Sharing the Health

image038-4Oxygen user Mary Jane Gormley of Bloomington, IN, can still play her harmonica while visiting the Continental Divide in New Mexico, elevation over 7,000 feet!

Our friend, Lori Palermo, would like to warn our members of a  different kind  of  computer virus.  A norovirus that causes stomach flu can be spread via computer mice and keyboards in schools, offices and at home. To help prevent illness, be sure to disinfect keyboards and mice regularly with a diluted bleach solution and wash your hands often. Q-tips and cotton balls are a very simple way to clean your keyboard and mouse.

For those of you who are planning events to celebrate COPD Awareness Month in November, Lori has her Gold Ribbon Awareness Lapel Pins available. Each pin may be purchased for $3, which includes shipping, by writ- ing to Lori at RR1, Box 1220, Gouldsboro, PA 18424.

I use a plastic coil with a clip on the end to attach a tank key to my portable bag. I have been on oxygen for just two months and find this very convenient when I have to change tanks. It does the job and is always there!

Shirley Ernst, Oconto, WI

 My tip is for  people  like  me  who  bruise  easily (I attribute this to medication). I am embarrassed to wear short sleeves or show hands that have purple splotches on them. There is a product called Dermablend which helps to hide scarring and bruises. A corrective cream is applied and then a setting powder. It is available in most department stores. A sales associate can help choose the best colors for you. I feel more confident about how I look now when I go out with friends.

Fran Zimet, El Paso, TX

 I found these tips on the Internet to help people with COPD make it through the hot summer. Just like in cold weather, I have to talk myself into braving the elements and going outside.

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid rigorous exercise or excess activity
  • Wear appropriate clothing and Lightweight summer clothes, such as light-colored, loose fitting gar- ments, reflect the heat and allow you to perspire.
  • Plan your activities If you have to go outside, do so in the early morning hours or after the sun goes down. When driving, park in shady areas, choose places to go that are air-conditioned and place sun visors in your parked car.
  • Keep your cool If it is possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned building. If you don’t have air- conditioning, plan your day to involve going to places that do, for example the library, a shopping mall or a friend or family member’s home that is air-conditioned. Take a cool shower or bath to lower your body temperature. Avoid activities that involve utilizing extra energy.
  • Use the buddy Make sure to have friends or family members call or stop by at least once a day to make sure you are OK.

Elaine Johnson, Knoxville, TNSteve G. of Minnesota wanted to know how others overcome psychological blocks to do an activity. We found good advice in “COPD  for  Dummies”  by Dr. Kevin Felner. Instead of focusing on why you should be active when you just don’t have the energy, imagine your life as you would like it to be. Then take small steps toward your goals.

Remember the past – marathons may now be out ofthe question but would you like to go to a park and watch one?

Think about how you feel emotionally Do you resent watching your wife carry in the bags of groceries? Once you understand your feelings, it gives you an element of control which is a big motivator.

Consider what you don’t want. You don’t want your symptoms to get worse? You don’t want a trip to the emergency room? Then you better work at it!

Write down the things that motivate you and place the list where you can see it – on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Monitor your progress and accomplish- ments in a daily log book.

You can do this!

 I have been on oxygen for ten years. I am now on 4LPM at rest but walk the treadmill every morning for 30 minutes. I feel like I have to stop after every five minutes, but I keep on until the end. I have a wonderful

Making the Switch to HFA Inhalers

King Pharmaceuticals has discontinued their Tilade inhaler (nedocromil sodium) used for asthma. Boehringer Ingelheim’s Alupent (metaproterenol sulfate USP) metered dose inhaler will also no longer be avail- able once current supplies are depleted. These inhalers contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant or spray, which are thought to harm the ozone layer. The earth’s ozone layer protects all life from the sun’s harmful radiation. In January 1989, the Montreal Pro- tocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer set a deadline for elimination of CFC use that will take effect January 1, 2009.

Hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) propellants have similar properties of CFC propellants but are safer for the environment. Your medications now must be reordered as the FDA has determined that changing the propellant makes the inhaler a brand new medication. You will notice some differences.

The dose of the drug you get with a HFA inhaler is more consistent than that from a CFC inhaler, even when the inhaler is almost empty or the weather outside is very hot or cold. The spray from a HFA inhaler is warmer, the volume is less and it will feel softer, as it has a lower impact than a CFC inhaler.

It is very important that you use proper technique when you are using an inhaler. A valved holding chamber, such as the AeroChamber®,  should be used. Remember to hold your breath for ten seconds after a wife who does everything she can to help me cope with COPD. She has never once complained about all she has to do. In return, I help with keeping our apartment clean and making breakfast or supper two or three times a week. I also encourage her to go out with relatives and friends whenever she can, so she has a break. I think she is the greatest!  Don Paulsen, Council Bluffs, IA

 The cover of our last issue showed a prototype of an oxygen carrier that could be used while swimming. This was very exciting news for oxygen user, Marie Mortell of Wilton, CT, who would very much like to get back into the water. In 1948, Marie earned a gold medal as a member of the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay swimming team in the summer Olympic games in London. Marie had seven children, including five girls who earned university swimming scholarships.

Any tips or suggestions on how to swim with a portable gas cylinder would be greatly appreciated!

 slow, maximal inspiration to allow the medication to deposit in your lungs.

There are three albuterol HFA inhalers that the FDA has approved as safe and effective: ProAir® HFA, Proventil® HFA and Ventolin® HFA. Xopenex® HFA (levalbuterol tartrate) is also available.

Visit to receive $20 off each of your next five prescriptions of the drug. The Ventolin® HFA inhaler has a built-in counter so you know how many doses you have taken. Visit for instructions to receive a transition kit including a free inhaler and $15 off your next two prescriptions.

When you use an inhaler for the first time, or if you have not used one in a while, the inhaler may not deliver the correct amount of medicine with the first spray. HFA inhalers have to be cleaned and primed to give the right dose of medicine. Each HFA inhaler has different instructions. The patient information that comes with each inhaler tells you how to clean and how many times to prime the device. To prime the inhaler, take the cap off and shake the canister to equalize the ingredients; hold the inhaler at arm’s length and press the inhaler.

Please be sure to speak to your physician about your inhalers so you can receive and fill new prescriptions for HFA inhalers. The FDA reports almost half the people who use inhalers have not yet made the switch from CFC to HFA inhalers.