Living With Asthma
Admit it, fellow asthmatics. There’s nothing more cathartic than snagging your inhaler from wherever it happens to live on your person, pressing down on that metal cannister and administering the kiss of life in the form of a healthy puff of salbutamol. Breathing your first, clear breath is something a lot of non-asthma sufferers take for granted.
As a child, I had been diagnosed with asthma. Most of the things that kids are able to do, run around, kick up dirt, even laugh loudly – I couldn’t do without being accompanied by my trusty Ventolin inhaler. This is the one that is usually assigned to asthma patients, but there is a world of other inhalers out there, such as Clenil, Fostair and Flixotide to name a few. It was a lot harder to get that technique of pressing and inhaling down when you had to clutch the holder with two small hands, so I always had a spacer with me. It’s a cylindrical chamber that you plug your asthma pump into. Somehow it’s able to hold the medicine within that space until you breathed it in for yourself. When I was younger, I thought it was some sort of inexplainable magic, but in actuality, it’s just a trick of science – particles slowing down in that round vacuum to improve the efficiency and volume of the medicine when you breathe it in.
As I grew into a teenager, I abandoned the need for a spacer(not to say it’s exclusively for children, adults can use spacers, too!) and got used to breathing in the salbutamol from the mouthpiece itself. . Most people grow out of asthma, but I, unfortunately, wasn’t so lucky at this point. Growing up means responsibilities, and responsibilities means remember to take your inhaler everywhere.
This was a time in my life where I got into exercise – swimming and going to the gym to be more specific. I wasn’t the best at these things, but I wanted to do my best for my health. Being asthmatic and doing exercise is a completely different ballpark to when you’re a child running aimlessly through a playground. Though you’re used to the sensation of your chest tightening and your lungs fighting for every breath, it never makes it easier.
The amount of salbutamol I was administering for myself was far more than my doctor had advised, meaning my condition had started to grow far worse than it was. I was tired of being so debilitated by condition, unable to do things that everyone else could. So I put my life on pause until I could get a grasp on my asthma and how to stop it from being so easily triggered.
I went to my doctor and got a newly revised asthma action plan, which thoroughly helped me in getting to grips and learning about asthma and how to prevent an attack from happening in future. Did you know that coffee and tea can actually help to relieve asthma symptoms over a long period of time? Neither did I until I did my research and made a plan that was helpful to me.
Being older now, I don’t use my Ventolin inhaler nearly as much as I should. I’ve found as I’ve matured, my asthma triggers have dwindled into a shorter, more manageable list. I don’t do well in cold environments, and if an area is too clogged with dust, I’m definitely fighting for my life just to fend off an allergic reaction. With the knowledge I have learned over the years being someone who suffers with acute cases of asthma, I’ve been much better at dodging my asthma triggers and learning just how it affects me and how it can be different to others. It’s important to be safe – but it’s even more important to always, always have your inhaler on you.