COVID-19 and me- from a chronic asthmatic

Article written by local resident Holly Hulme:

It is a scary and unknown time; in a world of supposed ‘fake news’ and misinformation it is difficult to get the correct information without perpetuating the current zeitgeist of panic-buying hysteria.

I feel perhaps the only way to battle through this is through what we know; use our experience and knowledge to help inform decisions that may help mitigate further spread of this virus.

I, whether fortunately or unfortunately, have a lot of experience with not being able to breathe; what triggers that and hospitals in general. Early last year I was admitted to intensive care at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after not being able to properly breathe for over ten hours, this was after simply contracting the common cold from my partner. I’ve had chronic, brittle asthma for around 10 years, it has never been well regulated, and I would have regular exacerbation s (flare ups) every 4-6 months which could mean anything from steroids to an extended hospital stay.

The impact of this is a lot mentally; but I never really knew any different, until quite ironically, I was in the ICU and under subsequent consultant care. I was educated to understand the signs of my breathing degrading and the potential triggers that could set it off, dogs, cats, dust and in some cases, stress.

You may think how is this relevant to you, but if you at any point begin to have even the most basic limitation of breath or minor symptoms it may help to know a few pointers from a chronic asthmatic.

I know its easy to say, but stop stressing out and panicking; it has been clinically proven that stress is a huge contributing factor to lowering immunity and you don’t need that right now; additionally adapting your diet, even with a lot of empty shelfs to foods proven to enhance immunity (garlic, ginger, spinach and citrus fruits for example) can help stave off viral infection.

Next is your immediate space,and to me there are many household triggers; aerosols, plug-in air fresheners, flowers and of course dust; even detergent and household products such as kitchen sprays can negatively affect breathing, so my response is strip it all away. There’s a very simple reason that soap has been recommended for cleaning, it is because it is made of tonnes of lipids that attach to your skin and help break down the proteins in COVID-19 destroying its structure and making the virus ineffective. According to WHO guidelines, the virus stays live longest on clothing and fabrics and so changing clothes and washing them regularly on a high heat makes sense, additionally just practise good hygiene and encourage your kids to, even if it’s reward based for the kids.

Read the labels on products and if they contain commonly known volatile organic compounds (VOCs) then give them a miss. They should be clearly labelled according to EU guidelines and there are lots of more natural equivalents on the market. Most importantly however, ventilate your home; fresh air circulating around your house will help open your lungs.

Mentally, it will be tough but there so many ways through this and as the phrase goes ‘it takes a village’. If indeed the country goes into isolation, it will be a temporary adjustment but keeping a sense of community and collaboration is vital and will help us endure through a difficult time. My idea is by using online social resources that we come together; whether its drawing competitions for

kids and adults, planting or recipe tutorials from great home cooks or simply reaching out to those in need to help other where we can, it all helps.

I am in no means a doctor, but I process things logically because its all I can do in a situation that appears beyond my control. However, we can control some things, mentally and physically, and if we can contribute to that difference positively, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

I have attached references for my article below for further reading:

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