Asthma UK community forum

New to asthma and full of questions


On my 47th birthday i developed a cough! Within a week i had bronchitus and a really bad reaction to the antibiotics and now i have asthma (which the doctor thinks I've had a while). I have a brown inhaler of beclometasone and a blue inhaler of salbutamol.

I'm still a bit shocked that I've got asthma (though I had it for one summer when I was a teenager) but my real problem is my appetite. Since i've been ill i just can't finish a meal. Does anyone know if that could be a side effect of the medicines? I'm also on thyroxine for an underactive thyroid and i usually have a great appetite.

I'm still trying to work out how to deal with this - the cold is really hard to deal with, as is anyone smoking within half a mile of me, and my teenager's smelly deoderant! I'm sure there are lots of things i haven't even spotted yet - its only been a few weeks.

3 Replies

It does get alot easier to deal with and I've found that I've developed coping strategies to avoid things that I think make my chest worse.... I usually wear a scarf over my mouth if i'm going out into the cold so it doesnt hurt your poor lungs. Also I put a total ban on spray deodorant in my house...guests included!! As far as the smoking goes the only thing to do is avoid smoky areas..being inside where there's a smoking ban is clearly better!!

Hope this helps and I'm sure some of the more experienced people and those with medical know-how will have better ideas than me!!!




Hi smudge,

Welcome to Asthma UK. I'm sorry to hear that you've just been diagnosed - it must be a shock to develop asthma so suddenly as an adult.

It is a steep learning curve when you're first started on treatment - there is so much to take in. However, the vast majority of people, once they are on the right medication for them and get to know their triggers, can lead a normal life with asthma with few or no symptoms. It often does take a while to find the right combination of medication - there is no one regimen that works for everyone - but once you are on a combination of treatment that works for you, you should find that your triggers don't affect you as much as they are at the moment.

Having said that, there are some things that may always set you off! - I think most of us can sympathise with the common ones of cold air, cigarette smoke and aerosols! All of those are 'irritant' triggers, as opposed to allergies - are you aware of any allergic triggers? - the most common ones are house dust and house dust mites, various grass and tree pollens, animals and various moulds. Food allergy generally doesn't play such a strong part in uncomplicated asthma, although it can still be significant. Again, it does take time and experimentation to work out what is triggering you, so you can expect things to get easier once you get a grip on these things.

In terms of avoiding the cold, most of us use scarfs or snoods around our lower faces to warm the air outside before breathing it in. If you have to use a car in the morning, it helps if you can get someone else to defrost it and turn the engine and heater on for five minutes before you get in it. If this isn't possible, I always found pouring warm (not hot) water over the windscreen the most lung-friendly method of defrosting my car - those de-icer sprays definitely don't agree with my chest, and nor does standing there scraping away! (some people say that pouring warm water over your windscreen makes it more likely to crack, but I never had a problem - and for me, it's the lesser of two evils!). A car with a good, fast heater helps. Banning smoking and aerosols in your house definitely is a good idea, too. If you go to the hairdresser, you might want to tell them not to use sprays near you - most will be very accomodating, especially if you go first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

In terms of your symptom of poor appetite - the salbutamol inhaler can sometimes make people feel shaky, nervous, nauseous and not much like eating, at first. Do your symptoms correlate with when you have used your salbutamol? These sorts of symptoms usually improve somewhat with time, and as your asthma control improves, you should find that you are in less need of your salbutamol anyway. If the symptoms persist when you are not using as much salbutamol, you should probably have a word with your doctor to see if there is any other explanation.

Hopefully you will find that this board is a good source of support and advice - please do ask if there is anything you are unsure about, and we will do our best to answer! Do bear in mind, as you find your way around here, that this board does tend to attract a disproportionate number of the minority of asthmatics who are at the severe end of the spectrum and have disease that doesn't respond readily to treatment. For most asthmatics, their condition can be fully controlled with medication, so please don't be put off if you read talk on here of long term steroid tablets, frequent hospital admisssions and so on - these things only happen in a tiny minority of asthmatics. It's very unlikely that you will have to content with such issues.

Hope things improve for you soon, and that this cold weather isn't too hard on you!

Take care

Em H


Hi smudge, sorry to hear that you have had to join our ranks. Anyhow as Emily H says hopefully once you get sorted with medications that work for you things will settle down and you will get to know what sets you off. Like the others any sort of aerosol is bad news for me - my son thinks its ok if he opens his window - no its not somehow that spray travels downstairs faster than the speed of light.

Like the others I do the scarf trick - a nuisance with glasses as they get steamed up though.

With regard to decreased appetite - i find that when my asthma is not good - usually virus related or food allergy I do not want to eat much and do not finish my meals. However, once I increase my inhalers, (take antibiotcs if needed) very occasionally take oral steriods for a short 1-2 week course (this happens around once every 3 years or a bit more my asthma will settle again and as I get more active and feel less congested my appetite returns.

Hope some of this helps - I know that sometimes it is just helpful to chat to others who are experiencing the same sort of problems - although in varying degree.


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