Which I really shouldn't be, goodness knows I've had a peak flow metre for long enough. But I've learned one or two things from this forum that I wasn't aware of before, so I'm wondering if you wonderful people out there can help me out.
As some of you will be aware, I went down with a viral infection late on Christmas Eve. Not unexpectedly my peak flow readings began to dip, even though my chest didn't feel too bad. OK, I was coughing, but it didn't feel like an asthma cough (I will usually get an 'itchy' feeling in my lungs when it is). By the time my local surgery re-opened on 29th December I was coughing up brown phlegm and my peak flow had begun to dip even further. Oddly, my chest still didn't feel particularly tight (I hadn't needed to take ventolin, for example). I was on 500 mcg of flixotide morning and evening, but that is normal for this time of year. I rang the local surgery and they fitted me in to see a doctor within a couple of hours. Not my usual doctor, in fact the one I saw is new to the practice and new to me, but she did all the right things. Checked peak flow, checked oxygen sats, discussed what had been going on, checked temperature, blood pressure, pulse and listened to my chest, which she pronounced clear (which was exactly what I had expected). However, she obviously wasn't going to take any chances. She discussed with me whether I should go on antibiotics or oral steroids, and agreed with me that given I wasn't requiring ventolin, oral steroids probably weren't necessary. So I went on a seven day course of antibiotics. Job done.
Seven days later when the course was finished, my peak flow was improving, the cough was going, still sniffly but no more temperatures (hadn't been for five days) - things were looking up. Two days ago my peak flow finally got back to more normal levels - great! Then yesterday I decided to finish a job I had started before Christmas - clearing out a load of old stuff from upstairs. Anticipating problems with dust, I wore a mask. Four hours after I'd finished the job I started coughing. Checked my peak flow - no problems there, everything looking good. This morning the peak flow was still good (reading 420), but I'm still coughing and I have that annoying itchy feeling in my windpipes and lungs which tells me my asthma is playing up.
So why is it that my peak flow went down when I had a virally induced cough but my chest really didn't feel too bad, but is absolutely fine when I have what really feels like irritated lungs with a chest that tightens up if I move around? Any ideas anyone?