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Asthma UK community forum
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How long to recover from an attack?

Hi...im a newbie here, please be gentle!!

I was diagnosed with asthma I my early 30's and for the past 10 yrs it has been well controlled.

Serotide x2 daily

Singulair daily

Ventolin as needed.

I have regular checkups and have not needed a change in medication for a while.

I had an attack at work last week, first one in about 18 months. Ended up in AE for treatment.

40mg steroids daily x 6 days to take home.

Although my breathing is better, I feel totally exhausted. Just sleeping all the time.

I'm due to be back in work in 2 days and at the moment I just don't feel like I can do it. I get the feeling that people (without knowledge of asthma ) think you just 'get over it' when the attack is over.

Am I odd ???? Does anyone else find it takes a while to get over???

I just feel a bit 'lost' and like people expect me to be fighting fit again......and I'm not.

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Hi, sorry to hear you're not doing too well currently (and from one newbie to another welcome 😊)!

For me, recovery from each attack is different (can depend on several factors i.e. Severity of the attack, meds given in a&e and after, length of time in hospital etc). I've had some attacks where it's taken me a couple of days to 'get over' the fatigue aspect, whilst currently I'm 2/3 weeks post hospitalisation and am still have issues (with both symptoms and fatigue).

I know exactly what you mean by people not understanding how tiring asthma attacks can be, for me it took going back to work too early (and re-admission to a&e) for my colleagues/tutors (I'm at uni πŸ™‚) to start to understand - not a pleasant experience! I think that because so many people are 'asthmatic' (aka had a blue pump as a child which they never used, and don't carry around with them now) people think asthma is a minor issue and so just don't understand how bad it can be, yet if we had a 'minor' heart condition and ended up in hospital with a 'minor' heart attack, we wouldn't be expected to do anything for at least 2 weeks whilst we recover! (I coach disability gymnastics and recently had to cancel 2 separate weeks of training [Saturdays only] due to being in hospital at the time and one parent moaned/complained to the other parents about the missed classes then condescending asked me how my 'throat' was 😀 - at least my other coaches/parents put her in her place and supported me!)

It's normal to still feel tired and/or emotional after an attack (especially if it's your first for a long time and it's come out of the blue) as your body/mind has just gone through a severe trauma and has had to recover from 'almost dying' (you're lungs are shutting down, you're brain is panicking, then you're bodies pumped full off new drugs so even if physically the attack wasn't too bad, mentally it can be very draining as you fight to breathe). Personally I've also found that sometimes I 'snap' out of the fatigue and I wake up one day suddenly not tired, and other times it just slowly gets better and I do a bit more each day.

If you're still feeling tired on Monday, it may be worth speaking to your GP and getting a sick note for the next week or so to recover or speak to your employer and going back to work part time or on limited duties (depending on how you're feeling/your job).

Hope that helps, and that you feel better soon!


PS I've found the easiest way for people to understand how it feels during an attack/immediately after is do to the straw challenge - get them to hold their nose and breath through a thin straw for 30 secs. All my friends at uni did it and realised how stressed, panicky and tired they felt during and after the challenge, then I told them that I can be like that for hours at a time if I'm building up to or having an attack - penny dropped and they stopped getting irritated at me/making comments when I kept saying that I was tired/missing uni to sleep etc 😁


That is a perfect explanation. Could put it better myself. I hope and pray this beautifully written post will help you Scrappie.

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Thankyou......its like you knew what ws inside my head!

Going to do the straw challenge at work when I'm back. Some of them just don't 'get it'. But I guess that's ok too....we are all different after all.

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Hi there, it takes me 8/10 weeks to recover properly from a bad attack and at least 3/4 to get to a semblance of normality. However the steroids really take it out of you. And I do find that things do pick up from a fatigue point of view when I stop them. If your chest is okay, sometimes it's a good idea to try and get going again as being unwell is so depressing. Although you may feel very tired back at work. If you could do short days for a week that might help.

Sometimes I get so focused on how bad I feel it is difficult to get out of the rut and stop letting Asthma dominating your life.


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I find that, oddly, a bad attack sometimes goes fairly quickly whereas I can get stuck with the sort of long, lingering huffing & puffing sort of attack for weeks. I think we all experience asthma in our own way, so to that end what you're experiencing is normal.

In terms of work, if you've got a reasonable employer then hopefully (especially if you have a generally solid attendance record) they will understand & act sensibly & reasonably. If you don't, then be aware that you have a certain amount of protection & rights under the Equalities Act. There are a few threads on here that cover it, but if you hit trouble with the boss let us know.

I hope you feel better soon.

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Thanks guys.

Oddly I've woken this morning and font feel tired at all......I actually WANT to do something and FEEL like I CAN. So going to go out for lunch later on. Really looking forward to it.


So glad you're feeling better!!! My only advice is to just be careful today and take it easy as it's really easy to push yourself too far when you suddenly feel better and then completely crashing afterwards (I'm a serial offender of this!!!) Enjoy your lunch and hope you stay well for another 10+ years!!! X


Hi, I'm glad you are feeling a bit better today 😊

Take care though not to overdo things. Try to give time to recover - I'm always so happy to feel a bit better that I try to catch up and end up making myself worse.

Fingers crossed for you xxx


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