Need tips for coping with asthma in my day to day life

Although I'm a "golden oldie", I am new to figuring out my asthma triggers. I'm told I have e-asthma, so I'm learning how to live. So thankful on this beautiful Valentine's Day that I feel well most of the time. Looking for "hidden" items in Walmart today brought on shortness of breath, but my husband has been helpful in dropping me at the door and picking me up. I'm interested to read your hints for coping with day to day life.



Comments 20

  • Melissa G

    Hi Charla! That has to be frustrating to be out shopping and get shortness of breath. 

    We have a free online .

    Have you been able to figure out any of your  Do you have an 

  • LK

    Hi Charla!     

    Sorry you have asthma!  I have adult onset, cough variant asthma diagnosed just over six years ago so I understand the "trying to learn how to live with asthma" part of it!  Are you on maintenance asthma medicines?  I have several that I am on daily.  Well, more than several    but who's counting!    

    As Deborah said in the Daily Roll Call thread, you will find a lot of support here on these forums from people who understand what it is like to live with asthma.

    ( Posted this on the Daily Roll Call thread but thought I should copy it over here, too)   

  • Shea

    Hi Charla! Welcome!

    I have a chronic allergic disease that involves eosinophils (they affect my lungs with asthma, but with my disease it also affects other organs). It has taken me a while to get my eosinophil count to a normal level– I have to be on daily oral prednisone. One thing that has helped me is knowing my main allergic triggers– which for me is cat and dog dander. I learned the hard way I cant live with cats or dogs, and since developing this disease, that I cant visit indoor places where cats and dogs regularly visit or reside. Once I found out this, it has made my entire disease more manageable and Ive made progress. 

    When my asthma/disease is flared and lungs inflamed, I am very sensitive to other common triggers as well like chemical irritants in perfumes, scented candles, cleaning priducts, off-gassing VOCs from new furniture, etc. So it has becime a hobby to play detective and find solutions, as well as  using what I have learned to advocate for myself and inform family and friends.

    Mostly I go a day at a time and try to just focus on what I can do over what I cant. 

    There are many helpful wonderful supportive people here on the forum, and we are glad you are here, and love hearing about your day to day, both the goods and the bads, and we are happy you are here💛☺


  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, Charla! You'll get great support here from this community — it rocks!

    Hugs on the shortness of breath in Walmart. It can take a while to figure out asthma triggers. 

    Could you keep a log or a journal of times like this and note things like:

    • the date and time?
    • what you were doing before and during the attack?
    • what was the weather?
    • what was the pollen like?
    • what made things better?
    • if you had to use your rescue inhaler, and what sort of difference it made?

    For my daughter and me, I made a symptom "chart" on Word that I printed out. That way I could jot down the information, and it was neat and clear so I could take it to our doctor's visits.

  • Charla

    Thank you all for the great ideas to help me live my best life. 

    Triggers – I know cat, dog, dust, candles, and certain odors are a problem. I started coughing in my dermatologist's office and couldn't figure out why until I walked out the door and a dog jumped on me. It was a cute little dog, but not a help to my health. I will contact the doctor. I wish antique malls didn't like to have strong smells in them. It keeps me from looking at items near them.

    Maintenance meds – yes I am on a nebulizer and daily Breo inhaler. I take 3 different types of allergy meds daily. I have had thrush once from Breo, but my inflammation test shows I'm getting better so it is helping.

    Cleaning products – what works without causing you problems?

    Keeping a journal is a good idea. I'll have to do that. I'll also look at the online class for adult asthma. So much to learn.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Charla- I used to get thrush. It was horrible. Prescription medications never worked to clear it up. Using a nebulizer for some of my medications stopped me from getting thrush. I have been taught to eat yogurt to help combat thrush. If you can't eat, or don't like yogurt, you can take acidophilus tablets. Wal-Mart sells their Spring Valley brand. They are very affordable. 

  • Pljohns

    Charla-I can't use cleaning products because of the smell so a few years ago I found a hand held steamer.  it uses 220 degree steam so it cleans and disinfects.  it's the only thing I use to clean with.  DH will clean the toilet bowls with cleaner but i don't use anything else.  I've found that a lot of products are "free and clear" meaning they are mostly scent free (some still have a very faint smell).  I use dryer sheets and all of our soaps and lotions are fragrance free.  You have to look a little harder for them, but most products have a scent free version now.  

    As for the thrush-you can get it from a nebulizer too-I've had it every time I'm on pred and use a nebulizer(I've not used inhalers in YEARS) but I get thrush every time I'm on high dose steroids or use nebulized steroids.  I keep the meds to clear it, rinse my mouth out after every use and boil my neb mouthpiece every week.

    A journal is a GREAT idea-several of us here keep them and they really do help.  Different things work for different people-some can keep them on an app on the phone, some on paper and some on something else.  Find what works for you and then make yourself get in the habit of using it. That's the key-it will help you a LOT if you use it consistently.

    Hang in there-it's a process and asthma changes over time so what works now might be totally different down the road.

  • Shea

    Charla, that is great that you are aware of many of your triggers, you are seeing specialists and taking medications, AND making progress on lowering inflammation on the tests. 

    I have good days and bad days, and I have been trying to just take little breaks here and there and ask myself "what can I do to make myself feel better right now?"– and I will find I am holding tension in my back and try to breath into it and relax, or that I am rushing anf holding my breathe, or that something in the store is making me lightheaded or wheezy.

    Stores and outings are the toughest because triggers can sbeak up on you. One thing is, I dont go into "pet-friendly" stores like home depots, Ross', Michael's, and Barnes and Nobles– and Ill find their competitors that are service animal only, so at least there arent AS many and only go in the stores that tend to be bigger and well-ventilated. I also avoid stores that spray a lot of chemicals on their clothing and have strong scents in them (Kohls Ive had attacks in and old navy is a struggle sometimes– I will either time myself in the store– like to 10-20 minutes–or put an asthms mask on (when Im out I use cambridge or vog aathma masks bc they have stylish ones, but when Im home cleaning, or doing yard work, I use RZ masks because they fit better for those types of activities), or just order clothes online. Targets dont bother my breathing. Plus, they have Starbucks there and coffee seems to help my asthma and definitely gives me energy. I bring my inhalers with me everywhere and keep my asthma mask in my bag just on case.

  • Charla

    Wow! You people are full of useful information. THANK YOU!

    Deborah, do you eat yogurt with active acidophilus or just any yogurt? I do like it (with pretzels or granola). Thanks for that suggestion.

    Melissa, we bought a MERV 16 furnace filter, but is causes our furnace motor to vibrate. Our furnace people are not familiar with them, so they're trying to figure out what to do. Do you have any experience with this? We are using a MERV 13 now.

    PLJohns, I bought scent free laundry products to try. Do you have a brand that is better for you? 

    Shea, relaxation I am learning from the Speech Therapist who is helping get my voice back. I have callouses on my vocal chords from coughing and acid reflux. Until I am made aware of tenseness, I don't think about it. Smells in stores are a problem, but I wasn't aware some sprayed their clothes! I'll have to be more conscious of that if I start feeling bad. Pets in stores are a problem. This week I turned around to be staring at a dog in a child's seat of a cart at Hobby Lobby. Who would have expected that?! Thanks for mentioning the types of masks. I got a very basic type to wear while cleaning, but being outside with allergens might require more. And finally, what other disease do you have that raises eosinophils? That raised number and wheezing is what started me down the road for many breathing tests.

    Thanks again for sharing all your experience with me. I appreciate it.

  • Shea

    Charla, my disease is very rare it is called Churg-Strauss Syndrome, also known as EGPA (dont ask me what that stands for lol sonething like eosinophillic granumoloto— i dunno!) But one of its defining factirs is that the eosinophils get into small blood vessels and the tissues of multiple organs. Mine was diagnised after I went to the ER thinking I was having an asthma attack and it turned out it was a heart attack, so they did a heart biopsy and luckily diagnosed it correctly and treated it aggressively and saved my life. The disease is chronic and lifelong, and allergic triggers is what sets of the eosinophilia for me. 

    I totally get you on the frustrations of going into stores with dogs– I went to the outlet mall eith my parents and 2 pitbulls on leashes sniffing around– not service dogs– and the store has a "no dogs" sign on front. I just left because obviously no one was enforcing it. Plus it smelt bad in there. The clothing often has chemicals sprayed– i cant try on clothes in the stores typically because I cant stand to be in them for long and dont want the clothes touching my skin– I have broken out before. When i get home I try them on over other clothes so my skin is covered. I would buy organic cotton everything if I could afford it. Some info on chemicals in clothes and safe clothing is here: 

    I am still learning a lot myself… Taking in little bits as I can. 

  • Melissa G

    Charla, my dh is the one that installs our furnace filters. Is there anything that is loose? My dh said on our old furnace, we had to replace ours a few years ago, the filter didn't fit tightly and would rattle. On our new furnace, the filter fits better. 

  • LakiaShavonLightner
    Charla posted:

    Although I'm a "golden oldie", I am new to figuring out my asthma triggers. I'm told I have e-asthma, so I'm learning how to live. So thankful on this beautiful Valentine's Day that I feel well most of the time. Looking for "hidden" items in Walmart today brought on shortness of breath, but my husband has been helpful in dropping me at the door and picking me up. I'm interested to read your hints for coping with day to day life.



  • K8sMom2002

    Welcome, Charla and Lakia! You've found a great supportive community here, and you can rest assured that you are not alone!

  • Pljohns

    charla-I use the store brand dryer sheets and tide free and clear has been good for me.  I clean most everything else with my steamer so I have no scents and dusting is the swiffer wand-I make sure to get unscented ones of those-

    I've not found unscented stuff for my dishwasher and I have an older one that i can't use the pods in so I have to be careful when I pour in the detergent.

  • Wheezy Me

    Welcome to the boards, Charla and Lakia!

    I don't have a lot to add to all the advice you already got here. Just wanted to say we all learn to live with it, day to day (my asthma started when I was very young, I don't even remember. But it was inactive for about 10 years in my teens and then came back, and I had to readjust). It does get better, I promise! Hang in there!

  • K8sMom2002

    @Charla, how has the unscented laundry products worked out? I will tell you that for me, not every product's scent triggers my asthma … it's a trial and error sort of deal.