Live Your Best Life (Even With Asthma)

If someone in your family has asthma, I don't have to tell you how much it can get in the way of their daily life. There are so many things that can cause an asthma attack or make it worse. 

Some feel completely outside of our control:Asthma

  • Pollen
  • Air quality

Some are difficult to control:

  • Exposure to second-hand and third-hand smoke
  • Perfumes
  • Harsh chemicals
  • Dust

Some are heartbreaking to control:

  • Telling your best friend you can’t play at their house anymore because they have cats. 

Some are not so hard:

  • Washing bedding every week
  • Using covers on pillows and mattresses that block allergens and dust.

When I was a kid, we didn’t do any of those things.  I was 5 years old when I developed asthma.  During that first year or two, I was in the ER nearly every week for a breathing treatment.  My best friends had cats.  Sometimes we played at my house, but I never turned down a chance to play at their houses.  I hated taking medicine.  I remember my mom waiting until I was asleep, and then she would give me my asthma control medicine in applesauce.  I didn’t want to have a chronic disease.  The only time I was happy to say that I had asthma was during PE, when I gladly told the gym teacher that I didn’t have to run with the class.   “I can’t run, I have asthma.”

Fast forward to college.  I moved away from Cache Valley’s poor air quality to the University of Utah.  No one had pets, and I was the only one in charge of my own laundry.  My doctor gave me a new asthma control medicine that worked better for me.  I was amazed that I stopped getting sick!  It was life changing!  I hadn’t realized how much my asthma affected my contact with the world.  I had always just counted on being exposed to allergens, dealing with the symptoms of asthma, and every month or two getting a chest cold due to the inflammation. 

Now, as a Pediatric Care Manager, I love the chance I have to visit with families dealing with asthma. 

I am amazed at so many households that do so much to keep their family member’s asthma under control.  I visit some families who have given their beloved pets away, families who vacuum every day, parents who do everything they can to help their child build a habit of taking their medications just so their child can breathe.  Sometimes there are sneaky things, like cleansers and air fresheners that trigger their asthma.  In some households, adding a HEPA air filter makes all the difference.

Sometimes the family is like mine was.  After we talk, I’ve had mothers tell me that they’ve learned so much about asthma that they didn’t know before.  Sometimes after just changing a few things, they tell me that their child finally is able to sleep through the night, and is no longer getting into trouble at school, because now they can breathe! 

To run with your friends without coughing. To laugh and sing without feeling out-of-breath.  To sleep through the night without wheezing.  As a child with out-of-control asthma, I didn’t realize that these things could be normal.  Asthma is a chronic disease, so it won’t completely go away, but I love to see children (and adults) have their world change as their asthma becomes well-controlled. 

U of U Health Plans includes the benefit of our care management program.  If you or your child has Asthma, call us at 801-587-6480 #2 to reach our team.  We'd love to help you breathe easier!

 

Author:

Jade P., Pediatric Care Manager, U of U Health Plans