The September Asthma Spike

As many of you probably know, the month of September has been been known as the Asthma Spike. The “so-called asthma spike – the day on which many parents will show up at the hospital with school-age children in the throes of asthma attacks” is a common thing, as the return to school and more exposure to allergens, like dust can cause youth’ asthma to flare up.

How do you try to prevent this from happening? Do you have a plan with your doctor? Perhaps you have discussed a plan with your pulmonary specialist or allergist. Do you feel your lungs are getting the best attention they can? When you have asthma and you know what triggers it, being proactive is the way to go!

Allergic Living has a great article on this, I suggest having a read :-)

http://allergicliving.com/index.php/2010/07/02/asthma-spike-in-september/

Back to School and Asthma

With classes approaching, asthmatics (children and young adults alike) will be faced with unique challenges and awareness of the triggers will be of great importance. How have you prepared for your child’ return to school in the past? If you are a University student, what does back to classes mean to you, that is if you were off for the summer…

I know I had a tough time, especially during pollen season. However, there is usually a work around, and hopefully some of your professors are understanding and willing to accommodate. In my own experience, discussing your allergies and asthma with the professor at the start of the course and/or making an appointment to talk with them during their office hours is always a GREAT idea!

Here’s an interesting article about back to school with asthma. http://www.fortmcmurraytoday.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3598314

Asthma attacks and Flare-ups

Have you or someone you know ever had to be on prednisone? After such a flare-up were you able to fully identify what the triggers were that lead to the asthma attack? Most of the time it is hard to know EXACTLY what the trigger/triggers were. Sometimes it is a combination of things and our body is not able to handle it.

The last 10 days have been hard as I had a flare up with my allergies and asthma which has resulted in my being on prednisone. As annoying as the side effects can be, I am glad to be feeling better. This is the first serious flare-up for me in quite some time and it makes me realize that though I have lots of support, a great allergist and family doctor, there are still some actions I can take, which would make me even better prepared for any similar attacks in the future.

Do you have an adequate “Asthma Team” in place? Here in Victoria, BC we have an Asthma Clinic which has a pulmonary specialist on call. Do you have a pulmonary specialist? What is your action plan, or the action plan for your son/daughter or loved one? Having a proper plan in place is very important. Do you have a peak flow meter and know how to use it? Knowing what your lung capacity is when you are feeling at your very best and when you are feeling tight provides a great way to monitor your lungs. The American Association of Allergy Asthma & Immunology has a great article on peak flow meters and how important they are; “A peak flow meter for asthma is like a thermometer for a fever. It helps monitor what’s going on inside your body.” AAAAI

I highly recommend having a glance through National Asthma Patient Alliance – Asthma Society of Canada‘s website. Do you know many others who struggle with asthma? Are you wondering how others deal with their asthma and how they might have overcome some of the challenges we often face on a day to day basis? Have a read through some real-life stories on the Asthma Society of Canada’s website! It’s always nice to know you are not the only one :)

 

 

Allergies, Asthma and Post Secondary Education

I am wondering whether there are any scholarships or awards out there for Canadian students and post-secondary education. I seem to have come across a few in the USA and the UK, however am having a harder time finding such opportunities in Canada. The only one I know of which is 100% related to living with allergies and Anaphylaxis is the Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award.

Do you know of any?

Schools and epinephrine

The following article is a good read, which provokes the question; should schools be allowed to stock epi-pens? What are your thoughts? Please share.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/05/07/should-school-nurses-stock-epi-pens.html

I think that schools should be able to stock epi-pens because there are situations where a child may be reacting for the first time. Maybe the question becomes “how far is the school from the closest hospital?”. However in all honesty, I don’t know why there would be issues in having them on hand, “just in case”. I do not see there being any harm in having them. I think it would make staff and parents more comfortable knowing that they had an option if for some reason the allergic kid forgot their epi-pen that day, or someone went into Anaphylactic shock for the first time in their lives. There is nothing worse than being completely helpless when someone needs aid. I have had a handful of anaphylactic reactions and they can get bad REALLY fast! Without a dose of epinephrine nothing else that would have helped me.

Anaphylaxis Law for Quebec Schools – Megann’s Law

Parents, friends & family of allergic youth,

Similar to Sabrina’s Law ( http://www.anaphylaxis.ca/en/resources/sabrinas_law.html ) which was put in place after the tragic loss of a young girl in Ontario in 2003, there is a campaign in place to establish a similar Law in Quebec Schools to insure there are clear action plans and protocols in schools. This campaign has come about after a 6-year-old girl named Megann Ayotte Lefort suffered a fatal asthmatic and allergic reaction in Montreal, September 16,2010.

Even if we do not all live in Quebec, Canada, if we all write in, and show how important such a law is and the necessity of it, our voices will help other families and children in Quebec and one would hope that the more laws created in this country, the stronger influence we will have in creating ones closer to home and perhaps others will be created in different countries. Policy makers need to know how CRUCIAL such laws are.

Please share this link with family and friends and help us insure legislation.
Allergic Living, Anaphylaxis Canada, AQAA / Quebec Food Allergy Association, Asthma and Allergies Quebec and a few other organizations have made it simple. They have created a sample letter you can use and personalize if you don’t quite know what to write.
In English: http://allergicliving.com/petitions/quebec-schools/
Also available in French: http://allergicliving.com/petitions/ecoles-du-quebec/

If you are wanting to share this with your community, here is a campaign poster you can use; http://allergicliving.com/petitions/quebec-schools/campaign-poster.pdf

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. As an advocate in the community for allergy and asthma awareness and support, I am more than willing to answer questions or even help with writing your letter.

erika@livingwithallergies.ca

Take a stand. Take action now. Let’s make this world a safer place to live together.