"Real People Sick" - Part 2: Asthma + a Cold

Our weather here has been ridiculous, as in unseasonably warm. We apparently had something like 67 hours consecutively above freezing in freaking January, so we have broken some records here in Winnipeg. So when my lungs started acting up on a particular Friday, I wasn’t terribly surprised. I mean, it was practically Spring except in the middle of Winter and I’m more triggered by the temperature change bit of it than the pollen bit as far as I can tell.

Except by Saturday I was popping my second 12-hour decongestant and coughing a tad more. Sunday, Monday, same deal. By Monday 11:40 pm I was ready to admit that I thought I had a cold.

The annoying thing is I don’t know where I got it, but I mean, that is basically impossible to figure out and easy to just blame on public transit.

Treating a cold as an asthmatic

The good thing, is that I responded quickly, only because I basically treat colds and allergies (when I do experience those) basically the same. With a cold, I am more aggressive with Ventolin, but otherwise the method is the same: allergy/sinus meds (something or other long acting in the daytime, and if I can find it in my house, Benadryl at night since, so you know, that is basically what is in nighttime cold medicine except minus the pain killer which I do not need anyways). I also bump my asthma controller meds up at any sort of loss of control (a shame, because I was doing quite well on the decreased meds!), which in this case, happened on Thursday, I think, AKA Friday at 1 am, for some low-level symptoms that felt allergy-like. So I got a bit of a head on that, at least.

I’d found some Claritin+Sinus in a bag that I bought two summers ago (I recall riding my scooter to a pharmacy for it before working a tennis tournament), so began taking that. It worked great on Friday and Saturday—briefly leading me to believe my allergy hypothesis to be true--and less great Sunday, but not thereafter, as evident from my pocketful of tissues combined with my garbage box (which is totally a box) beside my desk being quite laden with them as well. (EDIT: Given I was in the time period where the sinus med had worn off, I can say that it actually WAS working…)

5 days in, things had been quite mild. I mean, I’d coughed so much that I could like, feel it in my forehead, but it only got really bad when I didn't take Ventolin soon. Within 12 hours, I had taken 9 puffs, which worked out to every 3 hours or so. When I get a cold, part of my plan is to—if I can get that long—take Ventolin every 4 hours when I’m awake, for 48 hours to keep my lungs open. But for me, I’ve learned the ropes, and 3 hours is a good sign, so long as it begins to work its way up: 3 hours means I am not (yet) sliding towards prednisone (especially as I can still sleep, even if Benadryl-induced), it means I could maybe do with a neb treatment, but I’d avoided that because I was feeling surprisingly okay between doses without one.

Another aspect in the equation would be to consider the role of hydration in this whole treating-a-cold puzzle… Because we all know I am not good at that at the best of times, never mind when I’m all germed up.

One step at a time, right?

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