A wet start to the week…

Today we woke up and opened the door to check the weather. Turns out today is a “heavy rain” day. One of many living here on the west coast of Canada.

On days like today I am always very aware of my breathing as after rain there is often mold. There are giant puddles everywhere! Days like today I think of how much fun we had as kids jumping in puddles and the water didn’t bother us in the least.

Allergy injection for me tonight. Then I am finally at my maintenance dose. After  3 months of trying to get to maintenance, I will be able to take the maximum dose, on a monthly basis, I am finally there!!!  Relief. Regular allergy injections definitely make my schedule busier as I have to wait at the walk-in clinic to get them. However, it is well worth the wait as the doctor administering the injections does her best to administer in a way that rarely triggers a reaction. I am fortunate to have found a really good doctor at the walk-in.

Let’s ring in the New Year!

Erika Profile - China Beach

Thank you for all your support and encouragement in 2014! It has been one busy year and I would not be where I am right now without you. Thank you to my family, friends and fellow readers. :)

I have some great plans for 2015 as my #1 goal to raise awareness still stands. I am planning some giveaways and other surprises for 2015 and my question to you is…

What would you like for 2015. What questions do you have? Who would you like to write a guest blog post? If you would like to share a story or tips in 2015 or know someone who may want to, please send me an email at erika.ladouceur@livingwithallergies.ca or submit a contact form on my website. I would love to have various guest posts to share different angles of perhaps similar stories.

Wishing you a safe New Years’ celebration tonight with your family and friends. Let’s make 2015 a year to remember! Wishing you all great health and happiness in 2015.

– Erika

Safe Holidays?

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How were your Holidays? Were you able to eat delicious food surrounded by those you love without a reaction. Thanks to wonderful friends and family who truly understand my allergies, I had a reaction free Christmas. Even my environmental allergies were well controlled as I avoided any environments which might have triggered a reaction.

If you and your family went to friends and family for dinner, did your hosts understand your food allergies? If they had pets, did they understand how your asthma and allergies would be affected?

Hopefully you had great safe holidays and that New Years will also be a safe one for you. If you are going somewhere, please prepare ahead and communicate your allergies and the level of severity. Better to be safe.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Erika

 

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday season!

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Remember to be safe and not take any risks with food that you are allergic to. You do not want to end up in the ER on Christmas Eve. I’ve been there, done that and do not wish that upon anyone. We spent December 24th driving to the hospital and all evening in the ER for observation. Please be cautious when eating away from home. There is no such thing as being “too careful”. Ask lots of questions, bring food you know you can eat and let others around you know about your allergies and that you carry and epinepherine auto-injector so that someone can help you if you have a severe reaction. Plan ahead.

As for environmental triggers, speak up and let others know when you are having a reaction or your asthma is flaring up due to pets, smoke, incense or candles.

 

Happy holidays!

Erika

Scent-sitive – Tips to making those of us with Asthma feel safer during the Holidays

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Scented candles are one of many triggers that can cause a healthy person like me to have an Asthma attack. Many people do not understand that the chemicals, fragrances and scents that go into these candles to make them smell like cranberry and orange, pumpkin and spice, or vanilla (only a few mentioned) can trigger wheezing and serious troubles breathing for people like me. People who are Asthmatic.

I have always found it hard to explain to people that the scented candles are triggering my Asthma and are the culprit. Many do not believe a candle could do such a thing. But it does. Incense is just the same, and often worse, as it will give off more smoke. Don’t get me wrong, I love scented candles; my lungs don’t.

During the holidays if you are hosting and you know that one of your guests has environmental Allergies and/or Asthma please ask them if scented candles and incense are one of their triggers. There is a very good chance they are. Holidays can be one of the most stressful times for many of us who live with Asthma, environmental Allergies and food Allergies. If someone has told you that candles and incense trigger them, please respect that.

In the simplest of terms, think of scented candles and incense as you would perfumes and colognes. If friends and family have expressed that perfumes set off their Asthma, then candles and incense will likely have the same effect.

Immunotherapy injections at a walk-in clinic

I have been going to a local walk-in clinic here in Victoria for my dust mite immunotherapy injections as it is more convenient. I can go after dinner so it does not affect my workday. I was hesitant about going to a walk-in because all walk-ins I had ever been to, on more than 20 different occassions had given me the injection at a different place on my arm compared to where my GP and my Allergist gives me the injections.

Now if you do not get allergy injections, the difference in injection site can actually mean a larger reaction, which was always true for me at walk-in clinics. About a month ago I decided i would go to the walk-in. I lucked out! The doctor at the walk-in was very nice, understanding and talked to me about subcutaneous injections. She helped me better understand why some reactions to the injections might be worse than others. I now go for my immunotherapy injections when she is there. Have you found a good doctor at a walk-in?

Letter from a mother who lost her son due to a fatal asthma attack at age 3 – An email from the Asthma Society of Canada

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Dear Erika,

The holidays are supposed to be such a happy family time. But they can be heartbreaking when you’ve lost a loved one, especially a child.

We lost our beloved son, Emerson, last December due to a fatal asthma attack. He was only three.

I desperately want to make sure my family’s tragedy doesn’t happen to anyone else. The Asthma Society of Canada is working hard to make that happen.

Erika, please give a gift that really matters this holiday season. Your donation to the Asthma Society of Canada’s Holiday Appeal will ensure that other families receive the information and education they need to recognize signs of the disease and how to prevent a tragedy like ours.

Emerson was such a joy. He was always up for anything and afraid of nothing. Our beautiful boy wanted to be just like his brother, almost two years older than him.

Emerson had his first chest infection at 11 months. He got a ‘puffer,’ which we then used whenever he got a cold or cough. He would use it for two weeks at a time, and it always worked to relieve his cough and chest congestion.

Otherwise, he got the usual coughs and colds, but nothing that seemed unusual. He was a happy and healthy child.

That all changed last December. He caught a cold, and as always with Emerson, it went to his chest. We took him to the urgent care clinic, then a pediatrician, where his puffers were increased, then changed. Over the next two days, he had severe bouts of coughing, sometimes coughing so hard he threw up.

During the night of December 15, he began crying and coughing heavily. He was so wheezy and congested, we decided he needed to go to the Emergency Department. We wondered if he might be having an asthma attack.

Supporters like you have done so much to educate Canadians about the disease through the work of the Asthma Society of Canada. But there’s still more that needs to be done. Thank you for being part of the solution.

At Emergency, they saw Emerson quickly, and gave him three nebulizers (a mask that blows tiny drops of medication deep into his lungs). While receiving them, he was happy and his chest was clear.

The hospital performed an x-ray on his chest and the doctors said there was nothing obvious on them, possibly the beginning of bronchitis. They felt I was doing everything I could at home. Unsatisfied, I planned to call the pediatrician as soon as we got home.

On the way home, Emerson coughed non-stop and kept asking for his puffer. I stopped and gave it to him, but it didn’t help.

If I had known more about asthma, I would have turned right around and gone back to the hospital. I know now that someone who doesn’t respond to the puffers needs to be seen right away.

A few minutes before we got home, Emerson’s coughing stopped. I thought he had fallen asleep in the car, as he had done so many times before.

When I went to get him out of his car seat, Emerson was not breathing. I called 911 and started CPR, but he never came back. The autopsy later confirmed Emerson died from an asthma attack.

Emerson had never suffered an asthma attack before. I think if I had been better educated about the disease, I would not have left the hospital that day. Maybe our sweet little Emerson would still be here.

Our family is not alone in our grief. In Canada, 250 people die from asthma attacks each year. But you can help change that. Please send your generous gift to this Holiday Appeal to ensure other families have happy holidays for many years to come.

 

Thank you,

Sheri Olain

Emerson’s mom