doctor has pointed out to her that her flu is most likely not going to be as severe because she did get the flu shot. 

    We were all so careful — we all quizzed each other before we headed to my dad's for his birthday dinner on Sunday. My sister is a school teacher, and so many of her kids have been sick with the flu — and most of them didn't get a flu shot. 

    She was fine that Sunday afternoon, and then Sunday evening when she went home, she felt exhausted. Went to bed, got up sick, wound up going to the doctor, and sure enough, testing positive for Influenza A. 

    So glad I crossed off getting a flu shot from my to-do list last year!

  • Gloria

    K8SMOM, you may remember that I acquired asthma from a thoughtless coworker coming in sick with bronchitis when she had been to the emergency room the night before. Had I known then what I know now, I would have just left and taken the day off. I could not get a flu shot due to my Transverse Myelitis. After that  exposure I became very ill with bronchitis that left me with asthma, I went to my neurologist because I needed his clearance to get the vax. Now I get it every year. I have also gotten two pneumonia vax doses. 

    Due to my age and having asthma, the risks of not getting vaccinated far outweigh the neurological risks I could incur. The only thing my neurologist told not to get is the Herpes Zoster vaccine. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I agree! I feel so awful for my sister. She got her flu shot, and yet she was still exposed to all manner of the flu virus due to her students. But she loves teaching. 

    Another problem for her is that many of her students' parents simply can't get off work to care for their kids. Their companies frown on them for taking off work, and their bosses tend to think that perfect attendance, even if you're sick as a dog, shows commitment to the job. 

    Thoughtless people who CAN get off work but don't … now that just makes me frustrated!

    Some schools have had to close due to the flu. 

  • Gloria

    When I was in management, if a person in my group of 13 came in sick, I would send him/her home. Better to loose one person for a week than to go through all of the people who reported to me.

  • K8sMom2002

    That was VERY wise, Gloria!

    How's everyone's to-do lists coming along? It's the last day of January!

    @LK, were you ever able to find you a portable neb?

    @Shea, good thinking on testing out your neb during a non-emergency time so you could see how it worked. Did you ever conquer your dust bunnies? You're so good about cleaning that I'm thinking dust bunnies wouldn't ever dream of lurking under your bed!

    I looked at some duvet covers, but figured my finances and decided to wait. I've had to pay out a LOT this month — DD's prom dress, our property taxes, a big fee for some testing that DD will need done that I had to pay for in advance. So I'm going to wait. But I have it still on my to-do list. 

    I may try to make my own duvet cover out of a couple of queen-sized sheets — but that might wind up being just as expensive as an already-made cover.

  • LK

    Yes, it just arrived today!  Going to read the instructions and see how it works.  Haven't needed to use it yet, but just having it makes me feel more prepared.  Thanks for asking, Cynthia!

  • Pljohns

    LK-what kind of neb did you end up getting?  I forgot to boil all of my mouthpieces over the weekend so did that last night. As tired as I was, I kept checking on them to make sure there was still water in the pan or I would have melted them!

  • LK

    Lynn, that shows what fortitude you have with all you have going on that you can keep an eye on the pan of boiling water!  

    I got the Pari Trek S portable nebulizer.  Everything fits in a handy carrying bag with an adjustable shoulder strap.  Haven't tried it yet but it looks sturdy.

  • Pljohns

    That is a WONDERFUL neb-I have 3 of them (one REALLY old one, a new replacement one and it's the one I keep in the car).  I've been super pleased with them and love that it gives me the ability to move doing my daily nebs.  When I'm not doing all of these extra nebs, the trek S is my main neb just for the ability to move about and put clothes away etc. while I neb.  They have a medicine cup/mouthpiece that is specifically for when you're having problems-it makes the meds turn into much smaller particles so they can get deeper into your lungs.  I only use that one when I'm really sick but the one that comes with it (blue topped one) does a super job.

  • LK

    Can't believe I never thought to have a battery operated/portable nebulizer before!  Good to hear that this model is a nice one to use. 

    Interesting about using a different mouthpiece.  Thanks for telling me about it!  I'll have to look at it.  I think two different ones came with it.

  • Gloria

    LK and PLJohns, thank you for letting the rest of us know what portable nebulizer is good. I really helps when you are buying asthmas items to get a good referral.

  • Pljohns

    I can't say enough good about the trekS or the table top Pari's.  I'm not sure how I picked them to start with but they are amazing.  I had issues with one of the battery packs but apparently they were having quality control issues with the manufacturer-anyway, they sent me a new one, it was bad-took like 3 tries but they kept sending me new ones until they got a good batch.  Aside from that, have NEVER had a problem with any of them.