First stage sickness absence meeting triggered :'(

Hi folks. I realise that my asthma is relatively mild in comparison to others on this forum but I am concerned it's flaring up again as I'm coughing up green gunk, wheezing and have the sniffles. My peak flow is good but my chest feels tight and irritated and I am fearful that besides viruses being a trigger that pollen also is- I was only diagnosed towards the end of last year so I am still on a learning curve.

I was supposed to see the asthma nurse for a review on Monday after she put me on Montelukast but she had to cancel the appointment and it's now been rearranged for Friday.

I am now on holiday - at home - which means I have more opportunity to seek advice from someone at my surgery, but is there any advice you can offer me in the meantime?

I'm on Seretide; ventolin ( no surprise there); Montelukast; Omeprazole and Vitamin D as my blood levels were negligible! 

Re my sickness absence I am feeling really worried at present as my RCN rep (Royal  College of Nursing ), said that even one more sickness absence in the next six months could then cause it to progress to stage two. She is very feisty and is like a British bulldog prepared to defend those she cares for :-) but I fear that will be insufficient...

Any advice would be appreciated, 

Thanks, Flossie xx 

17 Replies

  • Read the equality act of 2010, might find this helpful.  

  • Thanks x

  • Similar situation to you; also having RCN input. Awaiting occupational health assessment and review at difficult asthma clinic. PM if required.

  • Thanks. I might do that once I've figured out how! I trust things work out ok. Will be in touch later xx

  • If you click on my user name the option to send a message should appear on the right of your screen (I think!)

  • Thanks for coming to my rescue- as you can guess I hadn't figured out how to get in touch! I may leave it till tomorrow though as I'm recovering from busy nights and little sleep and need to catch up on some zzz's... I look forward to catching up soon. Thanks again :-)

  • Hi coughing up green (or yellow) gunk indicates an infection for which you might need ab's and steroids.   Unless you have an emergency supply you need to ask your doctor for some.   Don't leave it as chest infections can make your condition worse.    x

  • As far as work goes are you in a union?  If so seek help from the union rep.   If not have you ever been sent to occupation health?    Unless you have been there for less than 2 years then your employer has a duty of care towards you under the Health and Safety Act at work.   Once they are aware you have an illness they should be discussing putting into place 'reasonable adjustments' for you at work to help you stay in your job.

    These could include extra breaks,  extra sick leave for your illness,  change of duties etc.    Bear in mind though that these are always subject to 'business needs'.   

    For more help you can contact ACAS - google it.   If your employer doesn't follow the law and dismisses you then you have a case for taking them to Tribunal,  though you have to pay for that.   You can also have a free half hour with an employment specialist at a solicitors.  

    I had problems at work like this and was threatened with dismissal due to sickness,  so I have knowledge of the procedures.   And that was at the DWP!  Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.!    x


  • Thanks coughalot2 for your helpful advice. I am sorry to see  (though not surprised) that I'm not alone in being poorly treated by employers... I'm off to the surgery first thing Monday morning to get an emergency appt- possibly more abx and steroids. I must admit they have been very good where getting me to see someone is concerned- I just wish they could get my asthma sorted :-/

  • Hi I am glad my advice was useful.  If I can help anymore feel free to pm me.  I went through the mill with my experiences and learned quite a lot the hard way!

    Have you asked your doctor for a rescue pack?  This is an emergency supply of ab's and maybe steroids to be kept at home in case you are ill at weekends and holidays.  I don't know if they will do this for asthma though most will with asthma and copd.   x 

  • Hi just thought of something else again... I have had asthma for nigh on 30 years now but fortunately mine has usually been well controlled. Things that can cause flare ups - chest infection (often following a cold) with green or yellow gunk. Usually needs ab's and maybe steroids to clear it. A worsening of your symptoms (an exacerbation) with normal coloured gunk. Often steroids alone can help with this. Triggers can be pet hair, dust mites, pollen, traffic pollution, cleaning agents and even perfume.

    When I was diagnosed with copd as well I was given symbicort which is a preventer the same as seretide.   This really helped my asthma too.   Maybe a change of preventers is needed or an increase specially when you are poorly?   Preventers also have an element of maintenance which is what your reliever ventolin does too.   The current thinking now is that if you have to use your ventolin reliever more than 3/4 times a week then the preventer dose needs to be increased.   

    Oh if you haven't already look on the site.   They have nurses you can ring to ask questions.    x

  • Thanks so much for your help :-) I have had four lots of abx and a seven day course of steroids since Christmas- is that normal? The nurse I have been seeing said she thinks I have airway remodelling or something... I woke up coughing a few minutes ago and I'm wheezing a lot too despite doubling my preventer as advised by the asthma nurse. I have used my ventolin at least ten times today so it's far from ideal but my peak flow is good :-/ What makes it worse is the fact my husband is working tonight :-( I'm trying to stay calm and get back to sleep which's proving elusive despite being tired from night duty... Aaargh! :-)

  • Oh dear not good.   Do you sleep with several pillows as it can help.  When you lie down the fluid in your lungs tends to pool which makes you cough more.   Sleeping in a more sitting up position will stop that.

    As I am sure you know anxiety about it makes it worse.  Try some breathing exercises which you will find on youtube.  A good one I do is to breathe in (either through the nose or mouth) for around 3 seconds,  hold it for a couple of seconds then breathe out as long as you can like you do on the peak and flow test.    If there is any air or carbon monoxide trapped lower down your lungs this should help clear it.  Do it half a dozen times and see if it helps.

    Another thing which might help is to cut down on dairy.   This doesn't produce more mucus but makes it thicker and harder to cough up.   Drinking more water or fruit juice (not tea coffee or alcohol) will help thin it down.   xx  

  • Hi again! :-) Yes I sleep with two pretty thick pillows. I asked my physio at work for some breathing exercises which I have been doing on occasion as I felt it might be beneficial. And despite being a dairy farmer's daughter I don't eat a lot of dairy- I hate milk! Even the thought of drinking it makes me feel icky :-) Hope you sleep well and thanks again :-)

  • You are more than welcome flossiew.  Take care.  x

  • Hope things have improved? Your RCN rep sounds good, ended up on third stage of sickness absence. Asthma is covered under the equality act 2010.

  • Thanks for asking :-) My RCN rep managed to get my stage one meeting reconvened as the trust I work for had broken their own policy on at least several points to push the meeting through. It is now being held on Wed so I really hope it will be better than the previous one which they held just after I came off a night shift and was due to return that night and the next one as well and as I don't sleep well during the day I was even more anxious... It was an awful time and I was in tears throughout but I'm hopeful the next meeting will be more productive and less stressful since my rep will also be present. My manager doesn't seem helpful at all- the physio I have been seeing at work suggested a referral to occupational health. The first email she ignored completely: the latest one she has replied to wanting to know why I wanted a referral!!! At least my referral to an "airway clinic" has arrived already- my appointment is in two weeks time so hopefully they can help. I trust you're well. Enjoy what is left of the weekend :-)

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