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[QUOTE=MountainReader;4015330]Well...I've never had to call 911 for my asthma. From what I've read, I think it may depend on the policy of the rescuers and ER where you go. There are others here who should be able to share their stories.

I'll share what I've experienced and learned though. I did have an incident where I was on the highway and had a bad attack. I should probably have called 911, but instead I drove myself for care. That one time I came close to losing my ability to breathe and needed emergency treatment, they gave me a shot of epinephrine. It worked so well that I was breathing more normally within 10 minutes. I now carry an Epi-pen around for asthma emergencies. (Doesn't hurt to have with my bad allergies either.) It was a morning attack and I had already used my Albuterol 3 times. I thought I was doing OK after the second time, but about 45 minutes later I couldn't get my breath. I think I've mentioned before that my asthma symptom is a cough. That made the difficult breathing even scarier. From what I have read, the Epi-pen treatment is not standard policy in many ER's. It worked well for me though.

I've had other incidents where I have gone in for same-day asthma appointments because the Albuterol wasn't keeping things under control. They usually do a breathing treatment with me and start me on a tapering dose of oral steroids. The breathing treatments involve the use of a nebulizer to administer the medication so that it gets down to your lungs better. You will sit there holding a tube with a mouthpiece in your mouth and breathing in and out while the medication does its thing. In most cases, it works pretty quickly. In addition to breathing treatments, some ER's may give you some steroids via IV as well. While you are receiving treatment, whether in a clinic, ER or rescue vehicle, they will probably put a pulse-ox monitor on your finger. It helps measure your oxygen level. If you've had other hospital or procedural experiences, you've probably had that before.

With regards to the Epi-pen, I carry it around so that I can use it to get things under control while waiting for rescuers to arrive. I understand you are scared of needles, but if it is a choice between stopping breathing and using the pen, I would hope you could find it in you to use the pen. You take it from its protective tube and remove the cap. You then jab it against the side of your thigh, through your clothing. You hold it in place for about 10 seconds to make sure all of the medication is administered. It begins working almost immediately. The good thing about the pens is that they come with a practice pen with no needle or medication. You can use it as many times as you need to make sure you are comfortable with its use and don't need to try to remember how to use it in an emergency. I tell those I'm around regularly where I carry it in case I can't get to it myself during an emergency.

What a severe attack is like for me: I typically cough with my asthma. When the asthma is worse, I cough much more and have trouble getting a good breath. Sometimes I have a "tightness" in my chest. That is also a sign that my asthma is flaring. In all of those cases, I use my Albuterol. During my bad attack last year, I suddenly started breathing very shallowly and quickly and couldn't get a deep breath in. As the attack progressed, I was unable to speak more than a word at a time and was fighting to get a good breath in between words. Eventually, my fingers and lips started tingling and turning purple and I started getting lightheaded. Not sure how much sense I was making as I was trying to talk too. I'm sure towards the end I was hyperventilating. I was really scared at that point. I don't know how you could have a severe attack and not have anxiety kick in too. If I hadn't gotten treatment when I did, my attack could have been much much wore. I was surprised how fast the treatment worked though. It was my lucky day. I got through it without having to be admitted to the hospital.

After this incident, I started going to a Pulmonologist who helped me aggressively seek triggers and put a strong asthma plan in place to help prevent that from happening again. At my last appointment, my doc told me that if I hadn't been aggressive with treatment as I was, I would have ended up in the hospital in really bad condition like a patient whose bedside he had just come from. That really hit home with me how serious things can be if I don't take them seriously.

It may be a good idea for you to research "asthma plans" on the internet. Most state health departments have good examples. If nothing else, search this board for information on them. I have same past posts sharing mine. Basically, they spell out for you when you should do what when you have asthma. It is a good starting place. From there, you can tailor things with your doctor to make it specific to you. If you have questions on the asthma action plans, ask them and we can elaborate for you.[/QUOTE]

Do you think having an Epi Pen would be in my best interest given the fact that my asthma is mild?

Also, what kind of information is written on an asthma plan? My GP never mentioned any of this to me although we were pretty much playing things by ear since she did not fully realize how much I had been suffering which is why she prescribed Flovent today.

I guess I can't believe I went all these years without getting any treatment. I don't have severe asthma, but it's still boggles my mind that I was able to suffer with severe allergies and mild asthma all these years without being on the proper medication. I do know that the winter months have always been very, very difficult for me. I live in Wisconsin where the winters can get bitterly cold and even spending a minute outdoors is enough to make me lose my breath and start coughing non-stop. I always coped with this by using a head-scarf to make sure my entire face was covered. I also kept plenty of Hall's cough drops (or peppermint candy) with me to make sure my nose didn't become stuffed up or congested from the cold.

I plan to move to Arizona in a few months, so I'm hoping I will experience some relief in that climate. I live in a wooded area with plenty of trees, grass, weeds and flowers. Hopefully the desert climate will decrease the intensity of my allergy symptoms and perhaps eliminate my asthma symptoms as well.

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