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Life with asthma and allergies

Sometimes we know our asthma and allergies so well that it’s hard to think about it from another person’s perspective. But helping other people understand what our asthma and allergies are like can make a big difference in our day to day lives.

Sometimes, too, all people can see about us is our limits — we become the inhaler girl, or the allergy guy, or the one who can’t run, or the one who throws a fit about cigarette smoke or pet dander. But we’re more than that — we are absolutely more than that. We try to live a normal life, even with diseases like asthma and allergies.

How do you wish people saw you? What do they need to understand about asthma or allergies to see you in that way?

Is that different from what you need your family to know?

How will you share one fact or aspect about asthma and allergies during May, Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month? How are you more than asthma or allergies?

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Comments 59

  • miri

    I wish people saw us as survivors, not just inhaler guy or gal. It would be helpful if people understood asthma runs a spectrum from mild and intermittent to severe and disabling to life threatening. I wish there was some way to let outsiders see how hard flares can be with hospital stays, ED visits, urgent care visits, IVs, missed work, injections and powerful medications with a myriad of side effects. I wish they understood a day in our lives, so there would be more empathy when they see us in a mask, or avoiding pets, or smoke or fragrances.

    I don’t need pity, just understanding and kindness for this invisible disease. Despite our disease, we survive and thrive. I just wish people treated our disease with the same kindness as say breast cancer survivors.

  • Aaliyah

    I wish people could understand that we have to avoid certain situations. We do have our limits. So many people don’t grasp the fact that we have triggers. There are many don’t do’s and can’t do’s for us. Many people don’t understand because they don’t suffer or struggle as we do. More education is needed. I spread the word as much as I can. I explain my situation. I hope people can take some time to learn and realize that we have to be cautious! We all need to do-exist. We have to watch what we do, where and when and how we do things. Many others don’t have to give it a second thought. 😏

  • kira

    My apologies, I am waxing philosophical this morning! [:D]

    One reason people may think of us in regards to our limits is because that is how we have to conduct our daily lives in order to survive so that is what they remember most.

    I am thinking back, say, seven years ago, to when I didn’t have severe asthma. Want to say from the outset that I am NOT condoning others’ insensitivity or rudeness or unkindesses. Not sure that’s a word but it fits! [;)]

    It adds an element of extra work to include someone with a physical problem/disability in people’s plans. For some healthy people it is mind boggling after a time trying to figure out what we can and cannot do so they just give up trying to figure it out. It is just not in the daily realm of normally healthy people to completely understand what it is like to live with a chronic health issue. Even my extended family, who truly try to remember what triggers my asthma, still suggest restaurants that have candles on the tables or have big wood grills near the dining areas. Granted it is hard to find restaurants now that don’t. Our DS actually told me that sometimes they want to go places they know I can’t go. While I understand that, it still feels like he is choosing those places over me. [disapp]

    It is easy to exclude those of us who cannot join in some activities and not give it a second thought or after trying several times to find something we can do together to just not include the person with the health issue. I can kind of understand this. It is hard enough for us living with this to know what we can and cannot do some days. My DH does try but just the other day he sits down at the table next to me and opens a brand new magazine. The inky smells from new magazines will set me to coughing. I sit there for a moment hoping he will notice but then go to the other room. A few minutes later I say that magazines still get to me. He is very apologetic and you could tell he was mortified that he had forgotten. I don’t want him beating himself up over forgetting and it is disappointing that he forgot but I have so many triggers I don’t expect him to remember them all.

    People have to work on looking out for others first and not being self-centered. Which is a challenge for all of us! Just in the course of living their daily lives, most people don’t want the added thinking that goes along with trying to plan for someone who has special requirements.

  • kira

    I also wish people could understand how long it takes to recover from a flare and that during that time we are more susceptible to triggers.

    Since our severe asthma is such a small percentage of the asthma population, we have to work against the general ideas of asthma being a mild lung disease.

  • Aaliyah

    Em, I almost cried when you said “I just wish people treated our disease with the same kindness as say breast cancer survivors” because it is so true. We are ignored, and forced to work through stuff that is truly debilitating, and it seems we arent treated rationally or compassionately.

    I think of a football player who gets injured but tge coach just shoots him up with sterouds and pain meds and sends him back out to play. And he reinjures. And reinjures. Often not even knowing or feeling it. Never heals. I fear being that.

    I feel like we are not getting the time or the correct treatments to heal our disease. I have spent a lot of my time wondering hiw to heal myself because I dont trust the guidance or treatments currently available and I blame a lot of the medicines for getting me this bad. But I am so bad now that I truly need them.

    My brother told me “you cant live in a bubble” but you dont tell a person with a broken leg they cant live in a cast. I really am trying to breathe without inhalers and steroids and using masks and my sanctuary home and limiting time exposed, and not working or stressing myself too much, as a “cast” so I can heal. And I do think slow progress IS progress and I wish my doctors would acknowledge what my body has done in this time to heal– instead of trying to push more meds help us work with our bodies, steroids/meds cannot be the only answer, but avoudance– help us by stating the facts about how much dander and triggers set us back and support our social and recovery needs. Insurance should be buying HEPA air filters and asthma masks too. Even if it is 2 percent better here or there let us make slow progress and acknowledge it as progress so we arent stuck on inhalers and meds forever. Even if it is just no hospitalizations and steadier prednisone doses, say sonething sbout thst as progress. BUT also I dont want the disability reviewers to say “oh your ready to work!” When Im still not able to breathe without prednisone and steroids, when my avoidance of substances like dander, mold, pollen, viruses and germs, is helping me do not think im able to be thrown back in because I am “OK” now. Im not. Talk to me when Im off prednisone completely, talk to me when i can be in a room with triggers and not have a massive attack or need inhalers just to not die. Until then, leave me alone!!!

  • Matthew

    Aaliyah, I’m sorry your brother said that to you.

    Our son told me during a long flare that I should get out more. He was thinking that the more I was exposed to my triggers, the less they would bother me. Umm, Nope!! After trying to explain it again, I could see the perplexed look on his face. It just didn’t fit in with how he wanted to “fix” my breathing problem. Sigh. It takes the wind out of our sails every time we run into those things and makes me want to not try to explain it for a while.

    Aaliyah, Have you heard anything about your review?

  • Aaliyah

    Not since they asked me for more information and had me fill out paperwork. It really is stressing me out.

    And yes it is exactly like what your son said– comments like that are so frustrating! And explaining it gets tiring too. I thought when I nearly died from these allergies and allergic disease itd be enough to get people to realize the severity but unfortunately…. Ignorance and denial are really hard beasts to slay.

  • Help

    Aaliyah , excellent point!

    When I get impatient with myself and others as far as awareness is concerned, I have to remember that breast cancer and diabetes and heart disease were once not well understood and supported, either. Before 1974, when Betty Ford went public with her diagnosis of breast cancer, many people never talked about it.

    And people are far more likely to understand disability than they were back then … I just have to keep the faith and keep thinking that once most people hear and understand, they will care. Because most people do.

  • miri

    A friend of mine had been sarcastic on the phone a few weeks back. She said to me.. Why don’t you live in a plastic bubble like John Travolta? You’ll need a new hairdo. I thought…well gee…how ice cold. I told her that DH was calling on the other line. Nuff said. 😢

    Friends…learn to overlook ignorance. Lack of knowledge is a dreadful thing. That is why we teach people about US .Love you all! And that is unconditional!!! 💞💞💞

  • Matthew

    Sorry your “friend” was so inconsiderate. [group] I’m afraid many comments like that ,that she did not apologized for, would cool my friendship. Everyone slips up and says the wrong thing sometimes but when you realize it you apologize and ask for forgiveness.

  • kira

    I have been excluded from many events. No thought was given to my illness. I can’t and don’t expect others to give up their fun. My DH goes places without me all the time. He knows I can’t go. He’s always been that way. His family told both of us that I am not welcome. They take him out to eat for his birthday and say I can’t go. He still goes anyway. So, after all of this, I am used to being alone. My friends, and even my sister don’t want to visit me or go for coffee or shopping anymore.

    My so-called friend…who was my best friend in high school has become very insensitive. She puts down where I live. Who would live in CT? Why would anybody live in that piece of state? I said…Well…where would you like me to live? I will be sick no matter where I go. I can’t just pack up and go on my own. The last few times she tried calling me, I hit ignore on my phone. I get stressed out, which causes shortness of breath. Stress is a big no-no for people with COPD. She won’t apologize. There will always be one sour lemon in the bunch.

  • Aaliyah

    Kira, ugh and argh. All those situations above anger me to the bone. I am sorry you have to deal with that. It seems very entrapping.

    His family should love you like a daughter and schedule family events in a place that doesnt harm your health. Your DH should be the main person who supports you and who tells his family that too.

    I wish I had money Id buy you your own place in a very nice area that has good air quality, where you could keep and feel stable and supported. But your friend shouldnt criticize you for living where you live or for needing to breathe and having limitations that are difficult to deal with. When will people understand that ignoring your symptoms and running out into triggers is not the answer! The best thing they can do is be accepting, supportive, and educated. If they arent, they can cause harm. And who needs that? That is not what a good friend is.

    You are like superwoman. You keep a positive attitude, you treat others with great compassion, you stay educated on your disease and you complete all your ADLs dodging triggers around you and educating as you do like a dancer in a great ballet. You are an amazing cook. You are a strong woman. And you stay on top of things. Sending prayers your way that you find more support in others around you!

  • Help

    Kira, you absolutely deserve friends who understand and support you! I hate that your friend doesn’t seem to know what to say and doesn’t understand that her comments are stressing you out. But way to go on realizing that, for now, this stress is something you don’t have to put up with and don’t have to let harm your health.

    You are an amazing, positive person — your talents in the kitchen and saving money alone are worth your weight in gold, but I would hang out around you just because you have such a sunny, positive attitude! I’m hoping other people around you will realize what a treasure you are.

  • miri

    What a very nice thing to say. I was so deeply touched when I read your post. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart! 😂😂❤❤ I feel so much caring and power coming from your post! What a wonderful post it is! Thank you so much. Remember the song I Will Survive? Well….I will! And I do!! I make the best of each day! And, all of you are a blessing to my well being! I have taught myself to step over the landmines and reach for the sunshine! I would do anything to help people in need. I may not be able to give money, but hey- what would you like me to make you to eat? What kind of cookies do you like? Of course you can call me to talk. Sure, I’ll come over and help you weed your garden. I’ve always been a giver. It makes me feel good if I can do something for someone. Thank you! 😂😂❤❤

  • Aaliyah

    Miri, for dealing with all of that. How unkind can someone be? I think people just don’t realize how much words HURT.

    As for me, I wish people understood that a nebulizer isn’t a crack pipe or the new latest thing-a vape pipe (it that’s what you call them). I’ve been ask to leave airport boarding areas to “smoke”, had the mall cops called on me for my “crack pipe” and all sorts of other junk, Em, I’m like you, I don’t want sympathy or pity-just to be treated like everyone else with kindness and consideration for an awful disease that we didn’t ask for an certainly don’t want but we are stuck with it. Yes, it can always be worse but when you’re in the middle of a flare, on prednisone an someone pops off with something really unkind, it’s AWFUL Even my family doesn’t get it-my Dad’s solution to asthma-just don’t take you meds, you lungs will get use to not having it and you’ll be fine-um NO, i’ll be DEAD.

    I don’t share much with my extended family-just DH and DS and WILL NOT use a neb in front of any of them-

    I totally agree that including someone with a disability or illness is hard work and most of the time, I think people just chose to leave us out rather than try to find ways to include us. i wish people understood how hard it is just to breathe. The few times I’e had the opportunity to speak about asthma, I always include in my presentation a section about “here’s what it’s like”. I hand out coffee stirring straws-not big gulp ones-have everyone put them in their mouths and pinch of their noses and then breathe only through that tiny straw. I have them walk around the room and then tell them to imagine living like that-shopping, cleaning a house, running errands-even just talking-by the end of that part, most of them get it-i can tell by the look on their faces. I think it’s just a lot of not really understanding-people just think “oh, take a puff on the inhaler and you’ll be fine”. There is a lot of education to do.

  • kira

    Or…try walking up 14 steps with loads of bags of groceries…cases of bottled water…with severe asthma and COPD…after a taper is over…YIKES!!!

    I guess you can’t imagine it if you’re not in it!

  • miri

    I was breathing heavy yesterday. A friend (one of my closest and oldest friends) asked me what happened so I told her I now have severe asthma. And she said why don’t you use your inhalers?

    They think it’s that easy but it’s not for everyone.

  • miri

    Yeah my dad thinks I should stop my meds and they don’t want to believe that I have severe asthma.

  • Aaliyah

    Just a few thoughts, I think one of the problems with asthma is there aren’t many celebrities out there with our disease, and when asthma is depicted, it’s usually in that geeky kid who puffs on his puffer and feels better. I’m pretty excited for May – I’m hoping to share some of the aafa’s social media banners with my family/friends to increase awareness.

  • kira

    Thanks. I try to stay as hydrated as possible without over hydrating. I think eating from the freezer might also be setting it off for me. I’ll try to eat hot food for a while and see if that helps like my doc suggested.

  • miri

    I wish outsiders understood how scary, lonely and traumatic asthma can be. Sometimes it can be that mild nuisance cough that you can squash with a puff of your ventolin and get on with the workout. Other times it forces you to put everything on hold and can make you fear for your life. It can be frustrating and embarrassing when that little viral cold and cough lingers for days, then weeks, then months.

    i didn’t know until this year that sometimes it can be a battle to get doctors to even understand how varied our presentations can be. Some of us wheeze so loudly that you can hear the expiratory whistles from 20 feet away, others cough and still others do a mix of the two.

    I didn’t realize that asthma could be so painful and uncomfortable. When the flares are severe it feels like I’m being bear hugged and suffocated for days; each breath even at rest isn’t enough. When things are really bad, I can’t lie down anymore because it feels like I’ve just run a marathon and can’t catch up. Other times, I get that deep pressure, painful push of a bear sitting on my chest which brings me to tears because every breath hurts. One of the most humbling experiences was begging a caregiver for higher dose steroids because 40mg of prednisone when in a full fledged flare won’t touch my symptoms. Other times I’ve had to ask for iv fluids because when sick, I’m too nauseated to even think about drinking or eating. No one in their right mind would beg for prednisone, but we do, because we just want to breathe.

    i didn’t realize either that having asthma would make me worry about the possibility of dying from this disease. It’s that moment when you are alone and waiting … and waiting … and waiting … for your fast acting meds to kick in, and struggling hard for each breath, that you realize how dangerous asthma can be.

    I wish the outside world could peek behind the curtain and see the mountains of drugs, tests, specialists and providers that we endure and see; and our daily routines of nebs, inhalers of all shapes, the injections and handfuls of pills that we take everyday. I don’t want them to see for pity’s sake, but for empathy. We react so strongly to triggers, that our reaction to avoid them must be equally strong. We mask because we know a simple cold could mean months of medicines or hospitalizations for us. We don’t like to take time off of work or miss out on events or otherwise burden others with our workloads. We are just trying to do what we can to survive and be as normal as possible and fly under the radar.

    For our families, I hope they understand we do everything we can to reign in this disease called asthma. We are bummed too when we miss events or are in bed resting to recuperate or otherwise are unavailable due to trips for medical care. Asthma stinks, but with a little time and patience we can battle back together, stuff it into its little box and hopefully keep it tame and under control and focus on the more important things!

  • Aaliyah

    I have to say that in my life, 3/4 of the people I know, and run into do not understand my asthma or COPD. Nor do they want to be bothered to try. I really do try and educate people about lung disease. Most just don’t want to hear it. I don’t let those people bring me down. We have to be proactive, and take care of ourselves. We help each other. We may be on our own little planet…in our own network…but we have to be! This is the course that our lives have chosen for us.

    Keep strong! 💪 Stay calm! 😉 Carry on! 😊 Together, we can do it!

  • Matthew

    Very well said, Em, very well said. Those middle of the night flares when it’s just you and the Good Lord who know what you are going though do bring to mind how asthma could end your life. When you can’t even think because all you can manage to do is try to breathe. It is an ongoing, daily, minute by minute, breath by breath concern to keep us breathing! Glad you are here!!

  • Aaliyah

    When my DH complains about something very minor…I always tell him to consider the fact that there is nothing bad wrong with you. There are many people who suffer and struggle daily ..24/7. I also tell him that I wish that was all that I had going on.

    I truly feel grateful for each day. I make the most of it!

  • miri

    I wish people didn’t see me as weak or unable to do the same job as others. I don’t think people realize how hurtful it is to shame, push out and devalue people already fighting an epic battle with illness. When people doubt, it opens the door to self doubt. Even just a crack of the door is poison.

    The world needs to know this isn’t our fault. We don’t deserve to be sick due to life choices. The world should embrace that I am trying with every soul of my being to beat this. Despite fear, pain, and discomfort, we still push forward.

    The world needs to remember we are tenacious. Even though you may kick me and try to hurt me, you can’t break me. Asthma tried and I’m winning that battle. I wish you would be more supportive and encourage me, but since you won’t, I’ll draw on my own strength and prove you wrong. I will succeed, I will thrive. Watch me flourish where you said I never will.

  • Matthew

    My DH use to smoke-at least he was a considerate smoker-never in the cars or house and when he came in, he took a shower, washed his hair, fresh clothes etc. You would think that alone would be enough to make him quit but it didn’t until a few years ago. Once he finally quit, I told him what I’d been wanted to tell him for the 8 years that I’ve struggled with asthma-you have a perfectly good pair of lung that I would give ANYHTING to have-WHY in heavens sake would you willingly do something to damage them??? I will never understand how people can take a perfectly good set of lungs and just throw it away when there are those of us that wish with everything we have in us to not struggle to breathe.

  • kira

    Aaliyah, I love your optimism and gratefulness for everyday.

    Lynn, I definitely hear you. It always breaks my heart when I see young people smoking. If only they could fast forward or see the damage they are doing. I watched my grandma die from copd. She smoked even on oxygen!! Sad that addiction to nicotine is so powerful!

  • Aaliyah

    I think people have their own reasons why they smoke. Some do it when they drink alcohol. Some with coffee. Some do it while they talk. Some do it due to job pressure. I guess they do not realize what kind of damage they are doing to their bodies. Maybe it takes people like us to help the smokers realize that it is time to quit!

  • Aaliyah

    With all of the warnings and alarming knowledge of the harm smoking does, you’d think there would be less smokers. I see tons of people in cars smoking every time I go out.

  • miri

    I used to smoke – in college for a few years. I was beyond stressed out then and the harms of smoking seemed far away but the need to make it through tge day so close. And nicotine is very addictive and addiction does affect your mind. There was always an excuse to smoke. But it was also self-medicating bigger issues. It wasnt really helping resolve them at all though– it just was creating more problems. I had tried quitting for future health and failed. It was finding out that I was pregnant that gave me the strength to quit. It felt so good to quit, so freeing. I have a lot of compassion for smokers because I know how it is and how it feels to be looked down at and outcasted and I had exes who smoked and exes who did not and the one who did not would be very verbally abusive at times when I smoked, and that just upset me and made me want to smoke more. I think part of smoking was me in rebellion… I didnt much like life and didnt care much about living a long life, I only cared about making it through to the next day. Or to the next cigarette break even. I think a lot of people with depression, anxiety, and/or stress smoke– and the “reward” of the nicotine is enough to keep them going. But hiw did they ever get started? I dont think anyone says, “I am going to treat my anxiety with cigarettes” or “I think I want to become a smoker”. Many people think themselves above addiction and think they can smoke just socially when drinking. That is how it had started for me– the guy I was dating at the time smoked and I thought I could do it socially only on weekends. Once it gets into your life, a substance like that can take over. When you smoke, it doesnt smell bad or taste bad anymore… Anything that bothers a non-smoker doesnt bother a smoker and is hard for a smomer to even notice. Smokers typically are in high stress jobs, or have anxiety or depression, all of which smoking works great for (seemingly) and is a treatment stumbked on by accident. It isnt that they are trying to damage their lungs on purpose. It is just a recurring pleasure/reward that is learned.. It is dimply a “jeez a cigarette would be good right now”. It is hard to quit physically, emotionally, a person has to reprogram their day and find new things to relax and treat the underlying anxiety or depression without that crutch that worked so well. It feels you face it alone too and many times you fail and want to guve up trying. One thing that someone said to me that seemed so silly really stuck in my head and I remembered it when I finally did make the firm decision to quit (– and it wasnt “you stink”, or “You’d be prettier if you didnt smoke”, or “You know that is bad for your health don’t you?”, or even “can you move away from us your smoking is affecting our health”– none of those things helped me and many made ne want to isolate and continue smoking) no, what helped was– it was a colleage non-smoker who said “well at least you are taking a deep breath”. I thought it was so odd at the time. But it was something I held onto and I could cling to– one thing that was good about me that gave me strength to climb out of the addiction and face every day life without that crutch… One thing I could keep. Every time I was stressed I would stop and take a deep breath and it relaxed me, it was success, it eas pisitive, it was something I COULD do (Until I got allergic asthma that is lol– which may partially have been from taking deeper breaths of things I was allergic to ironically, but still was best for my long-term health and the health of my son to quit smoking and next deal with the allergic disease, so no regrets on that part). I just have a lot of compassion for smokers… When I see them I dont get mad even when it smells and hurts my lungs, I never sat a thing to them. They are in a worse place than me often (and I dont usually give that position up easily).

  • miri

    I actually should apply that compassion and empathy I have for smokers to those who bring their pets everywhere. I have never been a person who felt the need to do that but I bet it us a similar crutch and anxiety reliever for them. I am going to try to be more understanding instead of angry. I still have a huge issue with it because at least smokers are outdoors and not affecting my grocery trip– and “dander” is widespread in places unlike smoke which is now kept out…but I am going to try to tame my anger some.

  • Matthew

    Miri, That takes a whole lot of introspection on your part to come to that conclusion and I applaud you for it. Many people never take the time to think that deeply. It is hard to look at someone else’s behavior and relate it to our own either currently or in the past.

    You are a wise lady!!

  • Aaliyah

    I am glad tour DH was able to kick the habit. It really is freeing to quit. And clean air is so important for those with a family member with asthma even moreso!

  • Matthew

    started smoking in the military with a very high stress position. He quit until he had to testify in a court marshall case-he woule quit and start back several times after we married, but thankfully, he hasn’t picked them up in 5 years.

  • kira

    Thanks for the eye opening and perspective change/different lens to look at smoking. As a non smoker it’s so hard to imagine a day in a smoker’s. All I grew up seeing was the toll of copd on my grandmother. I watched the slow decline, then the oxygen, the on and off again smoking and finally a permanent resumption of smoking to self medicate for social stressors which led to an accelerated decline and her death. The upshot is she always inspired me to care for others through her social work and got me interested in healthcare. 💜

    you guys brought up wonderful points about how addiction starts and becomes self medication for other issues. One thing that was hardest for me to internalize is I couldn’t do anything to encourage change – I could scare people with facts and pictures but ultimately the decision to change and conquer addiction had to come from the person, not any outside influence. It saddened me that often people (especially with substance abuse issues) had to hit rock bottom before turning the corner. It made me feel helpless to watch the descent, but overjoyed when they returned ready for change. There’s another field ripe for change: addiction treatment and smoking cessation.

    Shea, I love your thoughts about dander and emotional support animals. I’ve read stories about soldiers who find their animals to be life changing. It’s all an exercise in expanding our spheres of understanding. I’ll work too on quieting the emotional anger/frustration brain.

  • miri

    I dont blame the individual people, it is hard to get mad at them. Even the pet-owner fakers who just want to bring the pet eith to save money or for fun.

    I think what I want is for allergic diseases to be acknowledged, for people to understand they can become severe and chronic with chronic exposure, that animals regularly visiting public places add a lot of dander to publuc buildings and can not be removed efficiently or realistically, and avoidance of dander is a part if many people”s treatment.. An allergic person should have the right to work, have access to medical care, and have the ability to refuse to be stuck in enclosed places with those with any animal they are allergic to–service or non.

  • kira

    Great point Aaliyah. I think I get most frustrated when you see the fake animals in places like the grocery store. There’s a time and place to enjoy your pet, but not in places where it’s a health issue. Just because Paris Hilton carries her poodle in her purse, doesn’t mean the rest of the world needs too to. 😬 but you are absolutely right, people have a right to not be chronically exposed to triggers that will cause their disease to progress in severity and extent. I am hopeful that more promising treatments and maybe even cures will come down the line for people with asthma/allergies with increasing understanding of genomics, inflammatory pathways and targeted therapies. 🤞

  • Matthew

    I can tell you first hand of the benefits to soldiers of pets. DH has PTSD-that’s why he smoked for years. He said the nicotine kept the dreams away. We have never had a small dog until I got a yorkie a few years ago who sleeps with us. Somehow he can sense when DH is having a bad dream, licks the end of his nose until he wakes him up and then he snuggles with him until DH goes back to sleep. DH has said that once he’s awake, obviously, the dream goes away and he can pet the dog 5-10 min and go back to sleep. We don’t take the dog outside the house-and never work-if people wanted dogs, they would get their own and shouldn’t be subjected to ours. The only place we have EVER taken our pets is the pet store and that’s pretty obvious to someone with allergies that pets will be in that store.

  • Help

    Lynn, I’m with you — I’m a fortunate person who has asthma that is not triggered by our animals. We never took our animals with us to anywhere but the vet’s office even before I “met” Shea here on these forums. But Shea and others have done such an awesome job of showing the impact of dander allergies that I’m like you — pets are great in their place as long as it is not hurting other people.

    And you’ve shown us how pets, in the right way, can be good medicine for others. I’m so glad your DH was able to quit smoking and is able to be comforted by your yorkie.

    I guess it might be useful to think about pets as a type of therapy that can be contra-indicated by some folks’ medical history. Just as we wouldn’t hand an asthma inhaler to a person who doesn’t have asthma or who can’t (for allergic reasons) use that particular inhaler, people should realize that pets can create adverse reactions in some folks.

  • miri

    Lynn, that’s wonderful that your Yorkie brings such relief to your husband. Animals are pretty amazing in what they can sense and respond to. I was watching a discussion of epilepsy dogs and it’s incredible what they can do to help their owners. You sound like a wonderful caretaker for your dog. I think it’s the few bad apples that ruin the fun and joy (example, a dog owner who brought animal to grocery store and would let it use the restroom in the aisle and just walk away).

    We might get a dog in the future for the boys once we settle and have our own house and a decent yard. I’m not anti-dog just mystified by those that take their pets everywhere with them like my family members (not a specialized therapy dog/support animal). I’m thinking we’d Keep the puppy at home unless going to the vet, dog park or pet store. We shall see what the future brings.

  • Aaliyah

    I hope I’m not offending animal lovers and pet owners, but I wish people who take their PETS to grocery stores, and other public places, realize that they get to CHOOSE whether to leave them at home, or bring them along…

    But those of us with severe Pet Dander Allergies don’t have a CHOICE as to whether we will get SICK from being exposed to them.

  • Matthew

    I love horses, dogs, cats, and most animals and I am not offended in the slightest! Completely agree with you!!

    It is unfortunate that so many animal owners do not consider others when they take their animals everywhere.

  • kira

    Ok. This is my take: pets are ok in pet stores, places like Tractor Supply, that have vet clinics. People bring farm animals in… I love it! And of course…Veterinary hospitals. If you cannot be exposed to animals, then simply do not enter those places. EVERYWHERE ELSE!!! Do not bring any pets in. Of course this excludes service dogs. REAL SERVICE DOGS!!! Emotional support dogs….Ah, come on. Give me a break. Anyone who cannot be exposed to animals should be able to go anyplace without any concern. I feel that you should always carry a mask, in case there happens to be a REAL service dog in a store. I see dogs in grocery stores, Dunkin Donuts, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, plus numerous other stores. I’ve even seen dogs brought into estate sales on many occasions.

    What a mess this has become! Oh, Lordy! 🙏

  • miri

    Cool! Thanks for the update Cynthia! That is very encouraging. Understanding starts the wave of change.

    As a relative new comer to asthma with an attitude, one of the biggest things I’ve come to realize is it’s a ton of work and so much of our condition is self managed. It’s not like you get a shot and take a pill and you’re done, it’s a daily investment in time and energy to feel better. It would be nice if others understood this, and maybe then they’d be more accommodating at work or school.

    I still struggle at times with the pill and medicine burden to treat both the asthma and conditions that worsen it (allergy, gerd). Hopefully the propeller sensor system will help me stay on top of the puffers. Some days are really hard. Sometimes I get angry at the meds, monitoring, trigger avoidance and all of the doctors visits and side effects. But then I read through the stories that you all have shared and remember othershave walked a similar path and are thriving and managing. It gives me hope that it can rain all the time and asthma can be bested and we can still live full an active lives.

  • Aaliyah

    I agree with everything above.

    Pets can be helpful for some people in their homes. A very select few might need them in stores– I feel like I can coexist with that with my mask and the infrequency/rarity factor (just not in airplane, car, bus, train or hotel room, hospital room– think there needs to be protocols in place for these like some that are reserved animal-free.

    I was very lonely and sad I couldnt have a pet at first. I did do much research. That is when I found the lizard pets I have now. I had a lot of anger (OK still do) because I felt pet-owners cared about pets more than me and I felt trapped and ostracized and ignored. But everyone here doesn’t make me feel that way– even those tgat have pets are always so kind and understanding. Definitely there can be places animals/pets can go lime the pet stores, vets, outdoor parks, and hotels/housing that are pet-friendly (but some hotels/housing/travel options should be able to be dander-free including service aninals because you cannot have both in one spot like that without causing harm).

    Asthma meds, triggers, side effects– not a fun bunch to juggle. Sometimes seems imposdible to get out of the loop which seems to dynamically lead from one thing to another– I want to make a jump off the merry-go-round so badly!!! My first step is to try and slow it down.

  • Matthew

    Thought about this question over the weekend, and the other thing I wish people understood about people with asthma is this:

    We are not lazy, or slackers, or simply seeking sympathy – We truly are tired most of the time from struggling to breathe – Every second of Every day!!! [:[]

  • kira

    Agreed! I think when others do not expend the energy to try to understand, THEY are the ones being lazy. It shows a lack of character on their part.

  • Matthew

    I wish today people could understand that just because your voice is normal-and you have one-that doesn’t mean your asthma isn’t acting up

  • miri

    I wish they would change the terminology. Dyspnea, shortness of breath, wheeze: all really don’t capture the sensation or experience of asthma. its not something that we can will ourselves through, or just muscle through. When people ask me what it feels like I say it’s like being strangled or slowly suffocated. Even though we may look “fine” from the outside, that’s not what every cell in our body is saying. It sets off a flight or fight response that is so exhausting!