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New to asthma

I have been recently diagnosed with cough variant asthma and wanted to know how others sufferers deal with it. I complained about a cough for 7 months and multiple visit to gp before being referred to a chest Specialist (after I insisted to be referred to) who diagnosed it. I'm a bit down really as don't seem to go anywhere: I was started on QVar 100+ Ventolin which didn't help, changed to Seretide 250+ ventolin which makes it slighty better, but had to have since 2 courses of prednisolone for 5 days. I'm getting allergic reactions to more and more things ( last one was a full body rash, and unwellness after pneumovac vaccine). I'm worrying now all the time about my breath, and the damage this cough is doing to my lungs. I just started regular cetirizine which seems to help a bit. I would like to see if there are other people in similar situation. Thank you for reading this.

4 Replies

Hi Jean Yves,

Welcome to Asthma UK; sorry to hear you've been having problems and are feeling so frustrated. There are a few folks around here with predominantly cough-variant asthma, I'm sure they'll make themselves known soon.

The important thing to remember about asthma, in all its varieties, is that there is no one treatment that works for everyone - so it is often a case of experimentation to find the drug that will work for you. This can take some time, and can be an extremely frustrating process, but the vast vast majority of people have asthma that can be controlled with minimal effect on their lives, once the right treatment is found. It is a process of detective work and discovery to find your triggers and the treatment that works for you.

There are a few things you could ask your consultant about to help the process along, if they have not already been considered. A proportion of people with cough-variant asthma (or in fact with any variant of asthma) will actually turn out to have another condition, either separate from, or contributing to their asthma. Have your doctors considered possibilities like vocal cord dysfunction, gastro-oesophageal reflux, and post-nasal drip? All of these can cause symptoms of coughing and breathlessness, and have slightly different treatments to asthma alone.

You mention that you are having a lot of allergic reactions - have you been able to identify specific allergens that you can avoid, and has avoiding them helped at all? Have you had allergy tests - usually done by skin prick or blood tests? Do you live or work in an environment with a lot of dust, fumes, chemicals or animals? You don't mention whether you are a smoker, either - obviously, giving up smoking will tend to have the effect of improving most respiratory diseases. These are all issues that I am sure your consultant may well have already discussed with you, but if not, they are worth considering.

I hope you will find this site a good source of support and information - please do ask any questions that might occur to you. One thing to bear in mind, though, when you are reading posts on this board, is that the board naturally attracts a disproportionate number of the tiny minority of asthmatics who have asthma which is very difficult to control and has a significant effect on their life-style. You may well read posts referring to long-term steroid treatment, frequent hospital admissions, and even Intensive Care admissions. This is by no means the norm in asthma! As I said, the vast majority of people can be controlled once the correct combination of drugs are found; it's just that the minority that can't be all tend to find their way here!

Take care, and I hope you see some improvement soon

Em H


Dear EmilyH,

thank you very much from your post. I have learned more reading your answers on this forum than speaking to my gp or consultant! I'm not a smoker and never been. It's just all of this has been quite of a shock as I'm 42 years old. It's great to have this forum as I have already found quite a few answers to a few of my questions ( the cramps one for example).


Had to reply to this post. My husband has really bad cough variant asthma and had problems for most of the Summer this year. Was beginning to despair and was ready to ask for specialist referal when GP suggested trying Singulair for 6 weeks. With some trepidation he agreed but low and behold it was like a wonder drug, no more coughing, going blue in the face and vomitting. So far touch wood no more symptoms to be had and he is keeping really well, he is still taking his Seretide as well I should add. Perhaps worth mentioning this to your GP or specialist as maybe this type of treatment could help you as well. Good luck and hope things improve for you.


Persistent cough

I know I've mentioned this before in previous posts, but I had a persistent and very painful cough for over a year. It drives everyone bonkers and exhausts me. Following various inhaler treatments, my cons insisted I must have reflux. I was very sceptical and researched it on the internet. Apparently it comes hand in hand with asthma sometimes. I am asthmatic, that is not in question, but the cough was confusing issues as it didn't go away, despite various treatments. I am now taking omneprazole for the reflux. It should work in about three weeks, but I'm only 2 weeks in. I do seem to be coughing less and now know that if I cough badly I have to lay down, as this closes the valve. I just hope that this might ring a bell for other people and save them coughing as much as I did before.


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