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asthma, chest infections and hireditaryness!


Random questions here, however not asking for any medical advice!!

I am a VERY brittle asthmatic, and there is a lot of asthma in the family. But finding the most recent development pretty difficult to stomach.

My younger sister has been complaining for a few years about feeling sob and tight sometimes, but has refused to go to the doctors - cant really be forced as while she is a teenager, she is also grown up and therefore able to make her own decisions. However last night she ended up in A&E with chest pains and being unable to talk due to being sob. She was advised to go to the GP to get a firm diagnosis, which she did and came away with salbutamol and being instructed to keep a PF diary.

She collapsed again today, so I took her to A&E, she was struggling to breathe etc and had a lot of tests. It turns out that she has a really nasty (viral) chest infection which is setting off her asthma - brand new dx though!!!!

Sooo any advice/reassurance?! I turned super brittle after a load of chest infections and really don't want her to go through this! I know its not likely, but ..... ?!?!?!

Laura x

4 Replies

I'm sorry your sister had a rough time of it.

No matter what her story won't be yours. Even if she does end up with continuing health problems she's not charting her ship in the same virgin waters you were when this all started for you. She is not alone in the same way you were.

It is always harder looking on the outside in when people we love are struggling. But from the inside out it is different because we can pull on our strengths, our creativity, our compassion to get through things. Your sister, like you, has all sorts of inner and outer resources to deal with whatever comes her way. Whatever happens she will be able to handle it.

The flip side of your younger sister resisting your advice to go to the doctor sooner etc is that she sees herself as in charge of her life. Even if she makes the wrong judgement call from time to time, her insisting on being the one to make those decisions is a GOOD thing. I know, when its your younger sister, you may have your doubts from time to time, but it really is good. Initiative, believing in oneself is so important in all of life, including any health problems.

Aside from practical advice, everything you can do to believe in her, build her up, encourage her gives her that many resources to handle whatever life throws her way. We can't control what life brings us, but we can help each other have the best set of tools possible to deal with it.


Hope your sister is feeling well soon.


Laura, I hope against hope that your sister does not go on to develop severe and/or brittle asthma - like you, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Please remember that *anyone* can catch a really nasty chest infection, whether they are asthmatic or not. Also from experience viral ones can sometimes be worse than bacterial, certainly more painful (I had viral brohchitis when I was 19 and thought I was dying!). Conversely, when I had pneumonia some years ago I was tired & had a dreadful cough but didnt feel 'ill'.


It is possible her asthma will be virus-triggered and not be a problem for her at all day to day, or it may be mild and easily controlled if it does continue. As Beth says, if it does become severe, she will already have seen you dealing with it and you both now know how to deal with it.

One thought though, I wonder if part of her reluctance to seek help is from seeing you wait until its *very* late to do so yourself? Maybe she thought she was overreacting if she went earlier due this? Hugs to you both xx


Hi Laura,

Like you asthma features in my family tree a lot with four out of five children having an asthma diagnosis. I can't really add to what others have already said but just wanted to mention personal experience.

My middle sister is brittle and has been for over ten years and my youngest sister has asthma which is only really triggered by infections (however when she has one it really kicks off). I'm somewhere inbetween as my asthma seems to vary a lot. There have been several advantages to being in a family of asthmatics -we are much better on picking up on how each other really feel and have also used knowledge from other doctors to give suggestions (we are quite spread out geographically). My mum also believes that my sister was taken much more seriously at diagnosis as she already had three siblings with asthma (my parents were telling the doctors for months that they believed I had asthma but as I was a baby/toddler diagnosis took such a long time. My sister (at about the same age) was given a blue inhaler to try by the same doctor!

Sorry if all I have done is repeat others but just wanted to mention how it has helped us.


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