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Teenage Student new to Asthma

Hi, I’m new here and relatively new to asthma. I just had a few questions that I hoped someone would be able to answer.

I had asthma as a child and as far as I know it was well controlled and one of those things that I just grew out of. I am now 19 and 2 years ago I moved into university accommodation. After moving my breathing became very unsettled at night, I struggled with constant colds and sinus problems. I saw a doctor and was diagnosed with asthma and allergies to mould and dust (both of which appeared in my student room)

I was prescribed cetirizene daily and seretide (salmeterol/propionate) twice on a morning and twice on a night and also ventolin for when needed. This seemed to work fine for my symptoms and I felt as though I was going back to normal after a difficult few months.

However in about March this year I transferred to a new doctors surgery and had a meeting with an asthma nurse which I had never had before. This was really useful, however she pointed out my peak flow was low at an average of 300 when it should have been about 430, she told me to monitor the situation and if I was needing my blue inhaler more than twice a week I should come back.

Late March/early April my hayfever symptoms mixed with allergy symptoms went crazy, I was feeling groggy, my eyes were constantly streaming, had a hayfever rash on my forearms and terrible headaches. Then came the terrible wheezing and chest aches. I went back to the doctors and was given a new hayfever tablet, loratadine and some antibiotics for suspected sinusitis. And then today some hydrocortisone for some eczema/allergic reaction on my neck.

Really my questions are, does anyone know of anything that can help me through these summer months? Is there anything I can be doing differently? Or anything I should be asking my doctor or asthma nurse about? Is it possible for me to get a peak flow meter for home?

Thank you in advance.

5 Replies

hi - if the mould etc is in your room will the uni not move you? if not try not to use bleach or any mixture with it in as it can react with the mould making it worse, also bleach can make asthma much worse. try and keep the windows open when the pollen is low so that the room can get air in it and make sure your bedding is washed on a high temp to get rid of dust mites etc. the gp nurse should be able to tell you what you can and cant take re the ant-hists but as you are a student remember to be careful when mixing with drink lol...hope you can get this under control xxx


I found when I went away so uni was my period of bad asthma! Change of envirnoment and living by myself. Ther e is links between asthma and diet before you ask!

A combination of nasal sprays and eye drops could be of some use, you should have a peak flow at home these can be got via Asthma nurse and best to keep a record of them.

You might find though when you go home for teh summer hoildays things might change but make sure you still take your inhaler and keep up appointments.



You can ask your GP or asthma nurse for a peak flow meter. The nurse told you that your peak flow should be about 430- i'm guessing this is the predicted value for your age and height. Some people find that there peakflow is higher or lower than their predicted value, it is just a case learning what your personal best is and then comparing your current peakflow to your best.

As your nurse said, if you have to use your reliever inhaler more than twice a week, if you are woken up by your asthma symptoms or if you cant do your normal activites bacause of your asthma this means that your asthma is out of control and you should make an appointment with the doctor to have your treatment changed or increased.

A lot of people with alergic athma and with hayfever as well find that montalukast helps their asthma. I'm not sure if you have tried this yet but it is a tablet that you take once a day and helps to prevent symptoms.

You said that you are currently taking seretide- this is a combined preventer inhaler which contains a long acting reliever and a steroid. There are a few other inhalers like this and sometimes one will work better for someone than another will. Symbicort is another inhaler like this and if you find your symptoms are still not in control you could ask your doctor about this.

On the hayfever side there are lots of nasal sprays that can be used, although these are steroid and I'm not to sure if they can be used with your inhalers- if you decide to try this please ask your GP rather than buying over the counter. Sodium cromoglicate eye drops might help your eye symptoms so you coud ask your GP about that.

In terms of things you can be doing differently- You could try taking a shower as soon as you get home and then changing into clean clothes so that your room stays as polen free as possible- not too practical with the cost of the student laundrett though! Also the BBC website has a polen count on the weather section and you could make sure you keep the windows closed when it gets high and try to stay indoors as much as you can- maybe take your reliever inhaler before going out to prevent symptoms.

Hope this helps



The exact same thing happened to me when I went to Uni. I didnt take it too well that it came back but now Im more aware of things.

When I was a kid - everything was taken care by my parents for me so I had to re-educate myself on asthma when it returned when I was an adult. Once I accepted I couldnt change it then I found myself realising that if I can avoid triggers and get it controlled then I could party til dawn in the SU bar!

I appreciate that my asthma is worse than when I was a kid but still reasonably mild compared to others. If one inhaler doesnt work - dont be afraid to ask for something else. It took a few go's for me to get the right preventer.

My advice would be to ask as many questions as you need - either to Asthma Nurses via the phone number on this website, ask on the boards or your asthma nurse or GP. The only stupid question is the one you dont ask. And if you need support, the boards here are a great place to go in search of it.

Olivia xxxx


Thank you so much for all your replies

I’ve been doing everything I can to keep my room airy and stuff

Have a nasal spray that’s recently been changed but when I use them I get nose bleeds so I’m careful only to use them when I need.

I’m going to make an appointment with my GP to talk about the fact I’ve been using my reliever more than I should be and also to get a peak flow meter.

I’ve looked around here and there’s lots of great advice which I’ll definitely be making use of. Thank you 


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