DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a weakened immune system due to asthma. I have never bowed out of activities because of my health, but now I wonder if I should.
I went on a hike with friends this summer and had an asthma attack. I hadn’t told them about my condition, as I keep my health to myself, so they were freaked out. I had my inhaler and ended up being OK, but not without slowing down the whole trip. I do not want people throwing me the side eye because of my health. I have always been able to manage without drawing extra attention to myself. I’m thinking about this because friends are organizing a trip to the mountains for a much bigger hike, and I wonder whether I should go, and, if so, what precautions I should take. -- Question of Health
DEAR QUESTION OF HEALTH: Your first stop should be to your doctor. Contact your physician and your pulmonologist (if you have one) to discuss the status of your health and the upcoming trip. Talk about how you can protect yourself, what safeguards should be in place and who should know about your condition.
Many people with asthma, as well as other health conditions, participate in athletic activities without cause for alarm. To prepare, you should reveal all details of your previous trip and what happened. Talk about what to do in case of emergency. With your physician’s blessing, go on the trip. But do inform at least one participant of your health profile. Also find out about how medical emergencies are handled on the hike route that you have selected.