Shopping and Asthma
I love to shop. That's no secret. Shopping as an asthmatic comes with many challenges. Over the years I have learned what precautions to take and how to deal with it if my asthma starts to act up. I wanted to take some time to share what I have learned and hopefully it can help you as well.
Plan in advance
Know exactly what stores you plan on going to and in what order. Having it all planed out ahead of time will lead to a less stressful shopping experience. Stress can definitely cause asthma symptoms so the less stress the better. Consider how long you will be away from home and if you aren't feeling 100% try not to stay out for too long.
Don't shop solo
This one is usually difficult for me personally because I enjoy my "me" time. I have three children and when I'm not working in the hospital I am home with them. So needless to say, I don't do much shopping alone. When someone is with you while shopping, you have someone there who "has your back" and can help out if needed.
For me, my older boys know where my inhaler is in my purse and can easily get it for me if my asthma starts acting up when we are out & about. I have had many conversations with them and they understand how severe my asthma is and willingly take an active role in making sure I am okay and assist me when needed.
If you are having a bad asthma day and absolutely need something from a store, don't be afraid or ashamed to call a friend or family member and ask them to pick it up for you.
Pick stores strategically
Some stores naturally have strong smells inside. Whether it is a strong potpourri smell that hits you like a truck when you walk into some craft stores, or stores that sell harsh chemicals or cleaning products that you can smell immediately upon walking in the doors. We all have different asthma triggers to different things.
Have an escape plan
This sounds silly, but it is definitely needed. When I walk into a store, whether it is one I have been to many times or one I've never been to, I make a mental note of where the exits are in case I need to suddenly leave due to asthma symptoms and get outside to fresh air.
Always make sure you have your rescue inhaler with you (&/or portable nebulizer if you have one) and easily accessible. I keep mine in the side pocket of my purse. I always know where it is.
It is also a good idea to carry a scarf or mask with you in case you need to suddenly cover your mouth &/or nose. This will come in handy if you are shopping in the wintertime when it is very cold outside.
Consider online shopping
In this digital age we are in, it has become very convenient to do a lot of shopping online. As much as I love to get out and have that me time while shopping, staying home in the safety of my house definitely has its appeal. And these days, you can order groceries online as well as other necessary items and in some cases have them delivered within just a few hours to a few days!
Have you ever gotten "moon face" as a side effect of prednisone?