Asthma a lot worse at uni but no idea why!


So, I've finally started uni! I love being here but my asthma is so much worse right now. I'm quite SOB all the time and am really struggling walking around (ok, everything seems to be uphill but even if I take it slow it gets to me!). Last night I had a quite night in and went to bed 'early' and I just laid in bed really struggling to breath. I do have a bit of a cold but I always have colds and that has never got me this much in the past. I had to sleep almost sitting up! This morning I was ok but I have got a persistant cough that's come back. I think the increase in my preventer is also upsetting my throat since it seems constantly dry and makes me cough.

I know that the inhalers I have right now are not the best for me, and I am going to make an appointment for a review tomorrow since my nurse back home couldn't change them (see my moaning thread!). I think maybe the smoke machines in clubs have triggered me a bit but I haven't spent much time near them so they can't be the reason for my asthma being worse. I've only moved an hour away so I wouldn't think environment was a massive factor either. My halls only opened last year so it can't be damp of mold. My pf is between 330 and 370 which is low for me since my best is 450, but then it has been low for a while. I'm hoping for a nice nurse who'll explain everything to me but in the meantime any advice? Or anything that could be an obvious trigger that I'm missing? I have moved from the country into a city but there is very little traffic around the uni and most of the local roads are perdestrianised anyway so I'm not sure if pollution is a factor.

Ok, I've gone on long enough! Not entirely sure what I'm looking for in making this post, but I'll appreciate any replies :)


14 Replies

  • Hi Rachel

    sorry to hear your not feeling well

    do you have a action plan?

    you might have got 'freshers flu' which might have triggered your asthma

    I know when I used to go back to uni, I always managed to get 'freshers flu' which triggered my asthma so upped my medication and took extra prevention so my asthma doesn't get affected.

    hope this helps



  • Hi Nimz, thanks for your reply :)

    I don't have an action plan, my asthma nurse at home is next to useless so she didn't tell me anything or explain anything to me! I'm not usually that bad. I get loads of symptoms but I've never had a full blown attack so maybe she thought I don't need anything like that. Last night though I was really scared!

    I don't feel ill in any way, I'm just tired but that's due to a complete lack of sleep! Maybe I'm coming down with something! My asthma nurse at home doubled my preventer last week since she said she wouldn't be able to review me if she gave me new inhalers, though she said I do need them. The dose I have now is temporary until I can get an appt up here. I registered today and asked a nurse who was there forcing us all to sign up and she said just call tomorrow. One of the doctors gave a talk today about the health centre and she said appts were avaliable next day at the very latest so hopefully I won't be waiting long!

    Just thought, my eyes have been running so maybe it's allergies? I'll see if I have any antihistamines lying around!

    Thanks :) You did help :)

  • I'm in the States so I'm writing in American :). But I remember well when I moved to college, out of state, and had the most miserable eye allergies. I really thought my eyes were going to fall out of my head, and then trying to figure out the new health system was very confusing at first!

    One thing that happened was my second year, within minutes of returning to campus, I realized I could breathe 10 times better, well it turned out they had taken 10 inches of mold off of all of the air filters in the air ducts over the Summer. Yuck! And I think they had to do it, because a friend of my with asthma had gotten horribly sick the year before and had to make a case out of it. Anyways, at that point I didn't know I had asthma, but there are a lot of changes when you first go away to school, that would make perfect sense as to why you're feeling poorly.

    Hang in there! Do try to go to the health center, and be persistent if it takes some time at first. It can be done, but sometimes it takes a few tries to get to where you need to be. Especially when you're new, and if you're like I was, I got very lost the first time I went to the doctor by myself. LOL.


  • Hi bee :) thanks for replying :)

    Last night was a bit better so maybe I'm getting used to this place! I rang for an appt this morning but at that time they hadn't processed my registration so I'm going to try again in an hour (tbf I did only register yesterday afternoon!) fortunately the health centre is just across the road from campus, though I'll probably still get lost lol! I guess I'm lucky that the NHS is the same up and down the country! I've just found a ceretizine tablet in my purse so I've taken that and I'll see if it helps, though they don't usually work on me :( I have an ensuite room so I've given the bathroom a good clean incase there was any mold that I wouldn't quite see and I've had a Hoover and dust too to make sure it's not that. So far it's not helped :/

    I have a friend who spent last night in bed and feels awful today so maybe I have a bit of freshers flu :/

    It's quite humid right now so I might go ask at accommodation services for a dehumidifier later and see if that works.

    Thanks :)

  • Hi!

    Glad you're enjoying uni, its a fab time of your life!!!

    Any chance it could be the mattress? I know that might sound daft but uf its not new it may be full of dust mites.....

  • How's it going Rachel? Hope you got in to see someone and they were helpful. Maybe if the halls are a bit crappily built they could still have mould etc - or some kind of lingering building material thing? (I'm just guessing here really lol).

    Hope you're enjoying uni otherwise!

  • I'm not sure about the age of the mattress, but it can't be more than 2 years old. The antihistamine helped with my eyes, and stopped me sneezing so I'm probably allergic to something around here :/

    I've got an appt on Wednesday, they did offer me earlier ones but I only timetable today so I didnt want to make one at a time I might have lectures at. I was told I would have Wednesdays off. At least it's not.long to wait! Hopefully this nurse will be better! I was worse again today since we.went for a long uphill walk :/ I know right now I'm going to regret going out tonight to where there's a smoke machine! The cough I've had on and off since July has also come back with a vengeance, but then everyone has a cough atm! As of yet I only know of one person with freshers flu at least!

    Thanks everyone :) 5 days and I may have working inhalers!

  • Might be worth talking to your accommodation office and explaining your issues to them to see if they will provide a new mattress.

    Enjoy the parties! :-D

  • Hey Rachel

    I second what Angelica says and talk to your halls manager or someone with authority in your halls and explain the situation to them, I found that the carpet triggered my asthma even though it had only been put in weeks before I moved in, so they changed it to wooden flooring and that made a world of difference.

    Also when you go to see the nurse, find out if you can have an allergy skin prick test done to find out exactly what your allergic to, as it will help knowing what your allergies are so you can prepare for them.

    Good Luck

    Have fun during Freshers


  • Thanks guys :)

    I'll speak to them tomorrow if I get a chance since at weekends we only have emergency mainteneance staff and security on campus. I think it must be an allergy combined with freshers flu that's upsetting me. I've been taling antihistamines and my eyes have stopped running and I've stopped sneezing. Most of my friends have coughs and colds though so it's likely I've picked something up from them. The other day my flatmates cleaned our kitchen and living area really thoroughly for me :) just incase it was dust or something in there :) I have the best flatmates! Last night was bad though, to the point where I stayed in because I didn't think I was able to go out :( I used ventolin 3 times and this morning my pf was 335 (best is 450) so yeah, something got to me! Today wasn't fantastic but then there was a massive fire in a pizza just across the road from campus that spread to 2 other shops so the smoke was pretty bad. Most of the uni buildings on that side of campus had their smoke alarms going off because of the amount of smoke in the air! Aside from that, I washed my bedding (which was all brand new) and put some on which I've used before and I seem better now so maybe it was something to do with that. I'm not as good as before I came yet but Some of my sheets are new so maybe after I was them I'll be ok :)

    Hopefully this'll clear up soon, cheerleading and netball practice start next week!

    It feels silly to moan about being sob on here when others are talking about attacks and icu stays!

  • Glad its settling for you a bit and hopefully once the cold has gone things will settle a bit more for you.

    Pls don't feel its silly to moan about your asthma, we all live with it at different levels but we all have to live with our symptoms and the impact they have on us so moan away, this is a fab place to vent with people who understand!! :)

  • I had the exact same problems when I started uni. I think for me it was a combination of a couple of things especially my accommodation. I really recommend those matress protectors that you sort of zip the mattress into? I can't remember where we found mine but it was a godsend. Lack of sleep is always a trigger for me too, so I used to try and nap for a couple of hours during the evening if I knew I was going out!

    Its always worth saying to the medical centre that your struggling and it's asthma if you try to make an appt and can't get one for that day. I know here they always fit people in if it's urgent!

    I hope you feel better soon and you have a great first semester!

  • Hello :)

    I moved away to uni last year and I my asthma seemed to get worse but my halls were very damp and mouldy. I didnt want to bother my flatmates as I didnt thinkthey would want to be bothered with it all. But they were great all my housemates now know what to do and this makes me feel alot better.

    I had to change hospitals aswell and was worried that the new team may not understand my asthma, the triggers ect but thankfully they are very good.

    Have a chat with your the others in halls so maybe you feel a little better about that and at least you know they would keep an eye on you?

    The campus were useless when I was there about sorting the accommodation out but my asthma nurse did ring them xould you try that?

    Hope you enjoy uni life!!

    Emma :)

  • I saw the nurse today and she was so nice and helpful :) she explained everything and listened to me. She asked if I understood what she was saying and she was so easy to talk to, we actually chatted and had a laugh for a few minutes :). assive change from what I'm used to!

    She said that most people get worse when they come here, since we're kind of surounded by hills so the pollution hangs around. She did say though that it's affected me worse than most people but then that may be because I come from the countryside where there is pretty much no pollution. Another massive difference between this nurse and the others is that she didn't just tell me to keep using the inhalers I have for a bit longer to see if they do something eventually! I've been taking the max amount of beclometasone for 2 weeks ish and since this hasn't made a difference she's told me that I need something else, probably a combined inhaler. The downside is that, she says my pf is far too low since I'm actually very fit and so for now I shouldn't really be doing any sports, which is a shame because they all start on friday but then I do see where she's coming from and tbh I don't think I could cope with running and dancing for 2 hours straight. I am still allowed to go to the gym but only as long as I'm careful and stop as soon as I get symptoms. She also gave me a leaflet that I'm supposed to put up on the noticeboard in our kitchen for my flatmates about asthma and attacks. I have told them I have asthma, and one of them has a brother with asthma so she knows what to do. The others have all downloaded first aid apps onto their phones :) Last night I had a coughing fit and they all came knocking on my door :) I have the best flatmates!

    The nurse has told me that she would rather me see a doctor as she can't prescribe anything stronger herself so I'm going back on friday to see one of them. Can't get used to this idea of not waiting ages for appts!

    I've not spoken to the accommodation team yet (I forgot/ it was raining!) I know that over the summer every room had a deep clean and that all of the mattresses in our flat were replaced. Basically paralympic athletes stayed in these halls for a week and pretty much trashed them and smoked in roome etc! (The cleaners use our kitchen for their breaks and in exchange we get all the gossip that student's aren't supposed to know, and cleaning supplies!) So yeah, everything is clean and new. There is a building site on campus next to the student village so it could be dust from that, in which case there's not anything anyone can do.

    Ok, essay finished :) I am definately enjoying uni though, regardless of asthma!

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