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David - Interview 20

Age at interview: 18
Age at diagnosis: 5
Brief Outline: David was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 5 and his mother thinks that it was triggered off by a really bad cold. His asthma is mild and he is not on regular medication but he uses his inhaler before doing sports. He sees a specialist nurse once a year for check ups.
Background: David is a A-level student and plans to go to university. Lives at home with his parents and his brother. He swims and does other sports on a regular basis. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

More about me...

David was diagnosed with asthma at age 5 and his mother thinks that it was triggered off by a really bad cold. His grandmother also has asthma. David's asthma is mild and he is not on regular medication. He tends to use an inhaler but mostly when exercising. He sees a specialist nurse once a year for check ups. Cold weather does affect his asthma so he makes sure he uses appropriate clothing when going out, in order to avoid catching a cold which would inevitably trigger an asthma attack. 

His parents have supported and guided him throughout about how to manage his asthma. He was encouraged to take his inhaler wherever he went and to take up swimming and other sports on a regular basis. David thinks that exercise has greatly helped him to keep his asthma under control. Based on his experience he highly recommends that other young people with asthma should take up sports to keep fit and active.

If he feels his chest tightening up he has learned to keep calm because he says that 'fear' tends to make the condition worse. He also tries to breathe slowly and deeply because shortness of breath does not help his asthma either. Sometimes this breathing exercise is enough to open up the air passages in his chest but on other occasions he needs to take his inhaler. 

He has had not needed to take time off school because of his asthma. David says that neither his school nor social life have been affected by his condition. Most of his friends know that he has asthma. 

David has work as a volunteer in the 'Kick Asthma' summer camps and highly recommends them to children with asthma and other allergic conditions.

 

He has found that sport has definitely helped him to control his asthma.

He has found that sport has definitely helped him to control his asthma.

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Well I play. I belong to a swimming club and I take karate lessons so it's like and I play badminton with my friends so that's like four, four times a week I play sport. And so yeah I like to keep myself fit. And I think it, I possibly play that sport because I have asthma maybe. Maybe I'm more determined to actually keep myself fit so I can keep my asthma under check. It's possibly a reason why as well.

Well only when I need it, my inhaler. Sometimes I take it before sport like swimming just to make sure my asthma doesn't affect me while I'm playing, while I'm swimming. But usually it's if I need it I usually take it or if my asthma was only starting to just affect me and I try and like take deep breaths to try and like stop the effects myself. Try and open my airways up myself which sometimes works [laugh] but usually I take my inhaler if I need it so.

Sometimes my exercise affects me then but I sometimes, I take my inhaler before I go out for a run, before I play sport to help prevent that. If I do then my asthma doesn't affect me. But sometimes it does if I don't take my inhaler beforehand.

Ok so you, basically what you need to do is to take your inhaler before you start.

Yeah, well yeah, yes I probably, kind of. And yeah helps, I think well 'cause then my asthma doesn't affect me. I can enjoy the running or sport more if not worrying about my asthma and so.

Well I'm always keen on sport as well which I think helps. Keeping fit and playing active, playing sport, keeping active  especially swimming is, I think it always helped me with my asthma. I seemed to be able to cope with it more. I didn't seem to. It doesn't actually seem to worry me as much as it used to 'cause I'm still playing sport, keeping active, keeping fit. Well also some of my friends had asthma but they seemed to be worse. They, they maybe weren't as active as I was. So really [laugh] I think sport really does help keep you fit, keep you healthy. It really does help with the asthma. It helps you to control it.

 

He says that his asthma would of course get worse if he were to start smoking and stop doing...

He says that his asthma would of course get worse if he were to start smoking and stop doing...

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Yeah I imagine if I, if I started smoking or I don't know, if I started taking drugs or if I stopped playing sport maybe. That, I think, I think that probably would make it worse, yeah definitely. But I hopefully won't have to come to that situation [laugh] so.

Talking about smoke if you are in a smoky place does it, does your chest get tight or?

No it doesn't seem to affect it but I don't usually hang around places that are smoky that much. Say if I've gone out to the pub or a night club if there's someone smoking I try and like move away, move to a place where they're not 'cause it's certainly the minority of people actually smoke at clubs and pubs so. And I think there's a new law coming in actually banning smoking in public places which would I think really help. So it's a really good idea. But I just move away from them if someone's smoking.

I avoid, avoid smoking yeah definitely.

What about alcohol? Do you drink alcohol?

Not on a regular basis no. I have a, one drink sometimes when I go out but not, I don't drink that much. So and it doesn't seem to affect it. So I'm not a heavy drinker so I don't know.

 

Keep calm if your asthma starts to worry you and tell your friends what to do if you have a bad...

Keep calm if your asthma starts to worry you and tell your friends what to do if you have a bad...

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My advice is don't worry about it. Keep calm if you are starting to have. Keep your inhaler on you at all times or near you at all times. If you're starting to have a reaction then to the asthma then take your inhaler basically or try, and try and calm yourself down. Try to calm your breathing down. And possibly if you tell some of your friends, closer friends that you have asthma they may be able to help in like a more severe situation. If, if you're having a really serious asthma attack they may be able to call 999 for you. Yeah just talk to other people about it and if you come to use the Kick Asthma holiday camps are really useful. I really recommend it. I think the maximum age is 17 but you can also help as a volunteer and learn stuff through doing that. Just, just remember that there's kids out there, loads of kids out there who have the same like who take the same medicines as you and have the same disability as you so you're not the only one really. So I'd say  just keep calm if your asthma's starting to worry you don't panic and take your inhaler for example. So.

Ok. You said one thing there that is quite important is to tell others, to tell your friends '

Yeah well closer friends or friends or family. If they know that you have like take a certain treatment they'll be able to help you if you have a certain, certain reaction. I don't know. The reactions can really happen at any time even if you're not like thinking about it. So say you're playing sport on the running tract and you start, you start to like keel over and find it hard to breathe. If someone else obviously knew what was going on straight away they'd be able to pick up your inhaler from wherever it is on the side of the track and like bring it to you and help you out or call the ambulance. So yeah letting people know about your asthma is really, is probably really beneficial yeah.
 
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