Living With Asthma
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Health and Wellness

Living With Asthma

Asthma is serious, but doesn't have to be hard.

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Living With Asthma
AIS Clinic

I'm sure we have all seen inhalers. Growing up with asthma, I have seen and used well over my fair share! But, how does someone develop asthma? Well, it's actually a combination of a few factors, but each one on their own can cause an asthma attack. For myself, I most likely developed asthma because when I was born, my lungs were actually underdeveloped. When I was in the womb and very young, I was exposed to excessive amounts of secondhand cigarette smoke. Another way I developed asthma is that I contracted pneumonia at a very young age and had it for an extended period of time. Due to these factors, my doctors concluded those to be the reasons for me having asthma. But, what type? There are several types like allergic asthma, non-allergic asthma, exercise-induced asthma, cough-variant asthma, occupational asthma, and nighttime (nocturnal) asthma. I was diagnosed with non-allergic asthma.

So, what's it like having severe asthma? Well, it hasn't stopped me from doing things in my life. Ever since I could remember, I was always doing breathing treatments in the winter, and had my emergency inhaler on hand in the summer. I constantly have mild asthma attacks, which is OK as long as my symptoms can be treated using my regular inhaler and the symptoms start to subside within minutes of inhaling my steroids (that is what is inside an inhaler).

There are a lot of triggers for my asthma, so in breathing therapy my doctors taught me breathing exercises to help calm myself so I would use my inhaler less (too much use is bad for you). Lucky for me, my asthma has never hindered my activities. I played basketball from sixth grade to junior year with virtually no problem. I always had to take my inhaler 30 minutes before games and practices. Although it did limit the amount of time I could be outside snowboarding and sled riding, I still enjoyed it nonetheless. It does become difficult to breathe if it is cold, windy, humid, or if the air is filled with chemicals/strong smells.

In the winter, my chest becomes so tight that it physically hurts me. But, once I am in a warm environment, the rapid temperature change can actually make my asthma worse and I become short of breath. In the summer when it is hot and humid outside, it feels like I am breathing in mud sometimes. Then, once you introduce pollen, it's a whole other ballgame. If it's too windy outside, like my campus which can become incredibly windy because of the ocean, it sucks the breath right out of me and I can't seem to take a breath deep enough. Another huge issue I have is with strong smells. Strong perfumes and sprays can trigger a massive asthma attack, so please be mindful before showering in your perfume or cologne. In middle school I had a big problem with this because of all the middle school boys spraying their Axe Body Spray all over their lockers and each other. At home, my mom has to be mindful of what kind of candles she purchases and I'm sad to say there are a few stores I have never been brave enough to walk into for fear of having an asthma attack. I'm also allergic to cats and if I am around them for too long, my chest will begin to tighten. Once my chest starts to relax, then I begin coughing up a decent amount of mucus, but this is the only time I do this.

If this sounds like you, I urge you to tell your doctor! Also, if you have asthma and you are noticing your asthma becoming worse, please get tested again. I noticed this a few years ago and when I got tested again, it turned out my lungs had an actual medical disorder that triggered my asthma. Now that I have been diagnosed, I was prescribed a new inhaler and was instructed to take it up to four times a day if need be. Asthma is perfectly normal and it won't put a dent in your life, I promise. So get out there and live your life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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