Category Archives: allergy

Asthma action plans and vaccinations

First of all, I apologise for not finishing RABlog week… My life is super hectic right now with the uni work mounting up and living with a chronic illness so sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the blog too.

Today I had an appointment with my new asthma nurse to see about getting an asthma action plan. I have found that recently my asthma has been a lot more controlled than it has over the past year and I am having virtually no symptoms unless I am sick… which I was the other week when I made this appointment. Stupidly I hadn’t thought about getting an asthma action plan earlier so I pretty much just survived on Ventolin because I wasn’t ill enough to see the GP or asthma nurse.

This new asthma nurse is amazing. She checked my inhaler technique without my asking [it’s always better to know that you are doing something like this correctly, even if you have been doing it numerous times a day for years] and she didn’t put a huge emphasis on peak flow numbers. My new asthma action plan doesn’t even contain any peak flow readings to work off because my nurse would prefer me to treat based on symptoms and not to get too caught up with readings. She did ask me to check my peak flow a couple of times a week though because this can provide an early warning for whether my asthma is getting worse or not. We also discussed my treatment options. She asked me whether I would want to try the lower dose of Seretide even though when I was on the equivalent dose of Flutiform my chest got bad again… I agreed to give it a go because I really don’t like taking inhalers/medication at all, and if there is a chance that my asthma could be controlled with a lower dose then that would be awesome. I have been given a prescription for 3 months of Seretide 50/25 to take, and I still have 3 months worth of Seretide 125/25 so I have been told to switch up and down in accordance to my new plan. And if I find that my asthma does become worse again on the lower dose then my asthma nurse is happy to switch me back up to the higher dose. She explained that some people need the higher dose to stay stable, and it is better to have he best control possible over asthma than to get caught up trying to reduce the dose when you can’t.

I also got given the flu jab and the pneumonia vaccination… one shot in each arm. Surprisingly the flu jab hurt a lot more even though the pneumonia vaccination needle was larger. I can’t remember if I wrote about my experience with the flu jab last year but I ended up with an incredibly itchy and hot red circle around the injection site last year, which popped up a couple of days after the jab. I have the same red circle at both injection sites this year but the rash came up within an hour of getting the jab. Thankfully it isn’t too itchy right now but I am keeping a close eye on them. I presume it is just going to stay as a local site reaction because I haven’t got any other symptoms apart from being slightly achy which is awesome!

Halloween pranksters – egging

Throughout the lead up to Halloween there was a lot of things popping up on my Facebook feed about The Teal Pumpkin Project, which is essentially an initiative that enables kids [and adults] with food allergies to go trick or treating for non-food treats. All you had to do is paint your pumpkin teal to show that you were offering non-food alternatives to the usual sweets and chocolates and people who were avoiding foods could come to you and know that they could enjoy themselves while being safe. Personally, I think that was a really clever project and it has allowed so many more kids to be included in activities without having to worry about whether they were going to react to the treats they were being given. You guys might find it strange that I am writing about this today when Halloween was on Friday, and in fairness it is strange, but I am not writing this blog to talk about The Teal Pumpkin project. I’m writing this blog to talk about something else, related to Halloween, that is happening more and more commonly nowadays… Egging.

For those of you who don’t know what egging is, you’re lucky! It is basically when someone chucks a raw egg at your house… or even worse, actually at you. Although I have known what egging is for a long, long time I hadn’t actually experienced it myself until Friday. To be honest it sounds rather funny [or hilarious], and I am not even angry that a guy ran up to me and smash an egg on my head [even though it hurt so bad at the time, I thought I had been glassed]. In fact I am grateful it happened to me, because if it had been my friend who was standing right next to me she would have ended up in hospital. Why? Because she is severely allergic to egg.

There is so much awareness about safety when it comes to trick and treating but when the tricks can cause people serious harm then where is the fun in that? Unfortunately people don’t think enough about allergies, and when they aren’t directly affected many people forget that other people DO have allergies. I have come to the conclusion that when drink is involved people become selfish and are willing to ruin people’s nights out by egging them and they don’t think about the consequences at all, all they think about is how to look “cool” in front of their friends, and how to have a good time… Although I can’t see how egging someone is entertaining.

I understand that people do get pranked on Halloween but in the future I really hope that people will try to have fun in a way that doesn’t put other people in danger. You can’t tell if someone has an allergy, it’s an invisible illness! Please don’t assume that other people don’t have an allergy, just because you don’t have one yourself.

 

…98 …99 …and 100

…98 …99 …and 100! That’s right readers I have finally reached 100 posts! It has taken me almost a year to get to 100 posts when other can get to 100 in a few months but I still think that this is a pretty special moment.

I was thinking, just the other day about how this blog has helped me connect with so many inspirational people! At this time last year I would have never thought that I would regularly use social networking sites to talk to people with chronic illnesses. To chat to someone about their condition, learning more about what it is like to live with diabetes, CF, brittle asthma, stills disease and many others. But most of all, I have got to know so many new friends, who have so much in common. I have stumbled across a community that has a space for everyone, and a community that is always there, 24/7, from all nationalities.
A community who is there, no matter what.

I have always said that I can’t stand it when people are ignorant of an illness, and the purpose of this blog is to raise the profile of some of these conditions, and also to tell the tale of my chronic conditions. I’ve made this blog personal, and through it, so many people have reached out to me. I am so, so grateful to everyone who has supported me, and MyLungsMyLife to our 100th post and I hope to continue to 200 and beyond… That was a little bit of a Buzz Lightyear moment then.

Symbicort and heart palpitations

Over the last few weeks I have been getting more and more heart palpitations (when your heart rate become more noticeable). For me my heart rate doesn’t go very fast, maybe around 120bpm but each beat is so strong it feels like my heart is going to jump out of my chest. (I also get tachycardia where my heart goes pretty fast, 200bpm or higher but this post is only on the palpitations).

So last weekend I woke up in the middle of the night with palpitations which is a first for me and that really freaked me out. I have had more palpitations since I increased the Symbicort to 3 puffs a day so I figured it can’t hurt to miss one dose and see what happens. So I missed my morning dose and although I was still getting palpitations they weren’t as bad as before.

My peak flow is a fairly good indication of if I am going to have an attack (unless I end up coming into contact with a trigger I didn’t anticipate) and my peak flow was hanging around 350 even after a missed dose and my lungs were feeling good. So I figured that I would still be okay to miss another dose.

I missed 3 doses of my Symbicort in total. That’s 900mcg of budesonide (steroid) and 54mcg of formoterol (LABA). Quite a lot if you think about it. I can usually feel it if I miss or am late with my Symbicort but I didn’t really feel it until the evening of the next day. My peak flow was around 300 by that time which isn’t terrible, about 65-75% of my best depending what you class as my best (I still think 450 is my best but my asthma nurse thinks 400 is my best). So I decided it was time to start taking the Symbicort again. And since then I haven’t had too many issues with palpitations!

I am still pretty certain that the Symbicort was playing a role in the palpitations by I think extreme stress was the major factor in the palpitations and it was just made worse by the Symbicort.

I am due for an appointment with my asthma nurse this month and there are a few things I would like to discuss with her:
1) what should I do if i get these palpitations again?
2) I really want to go back onto normal ventolin MDI inhalers rather than my DPI that I am on now

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3) I am wanting to trial a prescription antihistamine for when I go swimming or teaching at a swimming pool to see if it will help with the skin reaction and asthma issues triggered by the chlorine
4) and of course, I need to get my flu jab!