It seems I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year. Personally, I like winter, especially after a crisp white snow. There is nothing like looking out your window at snow capped mountains. If you ask my lungs though, they will tell you they HATE winter.
For those of you on this board who know me, you know I've fought hard to get my asthma under control. After many years of struggling, over the past year, with the help of Xolair I've finally gotten to the point that I was able to go from being on multiple asthma meds to going off of all of them. I actually went about 8/9 months off of my asthma meds. It was really a huge deal for me.
Things finally caught up with me this last week though. Last month, I got my first cold in years. I went back on my Advair 250/50 as a preventative measure at the time. It appeared to work. I got through my cold with no asthma symptoms. I actually went out of town for Thanksgiving and had no problems. When I walked out of the airport, I immediately started coughing and it went downhill from there. Evidently, while I was gone an inversion set in addition to the cold air, the air quality had declined. That same day I called my doctor and he refilled my Advair 500/50 which I've been using since with limited success. I've also been relying on regular use of my albuterol inhaler and nebulizer. Thursday, we had a wind storm go through with hurricane force winds coming down from the mountains. For the most part I stayed out of the wind. I did have to go to and from work, but I wore a mask with a charcoal filter to help. Yesterday, I woke up with severe asthma issues. I used my Albuterol upon waking and it didn't help. I was coughing so badly that I couldn't stop or get a good breath. It gets scary waiting to see how bad the attack will be.
I've been using my nebulizer every 4 hours. I actually called in sick from work yesterday. While I've been very miserable, my Pulmonologist cautioned me from going on Prednisone unless my Peak Flow gets below 250. For those of you who know me, I don't usually rely on peak flow readings as I'm a pretty good judge of knowing my asthma severity based upon how I'm feeling. I actually have been monitoring my peak flow and it was down around 300. This is low for me, but not critically low. While I know I'm following my asthma action plan as I should, it is hard when I feel this bad. Today is a bit better, but I just wish I would improve quicker. I considered going back into my doctor or to emergency, but based upon my past experiences I know I'm not quite bad enough for emergency care and that I'm already on a pretty good treatment routine. It is just tough going through the experience.
I really feel for you, living in a place where those beautiful icy days are going to wreak havoc on your lungs! I only recently discovered I have mild asthma and I don't live in a town that gets that sub freezing cold air, but it's cold and damp enough and people burn their fires to heat their houses and it's making me cough!
I hope you find some relief soon, that must be so scary if you can't rely on Prednisone for emergencies!
Well, I think winter is winning. I finally gave in and went back to the doctor. I'm on a short dose of Prednisone. Ongoing asthma flares really can zap my energy and wear me out. I'm hoping this will help me get back on track. We have a new inversion setting in which is expected to last for a while so I know my lungs won't be getting a break for a while since we are already back at moderate air quality. In addition to the medication, I did get myself a new mask this year which has a charcoal filter. It helps some, but isn't perfect.
For those of you who don't know, an inversion is where cold air gets trapped below warm air in the mountain valleys. When this happens, it allows particulates to build up in the lower air until a storm/weather front comes in to clean out the trapped air. As inversions go on, the air becomes so yucky that at times we can't even see the mountains in front of us.
I grew up in warm, humid climates, but developed my asthma after I moved to the higher altitude and dryer climate so I'm not sure how I'd fair in the humidity. I suspect not very well. I don't have too many problems with very hot dry air though which does surprise me.
So sorry to hear that you are suffering with your asthma.
I have been on xolair since this past Feb and things are better in the last few
months for me so I am hoping it is working. I have been having alot of problems with acid reflux in the last few weeks but my asthma is okay.
I hope things improve for you very soon.
I am keeping my fingers that the xolair is going to help me through my worst time
which is winter.
Take care of yourself.
The Following User Says Thank You to klynn1960 For This Useful Post: MountainReader (12-07-2011)
I've been on Xolair for over a year and a half. It has made a world of difference in my asthma. Winter is my worst time and I actually made it through winter last year without a major flare. I guess that is why this flare is frustrating. Unfortunately I had a bit of an upper respiratory infection about a month before this flare hit and had just gotten over it the week before so my lungs were a bit susceptable when this hit.
On Xolair, I was actually able to go off of ALL my allergy and asthma meds for about 8/9 months this year because my asthma had improved so much. I had been on Allegra, Flonase, Astelin, Advair 500/50 and Singulair for many years. I did wean myself down off of the Advair though. When this flare hit, I actually had to have my doc call in refills for my Advair and nebulizer Albuterol because my refills had expired.
At least I have a good asthma action plan in place so I knew what to do.
I hope the Xolair helps you as much as it has for me. I really didn't have a lot of faith that it would really work when I started it since I always thought of my asthma as more environmentally triggered, but it was a very pleasant and welcome surprise when it worked so well.
Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't consider moving. I know I'll have allergy and asthma issues, but it is hard when I can't avoid breathing in bad air. This current inversion seems stuck over us. Originally they said a storm next Thursday was expected to clear the air out, but it now looks like it is fizzling. If that happens I'll be in the bad air (red alert) through the entire next week. I've finished my steroids, but my cough is still pretty intense. It really is wearing me out...not to speak about all the pulled muscles I have now from 2 weeks of the asthma cough already. It has been a long time since I've needed to rely on regular use of the albuterol this long. I can only imagine how bad I'd be if I hadn't had control prior to now...
Whatever you do, don't move to Las Vegas. This place has so much dust and crud in the air. Plus the extremely hot temperatures in the summer, the pollen, the wind...you name it. This place is an asthmatics worse nightmare. I think most of us struggle at one time or another in the winter time. I know I have been having issues lately since the cold has set in. I know I wish all the time that I could get my asthma under control so I can have energy and be able to do things without feeling like I am being held back. I have only had it for a couple months so I am still working on getting things under control. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Much love and hugs!
It is interesting how our asthma responds when we are in different locations. Ironically, I spent a week in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving and did pretty well. When I got off of the plane from Las Vegas to Utah and walked outside into the inversion it triggered my asthma something fierce. It hasn't let up since.
For some reason, I usually spend time in Las Vegas during mid-July and always seem to hit your record breaking heat. I know it is intense and usually plan to spend all my time indoors when I visit.
I completely agree about the energy thing. It has me worn down a lot right now. In addition to not feeling up to doing some things, there is a constant worry of triggering the flare worse at the same time.
I finally gave in today and my doctor prescribed me a prescription cough medicine to help knock me out a bit so I can get a bit of rest. I just wish I could use it during the day. I wouldn't be able to fuction with that though.
Yes, the cold air triggers my attacks, but to avoid this I just put a thick scarf around my face and nose when I go into the the cold air and breathe through that. This has worked for me 100 of the time so far.