Well, it probably doesn't help that I've been cleaning the upstairs bedrooms, but that's done now. Keep in mind I'm not as bad as I would be if I weren't on all these great new controller meds, although I can definitely notice my early warning signs:
- Tight chest
- Itching feeling in neck area
- Urge to sneeze
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- gut feeling
- Ventolin isn't working
- Can smell all the allergins in the air (a unique skill I have. More on this later)
Now, I've been meaning to talk about this for a while, but my asthma is unique in that no matter how I feel my peak flows do not change. For example, I just blew into my peak flow meter, and my PEFR was 690. Keep in mind my personal best is 730, so 690 puts me right in my normal range.
In fact, as I track my peak flows, I've noted feeling mild or "undetectable" shortness of breath on days when I've blown a 650, which is in my green range, and I've noted breathing normal on mornings I've blown as low as 550, which is in my yellow range.
This was not true when I was a kid. However, as an adult, my PEFR is not representative of how I feel. In fact, back in 1998 when my asthma was so bad I could barely take in a half a breath, and ended up in the ER, and later admitted for 10 days, my PEFR was over 700 for the entire stay. Go figure that out.
The Asthma Guidelines do note, however, that both symptom monitoring and peak flow monitoring are equally effective. The only problem with symptom monitoring is it's hard to really know it's time to give up and go to the ER (No, I'm not even close to that point, but I'm just saying).
If you monitor peak flows, and you blow a 60% of your personal best (for me that would be 438 or less), then you know you better take action quick and get better, or get your lungs to the ER.
Of course, whichever method you use, it's always hard to make the decision to go to the ER. It's easier to be modest and try to treat it yourself. It was this thinking that prompted me to write "Having asthma symptoms? Here's five tips to help you decide what to do."
So, needless to say, I have to monitor my symptoms as opposed to my PEFR. Now I still continue to monitor my PEFRs in a peak flow flowsheet I created (you can link to it here) just in case, although I do tend to slack in this area.
It's for this reason I'm usually relegated to being observant to my early warning signs as a cue that I need to stop whatever I'm doing and take action. However, still, that is easier said than done, especially when you're involved in a task you're enjoying.