How do you know when to go to the doctor?

Okay let me start off by giving a bit of background information. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago, I'm generally mild and exercise induced, I only use salbutamol and antihistamines as far as medication for asthma. The nurse keeps saying we might put you onto a steroid inhaler but we'll see. So my question is when do you go to the doctors for a flare up? I don't have an action plan (good lord my doctor seems useless) but since the start of the week every night I've had trouble with tight chestedness, wheezing and coughing which has kept my poor boyfriend awake with how loud my wheezing was. Now the symptoms have started appearing in the day and for the third time today I feel tight chested and wheezy, have often found myself just feeling exhausted and getting ever so slightly out of breath talking. After about half an hour after a good coughing fit or taking my inhaler the symptoms will let up. Do I wait and see if this goes away or go to a doctor ASAP? I was thinking of monitoring my peak flows for a few days first but I'm not sure, help?

4 Replies

  • Hi there, I would go to your GP asap if I were. I know from bitter experience what waiting can do. I was suffering symptoms similar to you about two mths ago not realising that my once well controlled asthma was becoming un-controllable. I started to keep a peak flow diary as I had made an appt to see my asthma nurse but had a three week wait for this. I never thought that in those three weeks I would end up in hosp twice, the second time being nearly a week in! Get it checked out hun, hope you get on ok.


  • Heya, I will if it keeps up! My peak flows are really high though, well I've only took it once during this ""flare"" and that was in the evening half hour after ventolin, so I'm not sure the doc will believe me. Chest was quite bad today, walked around shopping in the cold for 4 hours, but symptoms subsided after sitting in the warm for half an hour??

  • Hi again. I guess only you will know how you feel & I as you say peak flows can vary. If in any doubt though dont worry about the Dr believing you as you know how you are feeling. I worry alot about wasting my Dr's & my time but I wont let myself go so far down as I did before. I should have trusted my own instincts at the time but I thought it would be ok to leave it. Your Dr sounds like mine though so that doesn't help. Hope you are feeling better soon & all I can say is keep an eye on things. Take care.



  • Don't leave it too long. I waited 3 weeks with a really bad cough and feeling rough, that was at the beginning of November and was given antibiotics and steroids. I am still on antibiotics now. I ended up having two weeks off work and am still not right.

    Peak flow can be deceptive and doctors don't always realise this. My peak flow when I am OK is about 90 higher than it should be for my age and height according to the books so when GPs check it they think it is fine when in fact it is bad for me.

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