Most of you will know what Asthma is, but for those who don’t it is a chronic respiratory disease. Basically when your airways are branded as ‘sensitive’, meaning they easily become inflamed and are itching to react as soon as they come into contact with something they don’t like.
My dad has it, my brother has it and of course I have it. I was diagnosed with Asthma before I was five, extremely young for such as serious disease. My Asthma as a child was awful verging on severe. In all honesty, I know so many people that underestimate the disease and how deadly it can be. But it only takes a quick look at the stats to change this.
‘In the UK every 10 seconds someone has a life threating Asthma attack with a death rate of 3 people per day.’
Don’t get me wrong as a child I loved a wee spin in an ambulance every few months. Isn’t that every child’s dream to be speeding up the road with the flashing blue lights on and the serine blurring feeling like a VIP. Mummy not so much. The water works were on and the worry was through the roof. I knew it was bad when even the out of hour’s doctors knew my name.
Everyone has their own triggers and their own ways of dealing with it. Anything can really set it off. For me it ranges from the cold, winter air to damp, dusty carpets. Not ideal when you’re living in a student house. Even little things have me struggling, e.g. cleaning my room without the dust getting to me. Luckily, my mummy comes to the rescue here which is a big win as my room has seen some states. When I can feel an asthma attack coming on I always find that breathing through/into something helps me to focus on my breathing whether it is into a paper bag or an anti-allergy pillow.
On the downside one of my triggers is hay. An absolute nightmare with my grandparents and 5 out of 7 of my uncles on my mum’s side being farmers. Having to stay out of sheds and not being able to go away up the farm with my cousins had me tortured as a child. You wouldn’t have wanted to see the tantrums I had, especially when they were feeding pet lambs. Worse yet, have you ever riden a horse? Because I haven’t.
Trust me plenty of people with Asthma smoke but it really depends on how bad you have it. Me? Well if I took one puff out of a cigarette I’d be wheezing for a month or two at least. Personally, other people smoking around me doesn’t bother me as long as the smoke isn’t blowing in my face but I think that’s a pet hate for a lot of people. Just a quick heads up, if you see me on a night out please don’t be that one annoying person that keeps offering me a fag. There’s only so many times I can say ‘no’ nicely.
But that’s not even the most annoying thing.
It’s that annual Asthma check-up. Oh how I dread it every year. Only because of the Peak Flow test. Yes, it looks simple. Yes, all you have to do is blow into a tube. And yes, I still suck at it. Leading to that endless row with the nurses about how I could never do it, for them to tell me that I should be scoring better and giving me the same rant as the years before. SO ANNOYING.
TOP TIP: If you want to infuriate a person with Asthma then here’s an easy way to do it. Tell them that you had it or your sister had it and it was cured. Yes, sometimes Asthma can disappear in children or settle down for adolescences but there is NO cure for Asthma. So, we really don’t want to hear it.
Lucky for me my Asthma has settled down over the past few years. I no longer have to constantly worry about the activities I’m doing or where I’m going and I’ve had no recent spins in an ambulance. But I still do keep my inhalers close just in case that changes. On that note I’ll leave you here with a photo of my younger self, how cute was I?
Claire Loughran is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/claire-loughran-959871169/