At age 50, I was teaching five classes and eight individual students, doing research, writing, and swimming several times a week. After a viral infection in 1994, at age 55, I was physically and mentally exhausted much of the time. If I taught a one-hour class in the morning, I was wiped out for the day.


That September, my wheezing impelled me to see HMO doctors. A year later, I was inhaling three types of asthma medication daily, and twice took prednisone. Plaut's Peak Flow Diary was important to me. I adhered conscientiously to everything my doctor prescribed.

To avoid airborne triggers, I tried wearing a disposable mask for 24 hours. I noticed a dramatic difference in energy. A search for comfortable, washable, good looking masks prompted me to develop my own business to share such masks with others. All of my research focused on becoming well again. I developed my Trigger Detection Diary to get a handle on what was affecting me.

Tracking Symptoms

In my diary, I tracked symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and headaches. I focused on exposure to fragrances like perfume, hair and skin care products, air fresheners, and cleaners. I tracked all recurring indoor factors such as pesticides, disinfectants, chlorine, dust, dander, mold, office equipment, and any indoor renovation I was exposed to. I also noted all recurring local outdoor conditions like construction, road repair, fires, barbecues, industry, dry cleaning, and exposure to gas stations.

Now 64—I am most often symptom-free of asthma and have a high level of energy and creativity (teaching, preparing papers, writing a book, running a business, and household, and enjoying children and grand children—they call me "the masked granny"). When challenged, I wear an appropriate mask to reduce exposure to airborne environmental irritants.

I Can Breathe! face masks are designed to reduce exposure to airborne irritants, quick and easy to put on, and designed by a person with sensitive nasal passages and lungs. I developed my masks so I could take control of my environment by reducing my exposure to cold air and airborne irritants.