Asthma and Altitude Update, Take II
Dear New Readers Filling My Inbox and the Comments with Altitude Questions,
This one’s for you.
Your Formerly Floridian and now Coloradan Asthma Mom
You can mark me down as *pleasantly surprised* over my kid’s current good health – and by good, I mean no quick-relief inhaler use yet since moving – especially considering the combination of a sea-level to mile-high altitude shift, the usual challenges of winter, and the adjustment of moving into a new house and a drier, colder climate.
My house here is mostly carpeted, and AG hasn’t lived with carpeting since age 5.
However. Her lungs are working like gangbusters lately.
To recognize how remarkable this is, you’d have to A) be familiar with the severity of my daughter’s asthma during her early childhood, and B) have seen this non-asthmatic Asthma Mom from low and swampy Florida practically hyperventilating while moving furniture upstairs in this altitude.
At one point, about 3 hours into offloading the moving van, I spent a full minute considering whether a few puffs of AG’s trusty inhaler would help me catch my breath. Taking a break and deliberately slowing and deepening my breathing helped instead, at that moment and a few times since.
My moments of breathlessness and AG’s total lack of them so far make me wonder if my daughter just doesn’t notice the effects of higher altitude because lifelong asthma has accustomed her to periodic bouts of respiratory struggle.
The first time we took our daughters hiking in the foothills just beyond our neighborhood, we forgot to pack AG’s bronchodilator. Because we are idiots, of course.
We are also lucky because we didn’t even realize our mistake until after hiking all the way up to the cold, snowy peak and back down again, without even a hint of an asthma flare.
Maybe my kid’s lungs compensate for the altitude and dry air shift because they’re used to working overtime, anyway, although that doesn’t seem medically possible. Maybe the near-absence of dust mite antigens in the metro area helps my daughter more than I expected, as some of this research suggests.
Maybe, though, our luck (and hers) continues to hold. Either way, I’m grateful.
And to those of you contemplating a move to the Denver area with asthma kids of your own? So far, (fingers crossed) I give the place two very enthusiastic thumbs up.