FINDING OUT YOU’VE BEEN USING YOUR INHALER WRONG – AFTER 16 YEARS
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was a toddler. Many ER visits, midnight trips to my pediatrician and several close calls later (more blogs on those to come!), I was finally prescribed a rescue inhaler when my pediatrician felt that I could use it. I hated using it in public though, so although I carried it with me, I very rarely used it in front of others. In my early teens I was prescribed a preventive inhaler – to be used on a schedule. Although I took this one at home, I hated using it because I felt like it left a really bad taste in my mouth.
Fast forward through my later teenage years – I was active in sports in high school – representing my school at a national level in both badminton and volleyball (why is that important? Read on to find out …).
I still had crippling bouts of asthma attacks, but I tried not to let my condition slow me down. Fast forward some more; after graduating from University – where I continued active participation in sports, and working for a year, I had an asthma attack triggered by a bad cold. And neither my doctor nor I could figure out why my medication was not working, and why we couldn’t get it to break. Finally, after threatening me with hospitalization, he asked to see me use my inhaler. Sigh … you can guess what happened next. I had been using it wrong – despite years of playing sports where timing is crucial, it seemed I had no coordination when it came to taking my inhaler. Turns out tasting the medicine in your mouth is a sign that you’re not coordinating inhalation with pump …
So, in my early twenties I had to start using a spacer to train myself to use my inhaler properly. To say it was embarrassing to pull this out in public was an understatement. Now I look around and there’s so much information out there, including this great series of videos by the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/inhaler_video/. If you’re asthmatic – there’s never been a better time for easy access to great helpful tools. Take full advantage of them – you don’t want to be like me!