Could this be Asthma?: Hello Apologies... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

16,860 members21,410 posts

Could this be Asthma?



Apologies firstly if my query sounds a touch convoluted but I will try to explain as best I can.

I've never been officially diagnosed as asthmatic but have experienced related symptoms in the past particularly when exposed to things I'm allergic to such as cats. While originally they only gave me sneezing fits, a runny nose and itchy eyes this later developed into a more severe reaction such as wheezing, coughing, a tight chest and shortness of breath - all the standard asthma symptoms as far as I understand.

On one occasion when I was suffering from having been around a cat, a friend of mine, who herself is asthmatic, suggested I use her inhaler to see if that would help. I was slightly apprehensive doing so at first and of course I understand that one shouldn't normally be taking medicine of this kind unless first prescribed by a doctor. However, following her insistence I decided it would unlikely do me much harm and after a couple of puffs of her Ventolin my breathing felt a good deal better.

Now I had not been to the doctor before or after this event as, rightly or wrongly, I didn't think it was much of an issue as along as stayed away from potential triggers such as cats a much as I could. Also the girl who had lent me the inhaler had insisted I keep it as it was a spare and on the chance I might have to use it again in the future.

Thankfully I hadn't felt the need to until very recently when I picked up a pretty unpleasant flu-like bug last week which latterly turned into a chest infection. This did result in some respiratory issues for me which the Ventolin initially appeared to help with. However, this last Saturday I developed a terrible cough which went on for over 24 hours which no matter how many puffs I took did not seem to help. I think this was also exacerbated by having been out in the cold air that day and then later returning to the warmth of my flat. I felt a little better on Monday but was then up through the night coughing and had to leave work early today for the same reasons.

So after all that my question really is do you think what I have is actually asthma or is it more likely the case of simply having a bad cat allergy and that this recent chest infection while fairly severe is unrelated?

I did speak with a very kind and informative asthma nurse who advised I make a doctor's appointment as soon as I can. However, I don't want to be wasting anyone's time and I think I might be slightly embarrassed explaining this to a medical professional. Perhaps this is me being unnecessarily concerned so any advice would be most welcome.


11 Replies

See a doctor. you recognised asthma like symptoms, but more importantly you were told by a health professional to see your doctor. He won't think you're wasting his time, well, not if he's a caring doctor.

please see a doctor! this won't get better on its own and could get worse. apart from anything else its sounds as though you could do with an antibiotic course at the least! might get reprimanded for using someone elses inhaler but at least you will bereffered to an asthma clinic I'm sure. hope you soon feel better.

Like the others have already said please see your doctor.

Good luck.

Yes, the coughing is an asthma symptom. Go see a doctor and make sure to say Ventolin doesn't give you relief from the cough and that it happens in the night, you may need something more.

If any medical professional thinks you are wasting your time or makes you feel embarrassed then complain about them. I doubt that any would unless they are having a very ad day! They are there to help you whatever the situation. Please go to your Doctor.

+1 from me; go see the doc. In a sense it doesn't matter what the label is although it sounds like there's strong evidence that you have asthma. I'm very sure though that any decent doc will try to get to the bottom of it with you.

Go to the doctor, give him the facts and take it from there. Do not chance using meds not prescribed for you please don't ever do it again you could make yourself really ill.


I don't, fortunately have blown asthma, but have, what has yet to be diagnosed as Cough Variant Asthma. Just before Christmas I came down with a chest infection and needed antibiotics and the usual 3 day pred. I daren't do 5 days as i end up a homicidal maniac. 3 days doesn't have any adverse effect. The cough has now come back with a vengeance and seems ok during the day, but come the evening it starts and how!

Like you i don't want to feel I'm wasting anyone's time. but "real" asthma IS life threatening and you most certainly should take up their time and stop worrying about it.


Just to say thank you for all the very helpful and supportive responses.

I'm scheduled to see the doctor next week so will let you know some time after that how things have gone.

gimmethat in reply to TSST

how are you feeling now? Were you diagnosed?

Thanks for asking. Here's how things have transpired since then.

I realise this probably wasn't wise but I later felt much better after this previous infection and also due to being so busy with other priorities didn't end up having it checked out as I obviously should have.

However, due to my concern over being so allergic to cats I ended up going to the doctor last year to discuss helping me alleviate my symptoms as I was going to be staying with a friend who owned one! She advised a few preventative techniques but also prescribed me a Ventolin inhaler for as and when I needed it. I did actually end up being very helpful as there was times while I was there that I began wheezing and the inhaler really did help.

That being said I don't think the doctor actually believed that I had full blown asthma. She asked me questions about whether I experienced shortness of breath while doing basic physical routines such as climbing stairs. As I replied that I did not and that my symptoms only seemed to occur with certain things I was allergic to she didn't run any further tests such as taking my peak flow but only listened to my breathing which she thought sounded perfectly clear at the time.

One detail I unfortunately somehow forgot to mention while at appointment was that colds were also trigger for me but I admittedly don't know how much of a difference this would have made to her overall diagnosis.

The latest is that just this week I ended up with another cold and woke up last night wheezing quite badly and with a tight chest as well. The good news though is that after a couple of puffs of Ventolin I started breathing much easier.

To be honest I think I'll probably be OK. I don't seem to have asthmatic symptoms unless under specific circumstances which I have outlined above (ie allergies and/or chest colds) so I figure that probably having the Ventolin inhaler for when I require it will be fine for now.

Obviously, however, there is still a little bit of uncertainty in my mind so I'd happy to here from those who may wish to offer any further advice!

You may also like...