asthma attack lasting two weeks

Hi I am so glad to find this forum. I hope you can give me some advice,

I have had asthma from a child and have been hospitalised and needed emergency treatment on and off all my life.

my asthma has for the past few years been really well managed by just one inhaler symbicort a miracle drug to me who was used to carrying 4 or 5 pumps around!

I work in a charity shop where all of the sorting and steaming of clothes is carried out in a basement with a small ventilation system.

Earlier this year the basement flooded for the second time in two years.

This time I thought all the moisture had been removed with a rented dehumidifier but two months ago noticed mould growing in the corner where the clothes steamer is used.

In that time my asthma had worsened and i had needed two courses of steroids and a ventolin reliever to manage my condition not noticing the damp conditions.

The mould was treated and painted over and I thought that everything would now be ok.

However two weeks ago I was at work and having done a lot of steaming of stock over in that corner I found myself breathing in a massive lung full of damp/mouldy air.

i reported this straight away and left work as I wasn't able to breathe. I went to see my GP the next morning who said it was the work conditions exacerbated by the heat outside. They prescribed another course of 5 day steroids and upped my Symbicort inhaler

I returned to work and they arranged for the dehum to be brought back to the shop.

My asthma got progressively worse even with the tablets and I was forced to leave work on the Saturday with severe SOB

I saw another GP on the Sunday and was sent for a nebuliser at the hospital and for a chest xray.

The chest xray was clear but i was told i had occupational asthma caused by the conditions at work.

I was sent home and told to continue with my inhalers. They could find no sign of any wheezing and my oxygen stats were fine.

I still have severe sob now but again with no wheezing is this normal? I am using sooo much ventolin (with spacer) i have tremors and am finding it difficult to sleep.

I am beginning to get scared. I have never had an asthma attack last this long and not to be under control. I am due back at work on Monday but have requested (following GP advice) to go to another shop.

Today my breathing is slightly better but I am still using my pumps a lot and can only walk or move slowly.

How long do you think it will take for my chest to get better and can anyone explain the SOB with no wheezing and why i didn't respond to steroids? Should i try again?

I realise now that i must have been working in a damp basement for at least 3/4 months! I feel so stupid.

I love my job and don't want to cause trouble.

sorry for such a long post

thanks gene

6 Replies

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  • I don't have experience so I can comment on the rest of your post, so just this thought: black mould, or other moulds aren't good for anyone. You are doing nothing unhelpful pointing these problems out to your employer. It is useful for them to be aware there is a problem within their recently flooded building. I hope they do recognise that!

  • Thank you for replying to my post. I apologise for such a lengthy wait in getting back to you.

    My symptoms didn't improve and so I had to go back to the doctor who signed me off again from work. (I had gone back albeit in another shop.)

    She was very concerned and has referred me to the local Respiratory Clinic who will do a Spirometry test in their assessment.

    She also started me on Montelukast which has definitely helped make a difference but I do still have some SOB and my chest is very sensitive it seems to every possible trigger!

    I think being away from that and any other basement has really helped to improve my breathing and whilst I feel a lot better there is still some way to go before I feel this is totally under control and I am back to normal.

    I am going to speak to work and ask them to transfer me to a different shop for the short term whilst they sort out the conditions in my shop and will engage the Occupational and Environmental Health teams if necessary.

    Thanks again, the information, feedback and advice on this site has been so useful. I hope I can be of help to others in the future. gene

  • It can take a month or more to recover, as your lungs themselves need time to recover from the inflammation. I am concerned about the number of times you are using your ventolin\salbutamol inhaler. If you are taking more puffs than 8 max a day, you really must see the GP. Ventolin inhalers do affect your heart. The idea is that your Asthma is controlled by the steroid inhalers and long lasting relievers, and only need to use the ventolin occasionally. Your SOB should decrease, given time. May I suggest, when you feel better, that you have a Spirometry test done by your Asthma Nurse to see how your lungs are, and if they have been permanently damaged by the mould infections. I would also suggest you see the Asthma Specialist Consultant to help gain back control of your Asthma. Time is a good healer. I don't think you should go back to work on Monday, if you are still SOB, as you will be vulnerable to any nasty bugs out there.

  • Hi,

    I had a similar experience where an attack went on, which caused anxiety which seemed to make the asthma worse, turned out I had gone from asthma to panic attacks. Have you considered this??

    Good luck,

    Gareth

  • Not good working conditions for anyone. The charity needs to be negotiating for new premises if this is a recurring problem. Most can afford to - refitting shops seems to be way they go! Council tax is less for charities too. You are working to help raise their funds but are suffering in the meantime. Should anyone have to work in a basement?

    We all deserve clean air.

  • I had a similar time like this a long time ago. I can only say that I took 2 weeks away to get some fresh air by the sea in. I also took some antibiotics from GP and vitamins. I think it could be you need a change of environment.

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