Allergies and Asthma

For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from allergies and asthma. In elementary school I was tested for allergies. Small drops were placed on my back and I remember being so itchy. Everything that was tested on me I was allergic to. Cats, dogs, dust, trees, grasses, hay, chickens, all of these things plus many more I’m allergic to.

Add on top of this, asthma. When I was young and I would find it difficult to breathe I was told to try to relax and control my breathing. At the time there was no rescue inhaler. I was even hospitalized because of my asthma on more than one occasion. But since those days I now carry an Albuterol rescue inhaler with me every where I go. But there have also been times when it would get lost or I would run out of medication, or worse – my asthma would be so out of control that the Albuterol would no longer work – this would sometimes lead me to visit the emergency room.

I learned over the years to try to avoid things that I am allergic to. It’s called preventive maintenance. Many people enjoy having pets like cats and dogs, and they make wonderful pets. But when coming in close contact with these animals or their hair/fur causes you to no longer be able to exhale the carbon dioxide from your lungs and you start to asphyxiate, it becomes quite easy to avoid visiting people with pets. It’s not an excuse to not visit people, it’s a simple health factor. I can only dream how nice it must be to cuddle with a cat or dog and not have to worry about the consequences of asthma and allergies.

A little over two weeks ago I began taking allergy medicine to get into my system because I knew Spring was finally here and that means pollen will be in the air in full force. So far things have been going well with the exception of my eyes watering and being completely blood-shot. The pollen in the air here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is extremely high right now. In fact, the city of Harrisburg is number 20 on this list of “The Most Challenging Places to Live with Spring Allergies” provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

For the most part my allergy medicine is in control of my allergy symptoms. But this only masks the warning symptoms of my asthma. For me, my allergies often spark my asthma making it difficult to breathe. And this has occurred over the last two days. I would feel a shortness of breath. As I simply attempt to exhale all of my breath I can easily hear my wheeze. A quick inhale of my Albuterol inhaler, hold my breath in for a while, then slowly exhale, and I have a feeling of being able to breathe once again. Sometimes this will lead to a bit of nervousness and/or anxiety (a side effect of the medication). And in the back of my mind I know that if I need to use the Albuterol too often, then my asthma is not under control and I need help quickly.

When the weather seems to be so nice it seems to be only natural to open the windows and enjoy the nice breeze as it flows through the house. But lurking in that air is pollen. The simple ingredient to my breathing problems. So it becomes a gamble with opening windows to let the air in, or running air conditioners to filter the air and control the humidity. One thing is certain, this is a difficult time for me and my health.

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