lungs and a missing inhaler with a question mark over the inhaler

Being Diagnosed Asthmatic in the Late 70s Was Bad Luck!

Being diagnosed with asthma as a child is bad luck - full stop. So, this article is not going to be ranting, "I've had it worse than you." That is not the point I wish to convey here and nor do I believe it. However, I am a product of the late '70s and, personally speaking, I think I was unfortunate to be born with a respiratory condition during this period. Again, you may as well say, "Well perhaps you were lucky you were not born in the 20s with asthma." That's true, too. But as I say, I'm purely focusing on the window that I was born into and it seemed that asthma medications and treatment in the 1970s were pretty much still in their infancy.

Sleeping in an oxygen tent

My earliest memory of being in the hospital was being made to sleep in an oxygen tent every night. I was about two or three years old. It's amazing what poignant incidences make their indelible mark on the brain. I was also given a nebulizer every four hours, which I know still happens today. Although, I was also given a nebulizer to take home and use when I had bad attacks. I don't think this happens today or not as frequently. Nowadays, there is much more emphasis on prevention.

1970s asthma medications

I had mixed feelings about having to take steroids via a spoon. They came in the form of these awful bitter-tasting little white balls. I would often heave on having to take these medications. My face would blow up like a little Elvis child, but after being on this medication after a few days I would feel great. I could take deep breaths into my lungs and I couldn't believe my luck. It was fantastic. The sores on my face, arms, and legs from my eczema would totally clear too, which was double amazing!

The typical asthma medications that I went onto use as a child growing into adulthood was Ventolin and Becotide inhalers (reliever and preventer). I was also on a drug called Uniphyllin, which was a drug that would help keep the airways open during the night in order to help me to sleep. Then, for bad days, I would go to the cupboard where my nebulizer and prednisolone was, and those were the meds that would help me back on my feet.

The drawbacks

Due to my heavy steroid intake as a child, it inevitably caused other problems. One of them being that my height was stunted as a child. I plan on talking about this in a future article, but I will forever be grateful for the action my parents took in the late 1980s to ensure my well-being for the future.

I also felt that my immune system suffered somewhat. I would become ill frequently and still do to this day. Chest infections, throat infections, eye infections. On reflection, it feels like my generation of asthmatic kids and obviously generations before were like the guinea pigs. Someone had to be, didn't they?!

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