What would you do in an asthma emergency without your cellphone?

My phone has been wonky ever since a software update in November! The battery life started becoming really bad and steadily got worse. It got to the point where it would only last a couple hours on a full charge. And if I tried to use the camera, it would shut down!  Ugh! And I don't have an extra battery pack – that stopped holding a charge too! 

Anyway, I went for a bike ride yesterday by myself. My asthma is still a little flared. I had my inhaler with me as always. At one point along the trail, I tried to take a pic and it shut down. And would not reboot! Yikes! 

I started thinking about what I would do if my asthma flared and my inhaler didn't help. I had no way of calling for help and no one even really knew where I was. I headed back to more trafficked areas instead of the remote trail. I figured at least there were people around who could call for help. 

What emergency plans do you have in place? Do you carry an extra battery for your phone? Do you wear a medical ID? I realized my ICE contact doesn't work if my phone is dead! 


Comments 24

  • Marie E Natzke

    Kathy P you could try undoing the software update to see if it would put your phone back to where it was.  Maybe the update didn't update correctly. 

    I carry my nebulizer with me where ever I go and have my rescue inhalewr with me as well. 

    A suggestion would be to get one of those medical alerts that you just press the button and can get in touch with someone right away.

    That's a tough question to come up with a good plan for.

  • Shea

    I am asking for life alert for my birthday–it includes a necklace with gps emergency button.

  • Kathy P

    I do carry my inhaler. My neb is way to heavy and bulky with the battery pack to carry with me. I may need to look at something more portable. 

    My phone was on it's last leg – the battery just wouldn't hold a charge. I have my new phone and it's all set up. 

    The life alert is an interesting idea. I'm not usually riding by myself. I'm looking at a new bike computer that has an "incident alert" mode. Basically if you are in a crash, it will send a text to a preprogrammed number with the alert and GPS location. I need to see if that can be manually activated. That might accomplish the same function. 

  • Pljohns

    if you have an iphone, you can press the button on the right hand side of the phone 5 times and it will automatically call 911 and send a text to a person you designate.  it has to be set up and I've forgotten how I did it, but you can google search on it.  

    As for me, my neb that I carry in my purse is about the size of a sunglass  case.  I can keep 2 vials of levabuteral and and extra set of AA batteries in the case.  I have a larger neb in my car, one at work and 2 at home that have battery packs (Pari TrekS).  We tend to lose power frequently so I made sure I had something with a battery pack for it and since I can't use inhalers with propellent, I got the smaller one for my purse.

  • K8sMom2002

    Yikes, Kathy! In this post-cell phone age, it's really difficult to function without one. No such thing as public phones.

    Interesting idea on the incident alert. That sounds very handy!

    One thing to keep in mind about about real-time GPS trackers: many of those rely on a cellular data connection, either through Bluetooth or a paid subscription that gives you access to cellular data through your device. If you are in a "dead zone," the device may report an inaccurate position.

    We've had that happen with the iPhone "Find Friends" app. It will only report the last time it pinged off a tower. My DH thought maybe another sort of tracking device that you plug into the car's data port, but I'm thinking since it reports back via a paid cellular data service (the company provides that), it may be the same thing.

    GPS also will only work accurately if you have a clearish view of the sky — ever lost your GPS signal on your GPS nav system in the "midtown canyons?" There's a section of midtown Atlanta that a GPS nav system will not work because of all the tall buildings.

    My allergist is pretty conservative when it comes to exercise and asthma since mine can be severe during exercise. 

    • I don't exercise strenuously alone on her orders – no solo running or biking anymore. 
    • I always take my inhaler and follow my plan as far as pre-treatment, etc.
    • If I AM exercising alone in a non-strenuous way — a solitary walk outside, say, I follow the : I tell people where I'm going and when they can expect me back. When I get back, I check in and tell them I'm back. That way, if I don't, they know to come looking, where to look and what to look for.
  • Kathy P

    I don't have an iPhone…and it wouldn't have mattered since my phone was completely dead. 

    The bike computer is a standalone unit. It has it's own GPS and it's very accurate. It doesn't rely on cell towers, just satellites and this unit will scan for US and GLONASS sats. So it's much better in trees than older units. I've seen it in action tracking mountain biking through the trees. My watch without GLONASS track was much choppier.

    I always have my inhaler and pretreat…that's not even a question. And if I'm feeling things are not going to go well, I back way off my efforts. I have permission from the allergist to exercise at the level I want to. It just got me rethinking my emergency preparedness when I found myself with a dead phone. 

  • Megan Roberts

    I always follow the rule Cynthia stated above: I let someone know my route and how long I will be, and if I'm not back they know where to look. But that's only when I can't take a buddy with me, which I always try to do. 

    I also always take my phone (which lives in a Lifeproof case since I'm on the water so much) and make sure it is fully charged when I get to my launch site. I keep it in a dry bag that floats and don't have any other apps running in the background that will drain the battery. I've had to use it to call 911 for medical emergencies from a boat a handful of times already (not for myself). 

    There are some phone cases that have a but maybe it's just time to get a new phone if you can't seem to restore it to full functionality. That would drive me nuts!

    If you don't want to rely on your main phone, I would probably compare costs between the life alert and a prepaid phone. You can get a prepaid flip phone for $12.99 on Amazon or a prepaid smart phone for $25-$30, then you just need to make sure to keep it loaded with minutes and charged before you head out. Bonus: handy for use traveling to countries that like to monitor American visitors.  

  • K8sMom2002

    Sounds like a smart approach, Megan!

    Kathy, wasn't questioning you, just sharing what my doc's plan/advice was for me.

    I loved having that alone time. It was a hard pill for me to swallow that I could never go out solo for any sort of strenuous activity, but she pointed out that for me, with my very sudden and severe EIB, help might not get there in time, even with a cell phone. 

    I compromise with her approval — I can walk by myself — but no strenuous activity. My DH is a bit paranoid and has watched way too many true crime shows, and he tells me that it's not a good idea anyway.

    That tracker sounds like a marked improvement over the technology that we've had access to! 

  • Kathy P

    Well, the incident alert on the bike computer won't help if my phone is dead. I went and pulled up the manual to see how it worked. It connects to the app on the phone.

    I got to ride with my new phone and the battery life is amazing! So hopefully, I won't have to worry about a dead battery.

    But there are still other aspects of having an asthma emergency alone that I'm still thinking through.

    I do have a medical ID bracelet that says ASTHMA – it's generic and doesn't have any other personal info on it. I have it buckled to my Camelbak. I've tried wearing it, but it scrunches up with my sleeves and gloves and is just uncomfortable and digs into my wrist. I do keep an ID card in my Camelbak too. Hopefully between that and the ICE contact on my phone, EMS would be able to get a hold of dh.

    What options do others use for medical ID's? Do you wear a medical ID? My bro/SIL/mom all use RoadID. My bro/SIL have just emblem that fits on their fitness tracker band. My mom has one of their bands. My fitness tracker band is too wide and my wrist is too small – there isn't enough flat space! But I just looked and they have shoe and ankle ID's. I wonder if the shoe one would work on my cycling shoes?

  • Pljohns

    I wear a medical alert bracelet all the time-never take it off.  A few years back, I found a company called MyID that makes silicone bracelets with the medical alert symbol on the front and a QC code on the back that can be scanned.  there is also an 800 number that responders can call  and an ID and PIN that is associated with my profile.  If you call the 800 numer, and give them the ID and PIN, they will give you all of my medical info and anything that I put on my profile (emergency contact etc) just like you would get if you scanned the QC code.  I have a few engraved ID bracelets that have the medical alert symbol on the front and I just had the 800 number, the ID and PIN engraved on the back along with my name and  "severe asthma" and "medical info" in front of the 800 number. 

    I get tired of the same ones, so I try to change them up.  I've learned to make my own bracelets for the engraved tags, so now I just get the tag engraved (MUCH cheaper) and make my own bracelets from beads etc.  If I'm outside, I wear the silicone ones but it's nice to have a more dressy one for work.

    I also have the ICE on my phone that says "severe asthma" and then the ICE to call DH.

  • K8sMom2002

    This reminds me that I really ought to get a Medic Alert ID. DD wears one, and I should as well. I like the Medic Alert IDs because they're slim. They have a number available for medical staff to call and get a medical history that you've provided in advance.

  • LK

    I have the RoadID Slim Silicon wrist band.  I have it in a few different colors to change out.  I just have the one with my name, DOB, city, state, 'Asthmatic', med allergies and DH's name and phone number.  Since at many of the horse shows I went to there was not good phone coverage I opted for just the ID info instead of the RoadID that has a serial number, PIN and 800-number which emergency workers can call for you health profile. 

  • LK

    A few years ago DH and I got rid of our landline phone and just have our cells.  I have wondered what I would do if my cell wasn't working and I needed help.  May have to get a landline again just for peace of mind.

  • Kathy P

    Yeah, we don't actually have a landline either – we have a house line,but it's VoIP which relies on power and internet service. But we alsoeach have cell phone lines and hopefully someone's will have batterypower left. We don't loose our power as much as we used to years ago.That's a really good consideration though – even at home!

  • Pljohns

    We only have VOIP for a house phone too but with 4 cell phones in the house, hopefully someone’s will work.  We all have extra battery packs for them too and we make sure they stay charged.

    I used to have everything engraved on my medical ID’s but my list of medical allergies got so long and most of them were life threatening allergic reactions, I couldn’t fit the entire list on the band so I opted for the one they can scan or call in on.  It’s not the best choice but it’s the best one I have

  • LK

    Since I am starting on the Xolair this Tuesday, I am thinking I should change over to the sort of medical ID that has a phone number to call for all my information. 

    Since it's just DH and me, when he's at work my phone is the only one here.  Guess I got used to dealing with asthma but the new wrinkle of anaphylaxis has me thinking!    

  • K8sMom2002

    I guess we're one of the last folks on earth that have a true landline. Part of that reason was that until very recently, our area 911 systems couldn't accurately trace cellphone locations. So if you called but couldn't speak, they couldn't find you.

    With a landline, our 911 system COULD find you because the house number was cross-indexed to a GPS location.

    Another reason is that we're in an area where our cell service is routed through a nearby town's 911 center. That means when we call 911 from our cell phone, we have to request to be patched through to our 911 service. I've had to do that before, and they were very nice about it, but it still took minutes. 

    When my DD had her wreck back in October, and she called 911, the same thing happened. She had to tell them exactly where she was located — what road, what mile marker, in order to establish what county emergency services needed to respond. She was so shaken up that it was hard for her to explain that, but I was glad she DID have a cell phone.

    Because of DD's bleeding disorder and food allergies, we decided a long time ago to keep paying the land line … but aack! It's expensive. I tell myself it's an insurance policy that I hope we never have to use. 

  • Kathy P

    Well I found a different feature of my new bike computer that will help! It has the ability to send an email with a link to a live tracking map whenever but start a ride. So, now if I go out alone, dh gets an email and can see exactly where I am! 

    It does rely on my phone, but that issue is hopefully resolved with the new phone. It's not foolproof, but better mire robust than my previous plans…whic w was pretty much no plan!

  • LK

    Kathy,  That's a pretty neat feature on your bike!  Cool!

    Have you seen the commercial where an older gentleman is out jogging and the scenes show him always checking his watch and then turning.  When he returns home he goes over to the computer and printer and prints out a map with his jogging path on it.  He hands the printed paper to his wife.  She opens it and smiles and adds it to her collection of papers on the wall.  Each paper has the rough outline of a flower, heart or some other term of endearment from him.  It's a sweet commercial! 

  • LK

    Cynthia,  Those are all really good reasons to keep the landline phone!

  • Kathy P

    That's cute – I haven't seen it!  I've seen some really crazy route pics though. 

  • Kathy P

    Well my new bike computer with the live track was worth every penny today! I was doing my 100km ride. Its women only, so dh couldn't ride with me.  He dropped me off then went for coffee with a friend in the area. 

    Well I wound up with a bad flat. I couldn't get it fixed and we called the support team for the ride. I also called dh. Since we weren't sure if the tire was fixable, he came to where I was. He found me because of the live track!

    The support vehicle arrived after DH and nanaged to get the tire repaired. But dh was going to track me in case the repair didn't hold. I just needed to call him and he'd come pick me up instead of having to call for support. 

    I have it set up to manually start the live track. So anytime I go out by myself, I'll start it. 

    And the turn by turn on the course was so much better than trying to figure out the cue sheet!

  • Melissa G

    Kathy, that is great about the live track helping you out so much today!  that is definitely worth the investment. 

    Sorry you had a flat! Glad it was fixable though.

    How was your asthma during the ride? Any problems?

  • Kathy P

    My lungs cooperated! I took all my meds and half an Albuterol tab before the ride. I took a hit off my inhaler at one if the rest stops when I started coughing.