World Asthma Day
World Asthma Day was actually earlier this month, on May 5, so I'm a little late to honor it, date-wise. But we at ClearClub feel it's always a good time to take care of all aspects of your health, not just your dental issues that our custom-fitted mouth guards help with.
Asthma is a pretty serious malady that, unfortunately, I have. So I know all about it, and how to deal with it. I didn’t have it as a kid; it began only about a dozen years ago, which means it can happen to anyone at any time.
I used to be embarrassed about it; I never wanted anyone to know. And whenever I had an asthma attack in front of anyone, I apologized up and down for scaring them.
But I recently had a bad one in front of a new grown-up pal, and she really freaked-out. She didn’t know what to do for me, and I know she felt helpless. So, since so many people seem to have asthma nowadays, I figured maybe I’d do all us asthmatics a favor, and educate as many of you as I can.
As common as asthma may be (approximately twenty-five million Americans suffer from the chronic condition), having an attack is one of the scariest things you can experience. Have you ever seen those billboard ads that state, “When I have an asthma attack, I feel like a fish with no water?” None of us can know what a fish with no water really feels like, but if it's anything like what we humans experience when we can’t breathe, it’s horrific. I’ve actually stood on the furniture during an attack, hoping that there is more air up there. It’s not a rational thing to do, but you see your whole life passing in front of you, and your body just reacts in a desperate manner.
But I’m not here to complain; I’m here to tell you what to do to help your friends, or even strangers, if you witness them in these dire circumstances.
First of all, if you have asthma, please tell all your friends ahead of time what to do for you if you're having an attack. On the flip side, when you learn a friend struggles with it, ask them right away what they'd like you to do for them, should an attack occur in your company.
Asthmatics should always—I repeat, always—have an inhaler on them. Even with a very small purse, an inhaler is more important than even lipstick! (And I say this as a girly-girl.)
I tell my friends that no matter where we are, if I don't
have mine for some reason, ask others loudly for theirs. So many people have asthma nowadays that there should always be help in a crowd. Inhalers are magic. Just one or two puffs make you breathe again.
And watch-out for people who try to give you any unknown medication. That happened to me on a plane, and when the stewardess called for a doctor, they did not check his credentials, and it turns-out he was a...vitamin salesman! He kept trying to make me take something from his line!
Also, everyone should always be aware of where the closest hospital is, for all purposes. If an inhaler doesn't work, a hospital is your only other option. And get there very quickly!
To all people who suffer—the second you feel an attack coming on, don't be embarrassed to bother others. This is your life we're talking about! Leave a theatre, call for help out loud, bother strangers, stop a car, do anything to help yourself breathe again!
So the lesson from this story is that if you see someone having an attack–friend, foe, or stranger–scream out for someone to hand you their albuterol spray. Unless you have an ambulance right near-by, who can get them to a hospital in a few minutes, that’s your important first course of action.
Now to the public at large, there are several important things you can do to help others breathe. Chief among them is to stop wearing fragrances out in public! At least stop the heavy-handed applications of them.
And please stop smoking cigarettes, period. If you don’t want to save your own life, please at least think of the other people you could be harming.