New(ish) to Asthma with erratic peak flow


I’m fairly new to asthma, having been diagnosed with it in May this year after a bout of viral pneumonia in March and then an upper respiratory tract infection, tonsilitis and laryngitis. I’ve had a couple of colds as well (which really affect the peak flow readings) but don’t seem to last long. At present I’m taking Seretide 250 Evohaler (2 puffs, morning and evening about 12 hours apart) and Salamol Easi-breathe (up to 2 puffs, twice daily in between the Seretide). My peak flow was levelling out nicely but is now quite erratic – although usually staying within the Green level. Sometimes I feel as if I need more of the Salamol but hold out until the 4 hour interval is up.

There has been an ear infection since May and several courses of antibiotics haven’t done much. I still get bouts of dizziness and have an appointment in October at a “dizziness clinic”. I’m expecting to be told this is another side effect of the original respiratory virus (similar to having ear problems after a bad cold) but has anyone else had similar problems?

I have been tested for allergies (only pollen was positive) as well as numerous blood and sputum tests, all of which eventually came back OK and I’ve been told the virus which started everything off has gone. Pollution makes me feel tight chested, as can humid weather and I’ve always had a problem with hayfever at certain times of the year (tree pollen especially).

My GP tends to say “it can take a long time for your system to recover and you can expect your immune system to be weakened and to get more illnesses.” Other than that nobody seems able to tell me more. I don’t have any particular action plan from the GP apart from being asked to make an appointment after a three month interval to re-evaluate the condition.

I’m hoping to find out how much variation in peak flow is to be expected and how long it might take for the asthma to be more controlled. I’m now quite unfit, after all the respiratory problems, and get out of breath quite easily when walking uphill (it doesn’t help that I live on a hill!) and would like to get an exercise routine going but am not sure what. Qigong is one exercise method that has been recommended by friends – has anyone any other suggestions?

Sorry about the length of this posting but I’m trying to give as much detail as possible to see if other people have had similar issues and how they were resolved.

3 Replies

  • Hi,

    My peak flow has never gone over 380, when i was first diagnosed at 18 i could barely get 300. My asthma nurse despairs as my asthma is now quite well controlled and should be a lot higher she informs me. I can only think that i must have a small lung capacity. I too get out of breath walking uphill - i live at the bottom of a hill and so to walk my dog i have to go uphill. I take it very slowly and rest when i need to. I have now got to the stage where i can go up hill without the use of my reliever. I am starting to tackle small mountain walking now but not having the same joy!!!

    I would say just take it slowly and don't overdo it, little by little worked for me. I can now also jog on level ground as well as some other exercise but it took me about 3 to 4 years before i got my asthma under enough control to do any exercise. I still struggle in cold weather but my nurse helps me to adjust my inhaler dosage to compensate.

    Sorry i couldn't be more helpful with the peak flow issue.


  • Hi Sue and welcome to the forum, sorry you've been having all these problems.

    I probably can't help on the peak flow, though I think variability of more than 20% (of best) is usually an indication that things are not controlled. From your post it does sound like you don't have the best control - it might be worth going back to your GP and saying that you don't have good control, as you shouldn't have to struggle for 3 months; if your asthma is not under control you should act sooner. If you find the GP less than helpful maybe see another one in the practice?

    Re the dizziness - I also have problems with dizziness and am on medication (Buccastem) to help control it - if you really struggle with it maybe worth asking for something like that to control the symptoms, as if I don't have anything it can get quite difficult as I feel sort of fluey with it! In my case it doesn't seem to be linked to a virus and I'm not sure if it's ear-related; it started after a heart treadmill test and the doctors were worried at the time but now don't seem bothered and just say it's labyrinthitis (which it could be but I'm not quite convinced though I don't believe it's anything serious, just annoying).

    Hope this is somehow helpful, just wanted to show you're not alone! Feel free to PM me if you want.

  • Thank You

    Thank you so much for your replies and for welcoming me to the forum.

    It's good to know that it can take some time to get things under control, I will go back to the doctor's again and see if they are able to help this time.

    Thanks again,


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