Winter is a time that everyone prepares for, whether it is stocking up on cold or flu remedies, starting to take vitamin C, looking out the hat, scarf and gloves or even just switching the central heating on. These would be the “normal” things anyone would be doing but when you asthma that is some what less than controlled, Winter is an entirely different kettle of fish. I put “normal” in inverted commas because everyone will have their own variation and everyones normal is different.
This winter has certainly started a little differently thanks to Hurricane Ophelia who was kind enough to cause great dust clouds and saharan dust being swept across the country so I hid inside while I waited for the winds to die down andante there were and it was “safe” to go outside I dug out my ski buff which wold filter the air as I was breathing! I potentially looked very suspicious wrapped up with a buff over my face in what was fairly mild weather and not weather I would ever have thought to wear a scarf in. Thankfully it has abated and the weather is more settled even though mild for mid october.
The next end of September beginning of October event is the annual flu jag. A must have for anyone who has a chronic disease such as asthma, diabetes, kidney failure. I also got my punomvax jab again as couldn’t remember when I last had it. There is a lot of question about having the flu vaccine or not having it. For me its a given I am going to have it no matter what. It varies the time of year I end up getting it mainly dictated on the dose of steroids I am taking. To high a dose and if I have infection. Thankfully this year I have been able to have it fairly early.
I would really urge anyone to have the flu vaccine if you qualify for it. There is always stories about people getting flu that had the flu vaccine but this is because the vaccine is only against the main strain suspected that year rather than against all flu. Hence when H1N1 was about there was a specific vaccine developed against it because of the severity and how contagious it was. I am very much of the opinion that any vaccine that is offered should be taken especially when you have a compromised immune system. I remember getting the H1N1 vaccine and the flu vaccine for that year because I reacted really badly to it and ended up in intensive care. The thought being that I probably already had a strain of flu but getting both vaccines tipped it over the edge and caused me to get really unwell. The reason I remember it so clearly (well some parts) is because I was in an isolation room in intensive care and anyone who came in had to wear mask, gown, hat, gloves the full works and I had no idea who was who. Who was a nurse, Dr, visitors. It was pretty scary but thankfully that didn’t last too long once I got better and could be moved from isolation. When you feel rubbish and have all these people coming at you who all look the same is surreal. So based on this I would always recommend getting vaccinated if you have the option to.
Along with vaccines there are the other precautions to take ahead of winter. Making sure you know what to do when your not well, when you asthma is causing you more problems, knowing what your action plan says and when to implement the different stages. If you don’t have one then you need to get one and see you asthma nurse to have this done. They can be invaluable when there are so many viruses and infections around.
Asthma is always such an unpredictable disease wether or not you have mild asthma to the most uncontrolled and severe and being prepared to manage it is key to getting through winter. Sometimes it is not so easy and it really a day by day battle but other days you are not bothered so much. Its the nature of asthma. I do think though when you have things in place and ready for the worst then you often would need to use the plans but not having anything in place can often mean you end up fumbling around to stick a plan together to get you threw.
Heres hoping for a stable winter and no major problems or set backs!!!