Chicago — With the arrival of summer, I’m sure many people in the workforce are looking forward to some of their favorite activities and pastimes, getting their beach outfits and vacation plans in order. Gone are the days of completely free summers that professionals my age spent years growing accustomed to, but still we welcome certain aspects of the season with the same eagerness.
However, whether you're soaking up the sun in downtown Chicago, Miami or anywhere in the country, 1 in 12 of those you come across are likely to be struggling with a condition that can make the summer as terrifying as it can be exciting: asthma. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 8% of the country (25 million people) wrestles with the sometimes deadly ailment and from personal experience, the changing of the seasons can spell trouble for one’s plans and overall health this summer.
For me, the hot summer days have long been a signal that it was time to check in with my doctor and keep my inhalers closer than I did in the other seasons. People like me in the workforce and beyond shouldn’t let their asthma get in the way of their summer plans.
Here’s some tips to stay on top of it.
Check in with your doctor
It’s ideal to visit your doctor before your worst asthma season arrives in order to develop a game plan for how you're going to keep it under control. The doctor will likely determine how controlled your asthma is overall and what medications or natural remedies you can turn toward to help you. Make sure to reschedule a follow up visit in order to update the doctor on what’s working and what isn’t.
Didn’t have a chance to visit before the season arrived? That’s okay. Call the doctor right away and see when’s the earliest you can come into the office. If you're struggling to breathe and you can’t wait until your appointment, you should probably just head to the emergency room. Asthma can progress really fast and become life threatening if you don’t act. Don’t wait.
Stay disciplined with your meds
If you have to take a long-term inhaler, it’s imperative that you stick to it. Medications like Flovent aim to improve your asthma over time rather than in the moment like other rescue inhalers. If you need to set reminders or alarms to remember to take them, please do. What motivates me are the times I’ve spent in and outside work, struggling to breathe in situations that I would’ve otherwise enjoyed. I’ve had too many of those. That’s why I keep my inhalers on me at all times, no matter where I go. If you need to do that too, do it.
Your friends or family might have plans this summer on days that you're struggling. You’ll need to be honest with them and yourself about what you’re dealing with. Don’t pretend nothing is wrong as I have. That’ll land you in the emergency room or worse. Stick to the plan you and your doctor developed and soon you’ll be able to have the summer fun you deserve.