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person wearing a hazmat suit to avoid hugs

I’m a Hugger, but Not Lately

I’m a hugger. I always have been. I love to give hugs and get hugs. There is something about an embrace that makes people feel good, valued and loved.  If I’m having a difficult and stressful day, a hug can make it better. I like to give hugs and high fives when friends achieve accomplishments and things are going really well too!  Of course, not everyone is a hugger and that is totally okay!

Dealing with winter with severe asthma

This winter has been ROUGH on my body.  This is only my second winter since moving from Southern California to the midwest.  I am still definitely not used to the frigid cold and snow that comes along with living here.  What has been exceptionally difficult for me this year has been the extreme back and forth in temperatures.  It’s as if I get used to the bitter subzero temperatures and take the necessary steps to protect myself and my lungs as much as I can and then the next day it’s significantly warmer.  Then another couple of days later it will be back to below zero. I was told by some of the locals here in my town that this isn’t normal for winter here. Thank goodness for that!  There was a week in January where there was a 105-degree temperature swing in 5 days!  It was bananas!  My lungs were so angry!

Severe asthma and a sensitive immune system

Dealing with this wild winter has thrown my body and specifically my lungs for a major loop! My immune system has been extra sensitive and with it being cold & flu season and I have found myself getting sick easier and my asthma has been flaring a lot more than usual. Being in the severe asthma category, I have to be very careful and do everything I can to not catch any sickness that I know will go straight to my lungs. I just simply cannot take the risk.

Precautions to take to prevent getting infections for severe asthmatics

While winter is starting to wind down and spring is just around the corner, there are still plenty of precautions to take to protect yourself as the cold & flu season isn’t over yet.

Frequent hand washing

Wash your hands A LOT. Good ‘ol soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid catching anything that is going around. Be sure that you are vigorously rubbing the soap on your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Wear a mask

Anytime you will be around sick people wearing a mask can help reduce the risk of catching their illness tremendously. If the cold air bothers your lungs, wearing a mask can help as well.

Avoid personal contact

With my lungs being extra twitchy lately, I have cut back significantly when it comes to hugging.  Not only to avoid catching any potential illnesses that they might have, but also if that person might be wearing any perfume or cologne or scented lotions it has been immediately sending me into a coughing spell and asthma flare up.

These are just a few examples of things to do and avoid to protect yourself during this tumultuous season. I hope to be able to get back to my usual hugging self, but it might take a while and I’m okay with that because my health comes first.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • robbym
    4 months ago

    Hugs are wonderful! As an asthmatic I have to be careful who I hug or stand too close to. I am so sensitive to animal dander that even residual dander on someone’s clothing or person will trigger a serious attack for me if I get too close. Usually this is not an issue but it can really put a damper on socializing, dating or any situation that put people in close proximity.

    Last summer my ex-wife of 14 years bought my children a dog specifically to limit my contact with them. She sent them to my house covered in dander without telling me. I ended up in the hospital and had severe flare ups daily for 6 months. As of the physical aspects weren’t enough the psychoemotional anguish was (and continues to be) terrible. To make matters worse I learned that her actions are completely legal and I have no recourse. How does one move past something like this?

  • cali
    8 months ago

    The west coast is calling! I’ve lived in OH more than 30 years with adult onset. Last years full PFT showed my asthma as Severe with FEV1 at 25% and irreversible. A family emergency brought me home to SoCal last summer (in a wheelchair) but after a few weeks we noticed remarkable improvement in my breathing……so much so that I remained, and am now my mom’s caregiver! I do not respond positively to steroids/corticosteroids. I use albuterol and receive acupuncture treatments. My FEV1 is now above 33% and my ability to breathe again amazes me everyday! I have to move slow and easy but I take short walks for exercise (no hills or stairs); I avoid strong scents and furry creatures at all costs; I sterilize the handles of grocery carts; I do give hugs but will not shake hands. And I count every single day as a gift and a blessing!

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi cali and thanks for your post. It’s so encouraging to hear of your improvement since you’ve returned to the west coast. It is remarkable too, that you’ve improved to the point that you are your mom’s caregiver. She must be very happy to have you there for her. Please do keep us apprised of your progress – we appreciate your input here. Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

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