I have very recently developed asthma, I am 36.
I used to get severe bronchitis when I was a teenager, had my tonsils reoved and then was quite well until 2 years ago when i strated getting severe chest infection again. Just over a year ago I developed allergic rhinitis which I get very badly over the winter months.
I went to see an ENT specialist last Autum who prescribed asthma inhalers and advised that I use them whenever I got a cold or chest infection. I got a head cold and used them got better and then two days after Christmas I got a bad chest infection. The blue inhaler worked a lot to relieve tightness and mucus. The chest infection lasted 3 weeks and at the end I still had a tight chest left over.
I then had the swine flu jab and had some very bad side effects such as muscle weakness, very tight chest and bronchial spasms.
I started off taking clenil modulite and salamol, I did not respond well to the high alcohol content in the clenil so then changed to seretide and ventolin accuhalers. I found I was getting quite shaky and also noticed that I would have a reaction when combining the two where my asthma would get worse. I also suffer from anaphylaxis to certain chemicals and drugs so can respond with worsening symptoms if the inhaler aggravates my immune system. So now I am on Symbicort which has been fine, until yesterday when I took some Clenil Modulite with it on the bad instruction of my GP. I woke at 1am with full chest spasms and totally unable to breathe. I finally managed to get it under control with the blue inhaler, an anti-histamine and a brown paper bag!! As I am new to all this I was not sure I could call the ambulance or not. I've now spoke to Asthma UK who say that I can and should and so I will!!
Anyway 3 weeks down the line and it is now clear that the chest infection and the flu jab side affects have totally exacerbated what was very mild asthma which I only ever got with chest infections or with severe rhinitis - into something that is so bad I have not been able to work for 3 weeks!!
I have private health insurance but am still shocked by how little support there is and generally I am at home having to cope with very frightening symptoms by myself.
I called my specialist this morning who is a bit frustrated with me because I am not a straight forward case and keep panicking. I even asked if he could put me in hospital so I can be observed so I am not home alone terrified all the time. He said no, everyone had private insurance and there are no beds and there are so many severe chest infections and swine flu cases still around that the hospital is full!!! So I felt unable to go to hospital because then I might pick up an infection and then be really serious!
I cannot believe there is no dedicated asthma centre where I can get proper full assessment and training about how to take care of myself!
So now the plan is to have a CT Scan for my sinuses next week which are really aggravting my asthma and to continue on Symbicort and then perhaps steroids if I have to - although the mental health side affects are very unappealing!! I am very sad to have another illness (apart form my anaphylaxis) where there is so little help and support available!!