Bonfires, fireworks and asthma – not the best combination

Smoke never used to be a huge trigger for my asthma. It used to make me get slightly tight and maybe cough but it was never a massive trigger like chlorine or humidity are for me.

Today is bonfire night which is basically a night where everyone goes crazy with fireworks and bonfires (surprisingly).

Today I also had my driving lesson (which, may I say, was chaotic due to all the fire engines and ambulances on shouts for, most likely, fire related injuries and probably respiratory problems too). Now normally where I live is quite busy during bonfire nights with a lot of fireworks being set off, but today I drove past 3 huge bonfires (all of which the fire brigade was in attendance for) and the smoke was so thick everywhere. It was like driving through thick fog.

I seriously didn’t think that my lungs would be too bothered by all the smoke as, in the past I have been okay, otherwise I would have mentioned this to my asthma nurse yesterday and not decreased my Symbicort dose to 2 inhalations twice a day, today. I posted this on Facebook, which pretty much explains today’s situation:

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Luckily, I did take my inhaler with my while I was out driving, and I did already have 4 puffs (400mcg) of ventolin on board due to my lungs being sucky (from the smoke) in the hour leading up to my lesson. And fortunately because I did have my inhaler with my, I was able to prevent an attack, although I was wheezing and coughing up a storm and it did feel like an elephant had been sitting on my chest.

Today I have taken a total of 800mcg of ventolin and I have also increased my Symbicort up to 4 inhalations twice a day, just until my lungs settle down and I can reduce it back down to 3 inhalations then (fingers crossed) down to 2 inhalations. I was also trying to decide what to do regarding my ventolin usage, as I really don’t want my lungs to get worse, and although I am pretty good for about 4 hours after taking ventolin, I can still feel it wearing off and then I’m practically back to square one. But I have spoken to my friends with asthma and although my original plan was to take 4 puffs of ventolin every 4 hours (my old plan says 4-10 puffs every 4 hours if I need it) I have decided that PRN is probably best and so I will be taking ventolin as and when I need it. Thank you Annie for helping me out with this!

I will be honest, today I did underestimate my asthma, and I am really kicking myself for it. I tried to reduce my Symbicort too quickly and I chose a stupid day to reduce it. I didn’t think that the smoke would affect me, and when it did, I didn’t cancel my driving lesson and stay in the house with the windows closed. And I didn’t anticipate how unpredictable asthma can be. These are all the things I would have done when I was newly diagnosed, but now, I should at least be able to draw from past experiences and use some common sense. At least now, I know that bonfires and fireworks DO affect me, and so I can avoid them in the future.

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