questions for fellow members: Fireplace, whirlpool and other things

Posted by donnaturn @donnaturn, Jan 15 7:39pm

I have only been doing airway clearance since last summer, although my bronchiectasis was diagnosed in 2005 (another story!). I have questions on 3 topics for those of you with more experience and knowledge than I have. I am so grateful to be a part of this group and have learned so much from the rest of you.
1. We have a wood-burning fireplace. Although we love using it, we have pretty much stopped since learning more about my condition. Does anyone have any experience or information on whether or not it is harmful to use a wood-burning fireplace?
2. We also have a whirlpool bathtub and again have always found it very relaxing. I have taken baths recently, but do not turn on the jets. I would appreciate what you know about the dangers of using a whirlpool bathtub.
3. I have read on this site that some of you have switched from albuterol to levalbuterol. I currently nebulize albuterol 2.5mg/3 ml. I do get somewhat shaky and it lasts for a while. The last time I saw the pulmo, he said that I could try using 1/2 vial until I needed a refill or try a lower dose. Do you recommend switching to levalbuterol? I did not know about it at the time I saw the pulmo, so I did not ask about that. Also, do you know if levalbuterol is just as effective as albuterol?
THANK YOU ALL for your help! Donna Turnbaugh

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Donna I did not start airway clearance until 2020 in spite of having Bronchiectasis since around 2001. Wish I had known about it sooner! Regarding the wood stove, I would not use one if I were you. Every time you open the door to add wood it lets smoke out etc. You can even see the effects of it on your walls over time. We had one years ago and had to re paint the interior of the house. We now have a pellet stove which burns clean and no door opening where it burns. But probably neither is best!

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@donnaturn — Irene has given you great advice.
1) For years we heated our Minnesota home with wood, and as soon as our ENT found out, he asked us to stop – turns out the particulates were contributing to allergies, ear infections, sinus infections & asthma in our family of four. Grrr… I loved that little furnace. Now it has been determined that air pollution from wood smoke can be so unhealthy that some places ban them except for recreational use.
2) Hot tubs – Here is what National Jewish Health has to say :
https://www.nationaljewish.org/NJH/media/pdf/Is-Your-Shower-Head-Making-You-Sick-Infographic-by-National-Jewish-Health_1.pdf
3) Albuterol vs levalbuterol – I don't know why docs are reluctant…maybe it goes back to when only Xopenex was available & very expensive. This might be a time to dig in your heels and ask "Why?" Therapeutically they are the same – but the slight atomic difference in the two makes levalbuterol less likely to cause tremors.

Has anyone else had a doc reluctant to prescribe levalbuterol? Did you ask why?
Sue

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We have a wood stove we light for part of the day when colder out, which is mostly late dec-mid-march for me in MN. I wear a mask when cleaning the ashes and wait a bit before taking it off. I can't say I recommend the use of the wood stove from all I read however. But sure saves on the heating bill…and the heat is awesome!
If you're taking a bath in a whirlpool tub without running the jets, that would be better than taking a shower. Do you turn on the fan and leave the door or window ajarwhile you're getting cleaned up? And do you regularily clean it with the jets running the same way that shower heads are recommended to be cleaned, some say vinegar others say bleach, I'm not sure which, I think Dr. Faulkinham recommends bleach??? You'll have to read his recommendations since it's been years since I've done that. You could put in just the hotest water and run it for awhile like sterilizing your equipment with the door closed, window open or fan running and door closed.
I just use normal sodium chloride in my neb…so can't help you there. Many of us choose our "evil" to just feel a bit more normal or what is important to us and makes us happy. Then are gung ho on all the other recommendations once we are more stable and not so sick. I'm not recommending that either but even my Mayo doctor says you got to do things that make you happy and living life. Sometimes, that's a compromise but doing in a way to try to get less exposure. Best wishes to you!

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Hello donnaturn,
1. We don't use our wood-burning fireplace anymore either. I was never told not to but I always had breathing issues afterward. One of the reasons we bought the home we live in (nearly 30 yrs ago) was because of the beautiful fireplace and hearth. Waaaaa! (Just kidding….so many things worse than not having a fire!)
2.I was told by my physician at NJH to stay away from swimming pools, hot tubs, BATHS…basically any body of water. I love to swim so this has been a real bummer. And my shower (new rain-shower head that creates less spray) must last no more than 3 minutes (with the fan running in the bathroom to suck out the moisture).
3.I am unable to tolerate albuterol. My heart races fast enough on its own without adding that to it. They gave me a child's version but even it was way too much for me.

I'm a non-productive cougher, diagnosed in 2011, failed the big three twice, small cavity in left lung, bronchiectasis, kansasii, etc. Still walking 3-4 miles most days – no O2. I hope this is helpful and that are having a good day!

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We use a wood burner as our only source of heating and couldn't afford anything other than – but we always have good ventilation.
I wear a mask when I'm in my outdoor spa pool.
I can't comment on the 3rd question as I don't have any inhalers 🙂

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Hi Donna!
Any real wood burning fires are taboo! I also know that there is what’s called Hot tub lung and they are a great source to put yourself in jeopardy if suffering from any lung/ respiratory issues.
HOWEVER, I am interested in more info from sue the nanny regarding wearing a mask in hot tub. Does that work……what type mask? Who recommended that? I too have a fairly new hot tub that I was using until diagnosed in April of this past year. Miss SOO MUCH!
Lastly, the medicines that you mentioned are cousins according to my pulmonologist.
I only nebulize when I’m sick, but switched to levalbuterol because the other one made me so jittery. This one seems a little better.
Best,
Dee

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Hey gang!
I have a question for my fellows as well. I have been on treatment for almost 7 months and I seem to feel really bad with fever and exhaustion to the point of being a couch potato 1 to 2 days a week. However, the other five days I function semi-normally. When the fever goes up to 100+ it just puts me flat. My doctor seems to think this is strange and not a symptom of NTM. Anyone else experience this? Any insights?
Many thanks!
Dee

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@irenea8

Donna I did not start airway clearance until 2020 in spite of having Bronchiectasis since around 2001. Wish I had known about it sooner! Regarding the wood stove, I would not use one if I were you. Every time you open the door to add wood it lets smoke out etc. You can even see the effects of it on your walls over time. We had one years ago and had to re paint the interior of the house. We now have a pellet stove which burns clean and no door opening where it burns. But probably neither is best!

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Hi irenea8,
I am interested to know that during those years you were not doing the airway cleaning, did you have any infections or exacerbations or flare-ups? Did you produce lots of mucus that time? I think your case is a success story to all of us, especially for the newcomers. Even though I know now everyone 's case is so different. I had two infections/exacerbations in 6 months, I think without doing the airway cleaning might cause this happening.
Many thanks and take care!
Ling

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Just to add one more point on the whole wood stove and air quality topic. It is also a good idea to have your home tested for radon. If it is over a certain amount you need to have it mitigated. Too much radon exposure is very bad for the lungs and they say even as bad or worse than smoking. When we finally had ours tested it came back very high. Once it was mitigated it now tests as lower than the radon levels outdoors! Anyway just another air quality point. Sorry if this opens up a new can of worms!

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@wangling

Hi irenea8,
I am interested to know that during those years you were not doing the airway cleaning, did you have any infections or exacerbations or flare-ups? Did you produce lots of mucus that time? I think your case is a success story to all of us, especially for the newcomers. Even though I know now everyone 's case is so different. I had two infections/exacerbations in 6 months, I think without doing the airway cleaning might cause this happening.
Many thanks and take care!
Ling

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Hello Ling, It is rather a long and unusual story. But to answer your question, I did not know about nebulizing or flutter devices etc. But during all those years my instinct was to lay down and using breathing techniques (self learned) cough up the mucus once a day. So i was clearing what i thought was all of the mucus once a day. And somehow i got by for quite a few years that way. I did not even have a formal diagnosis of Bronchiectasis but I suspected or assumed i had it. Then, when i finally had an exacerbation it was a doozy. After treatment for that and finding a good pulmonologist, I started the nebulizing etc. As i am getting older and Bronchiectasis worsens, i could never get away without nebulizing twice a day.

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