Joe’s Crow country - its asthma awareness week, but will it help me sleep?

I HARDLY slept on Saturday night. It was the first night of the year that the perfect storm, as I call it, struck.

The forces of nature had conspired to create a catch-22 situation: have the window closed and try and sleep like a roasting pig, or have the window open and be vulnerable to the perils of asthma and hay fever.

It seemed as though my girlfriend, a hay fever sufferer, and me, an asthma sufferer, kept each other up by coughing, sneezing and spluttering in specially organised intervals.

I sat up in bed and looked at the clock at 3.20am. I had been coughing for the past 10 minutes or so, while my girlfriend lied there wide awake because of the noise.

After a puff of my inhaler and a sip of water I staved off the threat – for now. But my girlfriend was only just getting started. She began a sneezing and coughing fit that went on for most of the rest of the night.

The next day, I saw an article in the paper that said it was asthma awareness week. I’ve always been a bit sceptical about these sorts of events – I am aware of asthma already, it doesn’t need a specially designated week does it?

But after last night I wanted to find out more. Was there anything I could do to help me get some sleep and prevent a summer of sleepness nights?

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I got in touch with Brian Deal at Ashwell Pharmacy, who said they were promoting asthma awareness week and could run me over a few tests. They sent me a bit of literature too which made for interesting reading – there are five million sufferers in the UK and three people a day die from it.

Brian first asked me to show him my inhaler technique. I had been getting it all wrong. “People aren’t aware how to get the best from their inhaler. Most people have the technique wrong,” he said. I was learning.

He then told me asthma and hay fever were linked, and that the same symptoms can be for both. “People haven’t realised their airways are being aggravated by pollen. If their eyes are watering and they’re sneezing it could be hay fever or asthma.”

I’ve since put my new inhaler technique to the test to success, but my girlfriend is still keeping me awake. I wonder if there’s a hay fever awareness week. I’d better find out, or the perfect storm will continue to strike.