Asthma UK community forum

Exams and asthma playing up


I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. I've got a maths exam on monday and it goes towards my GCSE mark. My asthma's been playing up pretty badly recently, and have now had my meds changed to symbicort 100/6 4 puffs twice a day and montelukast 10mg as well as various hayfever meds. Since last thursday i've had three attacks where i've had to be removed from lessons, two of them today. Both of them today happened fairly quickly, one of them happening in assembly which was embarressing and didn't make the attack any better! My attacks tend to last quite a while and i'm worried that i'm going to have on in the exam. They tend to come on when i'm nervous and stressed and we're having building work at school which really doesn't help. Any ideas?



6 Replies

exams and asthma

hiya becca

i have the same trouble as you and am just getting ready to do my GCSEs like you,i never thought this would work but it works fantastically for me their called kalms you can get the day or night version but go for the day version as the night ones make you sleep!!!

theres no drugs in them just herbs and is just a herbal remedy they worked really well for me with my asthma and freaking out about exams.

you can pick a tub of 200 tablets up for roughly £7/£8 and i really recommend them you can get smaller tubs though but i knew they would work for me as i was that ill

hope this is of some use to you

regards and best wishes

Toria x


Hiya Becca, just thought i would add that i take Kalms too! Ecept i take the morning and the night ones! They are really effective! Well i think if the work for Toria and Me then they should work for you!


Holly- May x


hi becca. how did the exam go? i hope it went well. if not try not to worry i asume it was a module exam and i'm guessing module 1 or 3. are you year 10 or 11. if 10 there at a number of possible resits for these modules. march and june for this year to name but a few. (sorry i should have said earlier i am a maths teacher) there are also 3 or 4 in year 11 if you need them. also mod 1 is only 11 % so try not to worry. do you sit your exams in the main exam room? If so i'm sure if you get a doctor's letter and talk to your exam's officer or senco that you could sit your exam in your sen room. that would mean far less pupils in the room and less worry about an attack. you may even be able to sit it in your own room with just one invigilator in with you. also if you feel anxious at the start of the exam it may be possible to start your exam up to an hour after the offical start time as long as the school keeps you in isolation. get your mum to have a word with the school. if they act quickly you should have some measures in for the june modules.

good luck.


Hi Becca,

Hope the exam went well. Just wanted to echo what Debi said - do discuss your worries with your school, there is a lot they can do if they know about it beforehand, it is more difficult for them to act if they don't find out until late on what problems you are having. They should make allowances for you, and they can even write to the exam board and explain what's going on. That means that if you end up missing one of the exams they MAY still be able to give you a mark based on the others (the exact rules do I think vary from board to board).

Toria, I'm glad you have found Kalms helpful but I did just want to add a slight note of caution. Herbs are drugs as well (aspirin and the heart drug digoxin are both derived from herbs originally, and they can both be very dangerous if taken inappropriately) and some of them can be extremely powerful and can make asthma worse or interact with prescription medications. St John's Wort, for example, a herbal remedy which is commonly used for depression, can seriously mess up theophylline levels if the two are taken together.

Kalms contain hop powder, which can potentially interact with a range of medication, including theophylline, by suppressing the enzymes in the liver. They also contain valerian, which can have effects similar to benzodiazepines (sedative drugs like Valium and temazepam) so could potentially suppress your breathing, which is obviously more dangerous in asthmatics. The night-time version of Kalms also contains Passiflora among other things, which can have a similar effect.

I am not saying that you shouldn't be taking Kalms, and as long as you are not exceeding the recommended dose you are probably not getting a large enough amount of these substances to worry about the things described above, but please do tell your doctor that you are taking them! They are a medication just like any other, except that they have not gone through the rigorous testing and safety checks that prescription medication has to.

I sympathise with the anxiety and insomnia though, as you may guess from the time on this post!

Take care,



Thanks so much for the advice everyone! My exam's on monday, so i haven't taken it yet. Thanks for the info. on writing to the school. My mum is going to write in and hopefully things'll be sorted out before the next exam!

Debi: I'm in year 10, so this'll be my first maths modular, although i've already taken a science one. I'm in a classroom for this exam, so hopefully that'll pose less of a problem, but i'm in the main hall for the science exams.

Thanks for the advice



Another word of warning on Kalms, if you do decide to take them then if possible try them out well in advance of any exams, etc. I may just be a total freak, but when I took them before my driving test I got really vivid nightmares, which did nothing to help relax me!


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