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When Asthma Doesn't Look Like Asthma


jennifer mcgA few weeks back, we shared some information about asthma here on the Lauren's Hope blog. As we usually do when we post about a specific condition, we asked our fabulous readers to write in and share their own stories with us. This time around, we heard from Jennifer McGlothlin (right), who explained that she wears Lauren's Hope medical ID bracelets because she lives with asthma that doesn't quite present the way most people expect.

Jennifer's Story

Although asthma typically presents in childhood, Jennifer wasn't diagnosed with this chronic condition until she was a 19-year-old college student at MSU in Springfield, Missouri. As the cold weather set in, Jennifer began having extreme difficulty breathing. However, she did not present the most common asthma symptom: wheezing. This caused difficulties and delays with her diagnosis, but she did finally obtain an answer and began managing her asthma with inhaled steroids. 

For years, Jennifer felt her asthma was well under control. Then, in 2009, she moved to Oklahoma, where the change in climate and environment, coupled with a new job during which she was exposed to cigarette smoke on a daily basis (a major trigger for her ashtma), resulted in a significant increase in the severity of her symptoms. Jennifer adds that she experienced a hormonal shift around this time which also contributed to her flare up. 

The next year, in 2010, Jennifer was in a car accident. "The dust from the air bags triggered an attack," Jennifer recalls, "and I couldn't reach my inhaler. I was fortunate, as my mom was one of the first on the scene and was able to find my inhaler. This could have gone very badly." 

A Little Scolding Goes A Long Way...

An EMT friend, hearing about this accident, gave Jennifer an earful for not wearing a medical alert bracelet, and Jennifer realized he was right. She recalls her early assumptions that all medical alert jewelry was ugly and uncomfortable. "I began hunting for a medical ID that I could live with. I found Lauren's Hope online and have worn one every day since." 

moroccoJennifer also explained that people with asthma don't just need medical alert jewelry because they might not be able to communicate; they need it because asthma doesn't always look the way people expect. "Asthma requires a bracelet as there are numerous types of asthma, and most people (doctors included) believe that you must have audible wheezing instead of considering diminshed breath sounds as well. If you are unable to comnunicate your needs (as I was), a bracelet could make the difference in triage."

Now an outspoken advocate of medical ID jewelry, Jennifer, her father, and her husband all wear medical alert bracelets, and she is confident that these pro-active steps will help protect her and her loved ones for years to come. 

Do you protect yourself and those you love with Lauren's Hope medical ID jewelry? We want to hear from you! 


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I decently agree with this article. I was diagnosed with asthma a week after my 20th birthday. My triggers are cigarette smoke as well as dust, mold, and cold air. I didn't start wearing a medical id bracelet until I had a severe asthma attack at a One Direction concert with my best friend. The EMTs told me that I should be wearing a medical id, espicially since I have severe food allergies as well. I got a bracelet as a late birthday gift, and it's the best gift I ever recieved. At least if I have another severe asthma attack or allergic reaction, people will know of my conditions and can treat me properly.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 13, 2013 5:21 PM by Allison McDonald
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