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Merry, Volunteer Mentor (@merpreb)

Staying (Lung) Safe this Holiday Season

Lung Cancer | Last Active: Mar 31 9:23pm | Replies (27)

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Merry, I am with you on this. With allergic asthma and reactive lungs, I can easily find myself in trouble when my lungs are kicking out phlegm in response to exposure to something with fragrance or smoke. A recent problem was a loaner car from having service at a car dealer. I think in cleaning it, they must be using carpet powder because there is a fragrance in it or some one could have previously smoked in it. I drove it home for 20 minutes, and I was in trouble in an hour just trying to breathe. It took about 5 hours to recover from that and I was exhausted. I still need to drive the loaner car, and I wear a respirator to do that. That's kind of weird, but it works and I don't worry about what other people think.

Fragrance from candles and holiday scents for plug in devices and air freshener scents in rest rooms are difficult deal with. I try to minimize my exposure to stuff like that because I can't stop my lungs from shutting down. I also like to keep a jar of something like Vicks with me because the eucalyptus vapors open up airways. The same vapors in cough drops do this too and they help and then sometimes I won't need the inhaler. I try to always have my inhalers at the ready. I keep hand sanitizer in the car, so every time I come back to the car, I use it. I got my Covid vaccinations, and wear a K 95 mask in stores. I always try to make my shopping stops pretty brief and avoid aisles with fragrance containing products or those scented pine cones right at the door with the Christmas wreaths. I have also taken a respirator with me when I went to see a local production of the Nutcracker and waited until it was dark to put it on, and then wrapped a scarf around my face to hide it. That was pre- Covid pandemic, and at least now, it is more acceptable to wear a mask in public, and I no longer feel self conscious about it.

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Replies to "Merry, I am with you on this. With allergic asthma and reactive lungs, I can easily..."

One thing that I forgot was stress. And believe it or not, forgetting to breathe! Sometimes when I am carrying laundry upstairs I start to think about something else and just don't breathe or breathe poorly. By the time that I reach the top landing, I'm huffing and puffing like I ran a race. I'm always ahead of myself. This is why the value of mindfulness is so valuable.

Wow – the more I read, the more I see myself – and my family. We were raised in the "old" Catholic church, where incense was a frequent component of the services. Often in the car on the way home, 2 or 3 of us would be hacking and wheezing, and noone ever knew why. Now as older adults, with children and grandchildren, we know it is allergic asthma & hyperreactive lungs. Our small community in Texas has banned fragrances in the clubhouse and lounge so more people can participate – so it is more common than anyone realizes.
What a great matter to bring up!

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