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Asthma 'Newbie' - Help/Suggestions please!

Bobz_Blu profile image
16 Replies

Hi all - I'll try keep as brief as possible! I was finally diagnosed with asthma last Jan/Feb after a month long chest infection and a referral to a Private Consultant. I was put on to two courses of Prednisolone (20mg) with Azithromycin for 10 days. Highest peak flow reading I've ever had is 350...(not sure how good/bad this is??)

I've had one asthma review, which didn't really tell me much and no action plan in place. I'm on Fostair 100/6 up to 8 times a day and Ventolin. I've had the annoying asthma cough back for about 2-3 weeks now, and non stop wheezing (I find it quite embarrassing). Cough wakes me up during the night as well. Last week Peak Flow dropped to 300. Phoned up Dr's and they have given me another 10 day course of Prednisolone. Peak flow now fluctuates between 300- 350 but I'm still coughing and wheezing. Should I be calling them back? I just feel like I'm being a nuisance/pain but I honestly have no idea what I'm doing with Asthma or what I should be looking out for.

16 Replies
EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador

If you’re still having issues it’s worth calling them. But also... do you get hayfever? Cause you seemed to have worsened in about the same time frame for grass pollen (and other pollens) to start releasing. It’s just an idea

I hope that helps

Bobz_Blu profile image
Bobz_Blu in reply to EmmaF91

Hi EmmaF91 - thank you for your reply! I've always suffered badly from Hayfever, but I don't recall my asthma playing up this much last year. I just thought that given I was back on the steroid tablets, they would ease the cough/tightness/wheeze quickly like they have before, but they don't seem to have made much difference this time around.

I'm just so confused and frustrated, I don't want to be completely out of breath just going for a little walk!

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to Bobz_Blu

Try taking an antihistamine. If you usually get hayfever, be warned this year seems to be a bad year for it 😒. Plus hayfever without asthma can cause those symptoms so it’s worth a go. Good luck

Bobz_Blu profile image
Bobz_Blu in reply to EmmaF91

Thank you. I've been taking the Benadryl One a Day antihistamines, but any over the counter antihistamine usually does nothing for me, *ergh*.

Weirdly, I'm not sneezing and my sinuses are all fine, just seems to have hit my asthma. I'll see how I get on over the next couple of days!

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to Bobz_Blu

Try asking your GP from something stronger. And as I said as you’re still symptomatic it’s worth calling them up

Sb18 profile image
Sb18 in reply to Bobz_Blu

Hi, I’m the same as you, asthma not bothered me for years and years I ran an half marathon in Oct and now I’m frightened chested and and asthma gone through the roof! I had a chest X-ray and ECG last week because it’s all so unusual for me, everything is totally clear and they are convinced it’s a really bad hay fever season and it’s just got my asthma, apparently because there’s less pollution around at the minute it isn’t surprising the pollen like it normally does. They have put me on a Montelukast tablet they give it for “allergic asthma” might be worth asking about it, good luck

twinkly29 profile image

Difficult to say regarding peak flow. There's information online that works out an expected peak flow based on height and age.....but not everyone's normal or best relate to their expected. My recent best (in the last year), for example, is nowhere near my expected or my original best. Friends have bests and normals that far exceed their expected values. The only way to know for sure is to track it regularly, eg twice a day, over a period of time when you're well (even if that's relative).

If you're still coughing, wheezing and waking at night, it doesn't sound as if things are controlled. I agree with EmmaF91 about antihistamines. I used to have hayfever (typical eyes and nose symptoms) but, since having asthma, the first symptoms I get are asthma symptoms. So it could be pollen causing an issue.

Bobz_Blu profile image
Bobz_Blu in reply to twinkly29

Thanks for your reply - really appreciate any support. It's so difficult as I've not been able to find any support for Asthma, until I found this.

I've been taking antihistamines for about a week, but I don't have any of my normal nose symptoms - usually I'm red faced and puffy. It just seems like asthma has gone insane.

Just so bored of this now - I just want it to all be controlled, but don't seem to be able to get any time with dr's or asthma nurse to actually sit and talk it through.

Troilus profile image

Hi Bobz. I would ask to about having your Fostair increased to 200/6. Also ask about the possibility of going on Montelukast. I haven’t had any night time wakening since going on that. Like you I would be woken by a cough. It wouldn’t go away unless I settled it down with a couple of puffs of my blue inhaler. I also take Loratadine for my hayfever. I find that works better for me than any other over the counter medication. ( First prescribed by my GP) The brand name is Clarityn but the generic brands are just as good, but about £5 cheaper.

Jimmy-Lyden profile image
Jimmy-Lyden in reply to Troilus

Here's something I found recently via the hotukdeals daily newsletter... I can get it for free via prescription, but I thought I'd do the NHS a little favour and save them some money.

they make asthma plans based on your own personal peak flows because everyone's different. i would imagine the expectations of what peak flow a fit, 20 year old non smoker should have is different than what a very obese person or 80 year old should have.

i'm surprised they haven't asked you to come in and listen to your chest. personally if i have wheezing and coughing then I assume it's a chest infection (though at the moment I would add covid as a possibility)

you don't want to leave it out of fear of being a pain. i had wheezing and night coughing for a long time and they didn't give me antibiotics because they couldn't hear any crackling on my chest.

i ended up in intensive care with triple pneumonia because by the time they did give me antibiotics it was too far gone. chest infections can really take a turn for the worse if it's not treated soon enough, I was in hospital again with pneumonia this christmas after multiple antibiotics and steroids didn't clear it.

if your asthma isn't controlled and you get covid, it's going to really kick your keister. personally ild be ringing the doctors for my immediate issues and i would be requesting a regular (phone) appointment with the asthma nurse too until it is controlled.

Bobz_Blu profile image
Bobz_Blu in reply to Definitelynotjeff

Thanks, that's good to know. My Fostair was increased from 4 puffs a day to 8 because I was struggling with a wheeze and cough earlier this year. They can never hear any crackling in my chest - but my previously undiagnosed chest infection was the reason I developed asthma.

I'll give the Doctors a call and see what they can advise.

Lol1944 profile image

Check out if their is a respiratory clinic, team, consultant reasonably near to you. Tell your doc to refer you urgently. Also you should have a plan.

Jimmy-Lyden profile image

Just one thing to add, don't EVER think you're being a nuisance. Asthma is a killer. I think most of us, at one time or another, have felt we don't want to bother our GP because it's "just my asthma acting up". Asthma can change from uncomfortable to life threatening in a very short space of time. It only has to happen once to have very dire consequences. In time you'll start to recognise the signs and symptoms but in the meantime, get on to your GP. They won't mind. They'd much rather you call them, than have a hospital report appear on their desk.

Good luck.

ameliaflowers profile image

Sounds like you definitely need to talk your doctor's about a referral and there needs to be some better management I'll be honest I am far from a professional, but speaking from my own personal experience, it sounds like you need more help than just prednisolone and changing/upped inhalers. I suppose I had a similar start to my asthma (well it getting worse anyway), diagnosed around age 12, they thought it was just excersise enduced and not really a lot more, my inhalers got upped pretty regularly, but when I was 15/16, things started getting a lot worse, every time I'd go to my doctor's it would be a new inhaler or an upped dosage and this was every month, the final straw was in my first year of college around september, I basically went through September to February on antibiotics and 40mg (sometimes more) of prednisolone, the biggest break I had over these months was a week and then it'd be back, I ended up with pneumonia at one point, I'd be 100% fine but my infection markers in my bloods would be through the roof, my college were now threatening to kick me out due to lack of attendance, I went to see my usual doctor with my mum and begged them to do something else, she said no. My asthma flaired up, my usual doctor wasn't in, so I booked an appointment with someone else, turns out she was exactly the change I needed! She didn't even realise I hadn't been referred, she thought I had been and was just on a waiting list...when I told her I wasn't, she called my local respiratory specialist hospital and basically begged them to rush me in for tests because I'd been on so much medication for so long, with no asthma plan or anything. About a month later I was seen, they ran all sorts of tests, allergy, breathing, lung function etc, learned I didn't have any problems with lung function however my problem was my blood! I had Eosinophilic asthma and it was causing my body to mess up really badly. Over a few months I was my hospitals first patient on Benralizumab, and for the last year I've had no exasserbations and my maintance dose of 10mg of pred hasn't gone up once. I have an action plan for my peak flow. I know exactly what I'm doing. This was my experience with struggling and not knowing what to do about my asthma, I guess I've told you in the hopes that some of it reflects in your own circumstances and could maybe point you in the right direction. Personally I'd recommend seeing the asthma nurse at your doctor's surgery, I believe most surgery's have to have one (I could be wrong) and ask about getting some kind of action plan. Next step is talking to your doctor's about a referral of some kind if you think your asthma isn't being helped by just inhalers, plus prednisolone is NEVER something you should be on long term as a solution, the stuff is absolutely vile (it's wrecked my body, I have early stage osteoporosis because of it along with a lot of other problems) It's possible that maybe you've caught something else that's giving you the cough, I used to catch them any day of the year so that could be nothing, but if it's returning it could be something else? A lot of things return, again this is almost definitely not it, but one of the many times I have a returning cough and wheeze after steroids and treatment courses, it ended up being pneumonia, a chest x-ray would show that though so it sounds like you should probably have one done for cautionary reasons to make sure it's nothing else.

If you know you suffer from hayfever, talk to your doctor's about higher strength antihistamines too! I can't take normal over the counter ones because they don't do nearly enough, so I'm on the highest dose of prescription Fexofenadine and it helps! (I miss a day and end up wheezy so I know I'm bad haha) So possibly talking to your doctor's about a high strength antihistamine could be helpful.

The most important thing I can stress though is that you do not drop getting help! If something isn't right, you need to get help. Asthma can kill all too easily, and if it's not asthma it's pneumonia that was never caught, or something else. Not to scare you by any means, but I've been there, I was 18, three days before Christmas, I had VERY bad pneumonia, I ended up in hospital on all sorts, and I just remember crying. But the take away from that was that i shouldn't leave things until it's too bad to cope with that I end up needing emergency care. I mean think about it like this, would you rather end up using ten minutes of a doctor's time and than maybe someone taking an x-ray, or possibly a whole day or even longer in emergency care. I really really wish you all the well though, it's an awful time to have asthma that you don't fully understand yet and that is causing you trouble. I've been there and it's scary. So please please please don't ever think you're a pain by wanting help!

Dawk1 profile image

Call them back,i started with adult onset asthma 3 years ago and it took many courses of pred,antibiotics and different inhalers to get it under control,goodluck

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