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Helping People With Asthma – While On Vacation!

The one thing about my passion for asthma is that it’s a blessing and a curse. A blessing that I can help other people, but I curse because I CAN’T stop helping people.

18 years ago, when my kids and I were diagnosed, I knew nothing about asthma. Nada. Zip.

I read anything I could get my hands on, even working my way up to scientific journals (they’re really not so bad once you get used to them.)

I also earned my Certified Asthma Credential (AE-C.) And I can’t resist saying something that may help someone. Seriously. Can’t stop.

We were in Hawaii at a luau and before it started, I wanted to scan the buffet table for seafood. One of the employees asked me if I needed help. I told her I was just double checking the food because I am allergic to seafood. She said she was allergic too. She said she had eaten seafood all her life, but now is suddenly allergic. I told her that adult food allergies are on the rise.

Not wanting to look like a weirdo, I told her that I am a Certified Asthma Educator and I help people with allergies and asthma. She said she had asthma too, but hated taking her medicine because it makes her feel sick. I asked her which medicine she takes, and then showed her that the same medicine is available as an inhaler instead of a discus. So, that may be worth switching medicines. (Nerd alert: I have a photo of Allergy & Asthma Network’s inhaler poster saved on my phone. You wouldn’t believe how many times I use it! )

I wanted her to see how many medicines are available, and that she just needed to work with her doc to find the right one. She told me that she uses her rescue inhaler  4 or 5 times a day.

I explained to her WHY the doctor wants her to use a controller inhaler – because it will keep the swelling down in her lungs. And swelling in the lungs  can cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breathe – for which you will need to use your rescue inhaler. (I also showed her a picture similar to this of how bronchial tubes look different for those with and without asthma.

Hoping I was able to help her, I happily headed to the dinner table. While there, I met several young couples on their honeymoon (awwww….) We all shared information about our careers which led to one person telling me that he had a bee allergy on his arm once that had swollen up to his elbow.  Yikes!

But he didn’t get the prescription filled for his Epinephrine Auto injector because they were  $700. I opened up my bag and showed him my 2 pack of generic auto injectors and told him that they were only $150! I showed him the generic name of the auto injectors and asked him to PLEASE get a 2 pack of auto injectors when he flew back home. Depending on how the prescription is written, the pharmacist can usually  substitute a generic version of a medicine.

I also told him that anaphylaxis can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes, so it would be a good idea for him to ALWAYS have his epinephrine with him. I carry mine everywhere I go. I haven’t had to use them yet, but I would rather have them with me – just in case.

So the food was great, the dancers were fabulous, I was spending the night with the Hubster in beautiful Hawaii. On top of that, I may have helped 2 people have a better quality of life. What more can you ask for?!

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