SPRING time is always more difficult for Marie McClelland.
As an asthma sufferer, the Tamworth local is sensitive to the slightest change in air conditions that could trigger a deadly attack.
While many of us stop to admire the colourful transition of local flora at this time of year, Mrs McClelland is forced to give the cherry blossoms and other beautiful spring blooms a wide berth.
“You are always cautious,” she said.
“If it’s a smoky day or anything like that I’ll try to stay indoors and if there’s lots of pollens about I try to avoid those.”
The 71-year-old’s asthma journey began about 13 years ago when she found herself short of breath.
“I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
“I’d never had anything like it before.”
She was raced to the hospital where doctors diagnosed her with the disorder.
To this day Mrs McClelland doesn’t know what brought on the condition, characterised by recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing.
“I had no idea, no idea,” she said. “And asthma would have been the last thing that came to mind.”
Unlike mild asthma sufferers who carry a puffer for emergencies only, Mrs McClelland must take preventative puffers morning and night and Ventolin up to four times a day.
The warmer and dryer weather during spring means she has to be extra vigilant and follow her asthma management plan to the tee.
The short rain spell early last week gave the mother-of-two a reprieve though.
“The bit of rain helped last week, I felt a bit better for a few days,” she said.
“It cleaned everything up and seems to help.”
Mrs McClelland admits her asthma does impede on her life to some extent – she can’t walk long distances and her husband has had to take on many domestic chores – but she tries to carry on as normally as possible.
“It doesn’t stop me from doing things, I still do Meals on Wheels,” she said.
How to survive spring
n Stay indoors whenever possible during the peak pollen season or on windy days and during thunderstorms;
n Avoid activities that you know will increase your exposure to pollens that you are allergic to, such as mowing the grass;
n Shower after outdoor activities when there are high levels of pollen;
n Use recirculated air in the car when pollen levels are high;
n Check the plants in your own garden – there might be something there that is aggravating your asthma; and
n If your symptoms worsen or your condition deteriorates contract your doctor or call triple- zero (000) immediately
– Advice from NSW Ambulance and Asthma Australia