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.