Archive for May 2014

Sometimes I look like a masked bandit

In an effort to not repeat last summer, I’ve been really trying to up my game this year and be more proactive.  A couple months ago I was looking into face masks and was told they’re kind of pointless because they don’t seal to your face.  My concern at the time was a plane ride for work.  If the air quality, allergens, irritants or somebody reeking of smoke doesn’t bother me, the cabin not pressurized properly will.  Now that allergy seasons are in full swing, I need a little help some days when the pollen counts are approaching 12 out of 12.

For $14 I picked up one of these on Amazon.  They’re reusable, washable, not too hot, adjustable, and easy to store in a pocket.

Yeah, so the picture makes it look like a bean bag chair or maybe a guinea pig hiding under a piece of material.  It actually covers my face quite nicely and my beard does a good job filling in the gaps where it doesn’t “seal” to my face.  There’s a bendable, metal piece you can shape to your nose.  It doesn’t do a great job by itself, but the mask in conjunction with my sunglasses works great.  Oh, and my glasses don’t fog up from my breathing.

Some people ignore it and many look like idiots staring at me.  One day I was driving and put it on at a stoplight.  Some guy in a car next to me became quite concerned.  I think he’s seen too many mob movies where hits are made at stoplights.  Some student at work the other day was staring at me with his mouth hanging open and open walked into a pole.  I eyeballed him for 5 seconds and then loudly declared, “HEY YOUR MOUTH IS HANGING OPEN.”  One positive is I can yell at drivers with it on and no one sees my mouth moving.

The good news is for $14 I notice a distinct difference on high pollen days, and that can be all it takes for me to feel miserable or feel not so bad.  Last year there were some issues at work with construction dust and this would probably make a big difference if I needed to wear it inside.  I’m not sure how often you should wash it or how long until it needs to be replaced, but for now I’m pretty pleased with it after three or four weeks of use.

May is Asthma Awareness Month

The month of May is Asthma Awareness month, and with an estimated 25 million in the US and closer to 250 million worldwide suffering from asthma, there’s a good chance you know someone with the disease.  Contrary to popular myth, asthma is not curable nor is it something you can grow out of.  For some it is hereditary and for others it can be more of an environmental problem.  With so many people suffering from this respiratory condition, there is also a wide range of symptoms and severity meaning what you consider to be “asthma” may be very different for someone else.  As with other things, it’s good to be aware of what you’re doing that may be positively or negatively affecting others with this condition.  If you’re interested in learning more, here are a few links that may be of interest.

A couple of my online friends are also taking questions for a recorded Google Hangout if there is something specific you’re hoping to know about asthma and how it affects those you know.  Leave a comment on Breathin Stephin’s post to ask a question for their discussion.

I knew those e-cigarettes were bad news

Researchers from RTI International have discovered e-cigarettes aren’t as safe as they claim to be.  Users may not be inhaling tobacco smoke along with all those nasty additives, but the inhaled “chemicals caused acute toxicity or lung damage observed with traditional tobacco smoke” during testing.

They found that up to 40% of particles from an e-cigarette can be absorbed into the deepest area of a youth’s lungs, thus irritating airways or worsening pre-existing respiratory conditions, according to the release.

While these initial findings aren’t looking good for those using this tobacco alternative, I have to wonder if there are second-hand implications from the particles as well.

New Rx assistance program for asthmatics

I am very fortunate to currently have a full time job and decent health insurance through my employer.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case for me and there have been times when I haven’t been able to afford all my medications or was rationing what I had to forego going completely without a prescription.  The Prescriptions Assistance Program through Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) provides patients and their families with discount cards “accepted at more than 56,000 national and regional pharmacies around the country, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kmart and Target.”

“We hear far too often from patients who cannot afford their life-saving medications or don’t take the full amount recommended,” says Tonya Winders, AANMA president and CEO. “The Prescription Assistance Program helps relieve a huge financial burden many families with chronic illnesses feel at the pharmacy counter and helps keep families healthy.” A 2003 study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology estimated the annual costs for asthma treatment at more than $4,900 per person.

If you’re interested in joining, all you need to do is visit AANMA’s website.