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Non allergic asthma


Is non allergic asthma rare?

I seem to know loads of people with asthma that is triggered by allergies but none whos triggers are not based on allergies.

My triggers are change in weather, air pressure and emotions.

Does anyone else have non allergic asthma?


28 Replies

I suppose I do. Triggers include weather, changes in temperature, emotions, smoking etc. But am relatively new to asthma so still discovering triggers!

Me too

Dear Plumie,

I'm a non allergic asthmatic too, my triggers are similar to yours, the weather is my most annoying, my lungs hate the hot and humid, but especially thunder storms when the air pressure drops or the very cold and actually most days in-between!

Air conditioning is also a big problem as are viral/bacterial infections or any form of exertion. Some household products with strong odour's like bleach or beauty products like perfume, hairspray or spray deodorant can set me off.

I think we are basically the same as allergic asthmatics but with fortunately less triggers, not sure if it's rare or not though, guess we will both have to wait and see your responses.

How do you get on with air conditioning Plumie?

Weather,heat,virus,emotions,sprays,smoke,but react fast to some things . Only one allergy showed on test and was grass but carnt seem to find others that make me drop fast.

personally i find i can breathe easier with air conditioning. so much so on hot humid days my resp nurse sends me to sit in the car for a little while to get some relief.

I am just weather, pressure and emotions nothing else. It is annoying because i cannot avoid any of them. It is impossible to avoid weather, changes in pressure and emotions.

I would really like to get to know others like me as it not like i can avoid my triggers.


Oh yeah, forgot about air conditioning and viruses too.

Hi Plumie,

If i have asthma (still hotly contested) then it's definitely not allergic - I don't seem to be allergic to anything (touch wood) though do cough a bit with cigarette smoke, really strong perfume etc - but then don't a lot of people?

Consultant thinks it's all hyperventilation and nothing actually wrong, but I share a lot of the triggers people have mentioned - hot and humid esp before thunderstorms (imaginary corset time!), cold and dry, possibly emotions (? my mum said this used to be a trigger for me when younger) and EXERCISE! Despite what the cons has said my GP thinks it could be exercise-induced asthma which he says is slightly different (not sure from what, I was too busy trying to close my mouth because he wasn't telling me it was all down to stress). I think there is also a difference between allergic and non-allergic asthma in how they work in the lungs? (someone more expert can possibly clarify this).

EDIT yes, I forgot about the viruses as well - have noticed colds often head for the chest!

Yup, me too. Smoke, cold, muggy weather, sleeping in stuffy rooms, strong odours generally, exercise etc etc.

Not allergic and I tend to cough rather than wheeze although when it flares up I wheeze as well.

Out of interest what treatment are all you non allergic asthmatics on?

I have full dose Symbicort plus Spiriva as maintenance and ventolin when I need it. Had a flare up about 5 weeks ago which hasn't quite settled yet despite a short course of pred followed by Clarythromycin.

Sorry for high jacking the thread but I think I need to revisit my maintenance regime with the consultant when I see him in October so would like to know what other options there are.


I seem to be both allergic and non-allergic. Many pollens, mould and a dust mite allergy and then the usual non-allergy ones - perfume, cigarette smoke, aerosols, exercise, weather (very cold or hot and humid), emotions to a certain degree, chemical smells (gloss paint and chemicals at garden centres) and probably others I can't think of right now.


Hi Plumie,

It does seem to be more unusual. I'll bump up an old post or two.

I was always told I had classic allergic asthma as generally atopic (i.e. allergic) with hayfever, hives, sinusitis, ? mild nut reactions. However, now on max meds from GP this year since cold/flu x 2 around Christmas. 4 courses prednisolone too in 5 -6 months. Been to ENT for sinus ... operation where they did allergy blood test and my total IgE level was normal so nothing else checked. Also been referred to respiratory consultant and had normal spirometry twice now. His conclusion was I may not have asthma at all?! but am waiting for bronchial provocation test. I think more likely I was fine the day of tests and so would have normal results.

I find triggers are strong perfume, colds/flu this year, weather, cigarette smoke-even the smell on smokers, traffic fumes, cleaning products esp sprays, chemicals, grass cutting ... but not emotions or exercise.

Anguilla, I have Seretide 500 accuhaler, Atrovent inhaler, Montelukast & Ventolin + prednisolone on repeat now with fexofenadine 180 antihistamines

Edit to add: My medication means I'm on step 4. I don't wheeze either but cough, tight chest, breath through a straw... Haven't been to A&E (maybe close) or admitted though

I am on Step 5 medication as i am type one brittle asthma. My medication is 2.5mg salbutamol nebule four times daily and when required, 250mcg atrovent nebule four times daily, seretide 500 two puffs twice daily, flixotide 500 one puff twice daily, montelukast tablet, uniphyillin 400mcg twice daily, fexofenadine 180mcg once daily and prednisolone 15mg once daily. With all this i am controlled a lot of the time unless i hit one of my three triggers (change in weather, emotion or air pressure).

It is really weird as i never wheeze i just cough and cough or get a really tight chest that will not be relieved until the weather goes back or until i land in hospital for IV treatment. I always have asthma symptoms hense being type one brittle and i am restricted with my daily living. But i have a fantastic consultant and respiratory nurse who give me fantastic care and i have just started with a really lovely physio for rehabiliation. :)

The triggers I know of are exercise, weather and cut grass, but have no idea what else, I'm on Montelukast which worked brilliantly last year which is meant to be good for allergies, but don't seem to be allergic so ???

EDIT on Symbicort, montelukast & ventolin

Anguilla, I'm on Seretide and Ventolin. Think that means I'm on Step 3...?

Shy1, the step guidelines are from the British Thoracic Society and can be found on page 9 of the quick ref available here Basically for you it depends on the dose of your seretide but usually Step 3 is a long acting agonist e.g. salmeterol as well

Edit: to say sorry seretide means you are on step 3, was thinking steroid inhaler

I'm only on montelukast right now as nothing I've tried previously worked - just trying it as an experiment suggested by GP as he thinks if I do have exercise-induced asthma it should help (September2006, that's probably why you're on it, if exercise is a trigger - GP says it's a good one for EIA as well as allergic asthma).

Crossing fingers it does as it would indicate something actually is going on and of course would be lovely to have a medication that actually works for a change! Though even if this miracle does happen the relievers I've tried don't work...hence the cons thinking not asthma (Ventolin doesn't work, reversibility testing done with Ventolin...).

EDIT Also wanted to say I find this thread and the others bumped up (thanks TJ though I know it was for Plumie) reassuring as it seems a lot of you have similar experiences to me (though some much more severe I know). Especially where it says in the other thread about PF not dropping and being doubted! Makes me think I'm not imagining it all.

Thanks TJ. Philomela, hope Montelukast works for you.

Sadly I have tried both montelukast and zafirlukalst but didn't manage to take either of them for long enough to see if they helped because the side effects were not good.

I have allergic and non-allergic asthma/triggers. :) (never was good at making decisions - so my body went for both!) Allergies are mainly pollen and moulds, non-allergies: severe exercise induced, viral infections and weather changes. I've responded well to the Omalizumab which would suggest that allergies are a big part of my issues.


Anguilla, sorry to hear they didn't work for you - I hope you've now found something that does and doesn't have nasty side effects!

For those of you with experience of Montelukast, how long did it take to start working? GP told me 3-4 days, but my lungs are so weird in other respects that I'm worried this won't be the case for me and was just wondering what other people's experiences were.

(Plumie, sorry if I'm hijacking your thread here...just saw a couple of people including you were on it and wondered, seeing as many of you seem to have similar triggers).

I'm on Montelukast/Singulair. I think (it's a while ago I started it) I was told it can take a month to work - but I wonder if 'a month' is a doctor's generic way of saying 'wait a while' - I think it worked/works for me though I find that being on so many meds it's difficult to tell what actually makes a difference to me now. :S

Unfortunately have both allergic and non-allergic asthma get the feeling that my asthma will respond to anything that will trigger it right the way across the board (must have done something wrong in a past life!).

Philomela - think it took about a week for Singulair to kick in for me

Thanks for letting me know re the Montelukast Ratty and September. Hopefully it will kick in within a week as my GP wants to see me again on Friday (ie a week after I started it) and I want to have at least something to show by then! Crossing fingers.

Having both sorts of asthma sounds rubbish, Malawi.

My main trigger is exercise, even as mild as climbing the stairs, but Seretide is keeping it under control now. Other triggers can be extremes of temperature (and humidity). Antihistamines help dry up my rhinitis but I am not allergic to pollen etc as far as I know, its a happy side effect as I take them because I react very badly to insect bites, which I am prone to as I do a lot of horse riding (my GP wants me to be allergic to horses - NO WAY I keep telling him!). Non allergic asthma is I think not so common as other types. As far as emotions go, crying or laughing hard does make me out of breath too.

If the singular doesn't work (it didn't for me ) there is a similar tablet called zafirlukast also known as accolade . It's been available for years but not many dr know about it ..... Has helped me


i have proven non allergic asthma as nave negative skin prick tests and RAST test, and like many others have the same triggers, i have multiple admissions and the usual coctail of drugs.

Plumie i do wonder if you are not allergic why are you taking an antihistamine?

surley one less drug if not really needed, just a thought.

george x


I am new and new to asthma though have had symptoms for a time.

Am possable non allergic as well ?

my triggers are smoke and weather (humidy / very cold)

Also there is dout over asthma

gp from when I was a kid said yes to asthma

uni gp said yes then no now back to yes

local a&e said we didn't know you had asthma

so confused

Hi tyber28, just wanted to say welcome to the forum, I've found it very helpful and like you have had 'yes-no-yes-no' from various drs. Consultant has just said no but GP who actually listens is leaning towards yes again (would def be non-allergic if so). Wonder if non-allergic asthma perhaps has a tendency to pretend to be something else/not be 'classic' and confuse doctors. PM me anytime if you want.

I also notice we're from the same place, sort of! Same county anyway.

Many Thanks

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