Very confused!

Hello, I am new to this forum after being recommended by the brilliant asthma helpline. Reading around the forum and there is some great support.

I am looking for some advice. I am 31 years old and had fairly mild asthma since I was 12. Always been pretty well controlled and been fit and active. Love cycling and and asthma has never really affected my activities. My peak flow is good. I have some triggers such as smoke, allergies and stress but my asthma attacks were never severe and never been to hospital for asthma. (Although needed a nebuliser once after general anaesthetic)

I am confused because in the last 2 summers, my asthma has gone crazy. Starting at about July both years, I've ended up needing my ventolin several times a day and sometimes waking up at night. In the last 2 - 3 months I have woken up every single night with asthma. Sometimes taking my ventolin 10 to 20 times before my lungs relax to breathe normal. I sometimes go outside and open window fully. Also sometimes bad in the day. I take montekulast, anti-histamines and now fostair 200 (was on seretide 250 for years until doctors recently tried changing me to this, 3 weeks ago). I've recently had 2 5 courses of prednisolone steroids which definitely helped, but as soon as I finish the course, the asthma returns. I almost expect it to happen and my anxiety about it doesn't help either.

Doctor has just suggested a third course of steroids for a whole week to knock it on the head plus allow time to get used to fostair and if it doesn't calm down afterwards we can look into hospital tests.

Losing lots of sleep means I am tired for work the next day. Not cycling as much, getting unhealthy and putting on weight. Worried about a downward decline in asthma, however my peakflow is still at above average! Very confused!

Anyone else have similar situations?

Also worth mentioning, I have a cat but not very allergic. Hoover as much as possible and bedroom window near trees, ivy plants and grass.

Thanks

38 Replies

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  • Hi and welcome 😁

    I've had something relatively similar (however I tend to flare up in winter) over the last 2 years and this summer has been awful (7 trips to hospital, 4 admittances totaling 22ish days).

    It sounds like you've become 'more allergic' during the summer, probably hayfever related... which antihistamine are you on? It could be that the docs have a antihistamine that will work better, there are also nasal sprays/drops which can help if this is really the cause of your issue. If it is allergen related, you could also ask for an allergy test (skin or blood/IgE levels) to see if there's something obvious you're missing and can avoid. If the allergen is coming from outside I'd advise shutting the window but I fully appreciate that sometimes during an attack you just need the fresh air!

    There are lots of opinions on whether air purifiers work with allergic asthma, but it may be something you eventually look into yourself after you've read around the subject a bit, to see if it helps if your breathing doesn't improve. Mine seems to help slightly, but only if it's left on all the time and as a student that becomes quite expensive!

    Well done for staying out of hospital (a fete I haven't managed 😕), however if you're ever feeling like your ventolin isn't working or isn't lasting 4 hours I would advise going up there or at least going to see your GP. If you're waking at night it's a sign that your asthma is uncontrolled but hopefully the change in preventer will help with this... if it doesn't go back to the GP again.

    It may also be worth asking for a referral to your local hospital regardless, for lung function tests etc just to completely confirm that it is asthma causing the issue and nothing else. I'm assuming that you've never been 'officially' confirmed as asthmatic just diagnosed, like many, by a GP... I had this issue myself and it delayed my own treatment by 6-8 months!

    Try not to think about the pred too much... anxiety is a known cause for asthma flare ups, and you don't want to end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy - tho I get how difficult this is to avoid! This you're concerned about it speak to your GP about it... it could be that you could have a 'short term' pred tail off (say 10 mg a day) that way your brain can realise you're managing with a low level so don't need it and build your confidence that way - I don't know if this is possible but it may be worth asking about if it keeps happening.

    On the PF front I too have a ridiculously high PF for a 'normal' person let alone an asthmatic... higher than most of my friends and the hospital staff, despite being cautiously diagnosed as a severe asthmatic (full true diagnosis coming this week hopefully!) and having multiple 'life-threatening' attacks requiring hospitalisation. Recently met another severe asthmatic and his 'absolute best' is less than 50% of mine 😅. Most people with a history of a lot of high performance/demand exercise (ex-gymnast/trampolinist/tumbler/martial artist here 😁) seem to have high PFs! Try not to judge the severity of an attack just on your PF, but also on how you're feeling, if you can't talk/eat/sleep etc these are worrying signs telling you to get more help, although hospitals tend to only judge on PF - <50% (severe), <75% (moderate) etc.

    I understand on the fatigue front too, although have no advice for you there other than trying to explain what's going on to your boss/collegues so that they understand a bit more. It's a hidden illness (esp when it's worse at night) so getting them to understand may help you, not only are you up at night which is tiring in and off itself, but you're also struggling to breathe which is even more tiring. If you're met with challenging behaviour/opinions get people try the straw challenge (thin straw in mouth, plug nose, breathe for 2ish minutes, then explain that's what you're like every night... got my uni friends to understand it a bit better this way - all acknowledged how tiring and 'scary' it could get!)

    Exercise wise try to do things when you're feeling well to build you're exercise levels up again (short gentle cycles etc). This will not only help with breathing but also your confidence and mental health (mines taken a dip as I can't jog 200m now without having an attack, when I used to double somersault 😔) .

    Also remember when in doubt - GP/A&E/asthma uk (as yes I agree - they are fab!). Hope that helps a bit (sorry for the essay 😅) .

    Emma

  • Thank you so much for all of your info and advice. Sorry to hear you've had it bad too but it's reassuring to hear there are others like us with similar problems. Really appreciate it

  • Hi there, welcome to the Forum. Asthma can be like that, one seems to have good and bad patches. I was diagnosed in my early teens and am now 58, I have had times in my life where I have hardly had a problem and others where I am constantly using Prednisolone and nebulizers.

    Who knows why things go so down hill? For me it generally takes months to recover from a virus. But I also have terrible hay fever.

    From your post, it sounds as though hay fever/ allergies may be making things worse.

    As far as I am concerned the only antihistamine that has any effect is Fexofenadine 180, (various brand names). Telfast, I think in U.K. Also Dymista Nasal spray is very good.

    However, I find nasal rinsing very helpful, and I do that whenever I think I am getting a cold or my main allergy season hits.

    One thing you can take heart from is Asthma rarely stays the same, you can get control back even when you think things are awful. It does take time to recover. Exercise is a major part of my regime, and apparently the reason I have such good lung function when well. So even if you are not so good try to do something. Walking is good, yoga is good, actually anything is good. Just try not to stop completely.

    As E said, peak flow is only a measurement relative to you. My best peak flow is around 600, so when I am really unwell my peak flow can be in high 300's which is "normal" range for someone of my age. It took me years to find that out

    It is worth keeping a peak flow diary, then you will find out your own parameters. If you are tech minded, and prepared to pay, I recommend the MIR SmartOne meter. It connects by Bluetooth to my phone, works out percentages and draws pretty graphs. But your doctor can prescribe you a manual one, and you can chart it yourself and that works well too. I always keep a record of how much Ventolin I'm using. And when I have symptoms.

    There are lots of good people on this forum who have different levels of asthma.

    Best

    R

  • Sounds to me like you have a new allergy that you're not yet aware of. These things can strike at any age, the buggar is finding out what it actually is. Your GP can test you for the most common allergens or you could have your own testing done. I had mine tested a couple of years ago and although we all say we're allergic to dust I actually truly am. It could be this simple. I damp dust twice a day and must say that it's really helped and lessened my allergy x

  • I was going to ask if you had tried a different anti histamine? Like risable, there is only one that works for me. One thing that really helped me was getting rid of the carpets. Even with hoovering there were a lot of fibres just from normal traffic. I hope you get some answers. Steroids bring their own challenges don't they? All the best.

  • Hi jamesd1986 hope your feeling better my asthma kicks of in summer aswell am allergic to lots of things try asking your doctor to refer u for allergy testing that way u will know what's triggering your symptoms good luck 👌

  • Thank you all for taking the time to write kind comments and sharing your info.

    It definitely seems that I'm having a summer / allergy flare up and it's probably no coincidence that I've l moved in with my girlfriend into a new flat exactly 2 years ago! I must be allergic to something around my area, but also had some flare ups on days out to other places nears woods etc.

    So my doctor is now suggesting to treat specifically for asthma with the steroids and not to look into anxiety / worry as a cause (something another doctor thought). He wants to see how I get on after third course of steroids and also hopes by then the allergens will have gone away. But what if they don't?! He doesn't want me to have an allergy test because he says the results would be too vague. Just wants to treat my asthma and then go to hospital tests if steroids don't work third time lucky!

    Hoping I can grow a resistance to this allergy but do you all think I should push for an allergy test?

    The problem is that next summer i could be in the same situation! Even if I max out my preventers month in advance. I'm also putting on weight due to lack of excercise. If that is a cause then I'm entering a vicious cycle!

    Thanks again everyone, much appreciated

  • I think an allergy test may not give you all the answers you are looking for.

    If you have just moved to a new home, and this is a mum speaking here, there are some things you can try. Wash all duvets and pillows etc on at least a 60c wash. Do this regularly . Get a vaccum with a hepa filter and really Hoover the bedroom insanely well. In an ideal world get rid of carpets and curtains and go for rugs and blinds. Put any small soft furnishing in plastic vaccum bags in the freezer for at least 6hrs. Try to make sure you get fresh air blowing through the house for 30 mins a day. I.e. Two open windows. To get a through draft. These things all help to get rid of dust mites and mold spores. If the apartment is at all damp get a dehumidifier.

    Also scented cleaning products, perfumes, hairspray, scented candles etc can all cause really horrible problems for anyone with asthma.

    I understand your problem with the steroids. You will find that some of the weight is water weight, I normally put on about 5lb during a 10 day course but it goes again when I stop. However steroids do make you feel hungry and you can also put on fat. Really try hard not to buy those high cal snack foods. Go for hummus and veggie sticks or something like that. Don't try to diet but keep temptations out of the house. Then if the chocolate craving gets too much you will actually have to walk to the shop to get it. Thereby doing exercise.

    If you are feeling awful exercise is hard, but trust me really try to add in something. Walking even short ones are good. (Even to get chocolate). Yoga is excellent too. There are some great short routines on YouTube. If you can manage 2 or 3 lots of 10 mins a day. Then without thinking about it you will have done 30mins. Moving helps to move mucus which gets stuck when you have a bad flare up.

    Failing all this, and I know it sounds like hard work, but it does help. When your doctor refers you for further tests do your research and ask to get referred to the best respiratory center close to you. You can always find consultants listed make sure you get referred to someone who lists Asthma and allergy as a primary interest. There are lots of respiratory consultants who are great but many who are really dreadful because asthma is not their interest.

    Hope this helps and doesn't sound too bossy.

    R

  • I see that you moved two years ago so the above may not be completely relevant. Are you using a Montelukast, this drug can really help. Ask your doctor to try singulair, you have to take it for about 10 days to kick in. It's one side effect that some people get is very vivid dreams. Anyway it can make a big difference particularly with allergic asthma.

    R

  • Thank you ridabel59

    I have tried lots of those things at home. Unfortunately we used to get mould/ damp in the bottom floor flat but have cleaned this away and now have a dehumidifier and an air purifier. Windows always on the latch with small gap for cat that is an indoor cat becaus we used to live near a busy road (cat was a gift to my girlfriend and can't change anything with her)

    I am taking montekast tablets which don't seem to work anymore but did last summer! Is singulair better or different?

    Perhaps doctor is right about using steroids to knock it on the head. Or maybe there are serious invisible mould spores still lingering despite no visible damp in the flat. My girlfriends parents are my landlord and can't get out straight away or unless it's really confirmed that the flat is the issue. My doctor seems to think that my general asthma is the problem and not my flat.

    I suppose all I can do now is re-asses in a week after the steroids. Got back on my bike today to work despite terrible nights sleep. Gotta stay motivated!

    Thank you

  • Singulair is a brand name for Montelukast, the the generic is fine. You may just be having a bad flare up. Go with the flow. Do what you can. Good luck. Sorry to be so bossy.

  • No need for apologies! I appreciate all the advice I can get so thanks

  • You have a big problem there- mould! Even if not visible; spores get into the air.

    Check if you have acid reflux and try to watch your eating habits.

    Singulair is Montelukast. It doens't work for everyone. Doctors may praise it, but I found it gave me severe weakness, tingling etc after use for more than a week. So it may work for some but not all.

    Then, try not to get anxious about feeling unwell. It only makes things worse.

    Finally, you can take walks for exercise. They should strain you less.

  • As you admit to anxiety, I wouldn't dismiss it that easily. Stress is a major trigger for asthma, and the trouble with anxiety is that it goes in ever faster spirals. You become understandably fed up and anxious about how things are going wrong and what next? There is no reason why you can't address this issue alongside the medications for your lungs.

    Just do the exercise you can do, as long as you don't push yourself too far, and drinking the advised 2 litres of water a day is said to help thin the mucus and make it easier to expel. Being overweight will add to your anxiety and is no good for your lungs either, so try to keep it down a bit.

    Now you are up to your ears in advice - all of it good - you'll be fine. And get a consultant you like.

  • Thanks for the support. I can definitely feel asthma trigger when I get worried but usually in the night it's the asthma itself waking me up rather than me being aware of it.

    I've definitely got quite stressed about it all as this is very new to me. Looking for answers and worrying about all the possibility with allergies or the flat I live in, plus how to deal with that if the flat is the problem. Asthma starting to affect my job and planning of my part-time self employed work.

    Need to put my health first. I'm not really that overweight yet, just a typical beer belly developed in last 2 years so getting healthy again should help.

    I'm gonna try loads of thing that have been suggested here and try to relax. Lots of brilliant advice

    Cheers

  • I'll just add another thought to your long list of advice.....all good btw. I can't cycle very far or at any serious degree of intensity when I have an asthma flare up. Though it's really excellent exercise for lungs when things ok, the constant deep breathing drives infection down further into your lungs, my doctor says, and that way I've ended up with bronchitis that's hard to shift. So I don't cycle when struggling with an asthma exacerbation. I get back on bike when no longer using reliever inhaler daily and this seems to help things pick up further (not in cold weather though) Just a thought....

  • Thank you. That is a good point that I havent thought about. At the moment I'm trying to work out what is wrong and what is the cause. I always thought cycling and excercise would be a good thing to strengthen lungs but you could be right that I'm deep breathing in a certain trigger.

    Steroids gave me an energy boost yesterday for cycling but I drove today after s night of no sleep and asthma attack + steroid side effects.

    It's all so confusing. Maybe getting referred to hospital for tests would be a good thing and will call doctor tomorrow if I have another attack tonight.

    I really do think my asthma is allergic though. Aside from montekulast, cetrezine anti-histamines and steroids, is there anything better I could take? Such as stronger anti-histamines?

    Exhausted today so will be taking it easy anyway!

    Cheers

    Ch

  • Well you'd get the best result from identifying the triggers and avoiding them, of course, but that's not easy. We all have such a different range of triggers, it gets complicated. I'd have my eye on your cat if I lived at yours! Any chance of sending your cat on holiday for a night or two, having a good vacuum, then seeing if any improvement. I'm on montekulast, and seretide, because household perfumes affect me badly....cleaners, polishes, 'fresh air' thingies, washing powder and conditioner, etc. The list is long. But I'm sorted now at home and I can avoid colds and flu, I'm well mostly. Visiting others is a minefield but since I've been on montekulast, my reaction is much slower.....I get time to leave!

    Btw I don't cycle when I'm on steroids (just off them) because your lungs are inflamed, and very sensitive. Steroids are an anti-inflammatory. Best wishes for some sleep tonight, though rare while on steroids. Steroids make me anxious too which doesn't help anything. You'll soon be through the course and feeling better. Good luck!

  • Thanks again for the advice.

    I am definitely eager to identify the triggers and sounds like you have put the work in to get your asthma under control. I appreciate it is hard for all of us with complicated triggers and situations. I really hope it isn't the cat, but with my asthma being so bad from mid July to now but mostly fine the rest of the time, it suggests a seasonal alergy outdoors.

    Hadn't considered that cycling could make things worse during this flare up. I might try giving it a rest for a bit. And wil also push for allergy tests if no imlrovement.

    Thanks for the support. Really hoping I can get some sleep again soon and not keep struggling at work!

    Once I'm over this and I make any new discoveries, I'll be sure to share them in this thread to anyone who might be interested or benefit. Fingers crossed will get some answers soon

  • Yes, it does take a lot of detective work to isolate triggers. Good luck anyway.....and very sorry to victimise your cat!

  • With regard to cat, Healthy House do a product which denutures the allergen (called PetalCleanse). I have an allergy to cat fur and my son has a cat. So a couple of days before I visit they use the PetalCleanse on the cat and I have no problems. If your allergy is worse at night then making sure you keep the cat out of the bedroom and certainly off the bedding - though that can be hard to retrain them!

    Hope it all settles down for you and you work out what helps.

  • Apologies for re-opening this thread. I've just been having some thoughts. So I've woken up the last 3 nights with asthma, despite being on prednisolone since Tuesday. It's helped a little but not enough yet and the side effects are actually make me lose more sleep than the usual nightly attacks! Anyway, I plan to call doctor on Monday.

    As I mentioned before, my asthma stared to worsen 2 years ago when I moved in with my girlfriend and I suspected surrounding allergies in the summer to be a cause. But what I haven't fully mentioned is that we had a lot of mould/ damp problems which we've manged to clean and deal with ventilation and a dehumidifier. But I have a feeling that the dehumidifier may not be working well enough abd the humidity in the flat is above 60%. If this is the case, it might be possible that the warm summer weather would actually ramp up mould spores and dust mites even worse than in the autumn winter & asthma maybe gets worse again when staring to use central heating.

    It's just a theory, but could it be possible that my asthma has nothing to do with surrounding plants but everything to do with damp air.

    Anyone have any thoughts on hummidity? Or best ways to test for allergies to mold spores?

    Gonna put my dehumidifier and hepa air purifier on full wack when I get home ajd see if I sleep tonight.

  • Quick update. Had no asthma at all last night! Plus 7 hours sleep!

    Could be the steroids starting to work, but I put dehumidifier and air purifier on full blast all evening then turned off and completely shut the window before bed by accident and left it closed.

    I'm gonna keep trying this and if I have regular success I can reccomend to others!

  • Thanks so much for the advice. I will look into that for the cat.

    It would be great to identify exactly what I'm allergic to as avoiding the cat is going to be tricky! A cat hoover could be good.

    As my asthma seems to worsen mid July to nowish, it definitely seems seasonal.

    Just had 3 nights in a row without any asthma wake ups. Last day of steroids so really hoping I'm on the mend now!

    Thanks again

  • After 3 nights of no asthma wake ups in the night I was feeling optimistic (nights 4 , 5 & 6) of my third week of prednisolone course. But last night which was night 7, I had a bad hour or so of struggling to breathe again. Took around 15 puffs of ventolin for it to calm down and lost more sleep afterwards.

    Just rang doctor and have an emergency appointment. He suggested a forth course of prednisolone, but I don't want to keep taking it because of the side effects also make me lose sleep and could cause long term harm!

    I am hoping they will let me have some allergy tests or some sort of stronger anti-histamine or even respiratory team at hospital.

    I can't keep going on with this cycle of steroids, bad asthma day & night. Not able to work properly, calling in sick, turning down my part time self employed jobs and cancelling plans. I wish someone could just help me work out what the cause is so that I can deal with it.

    I can avoid my cat, close the windows, not go outside wash and hoover everything but the multiple possiblilites and defining which ones they are, are driving me mad!

    Maybe I'm better off having a full on asthma attack hospital visit so that someone can find the cause. I'm up and down like a yo yo and feel like my life has been put on hold.

  • Hi James,

    Sorry to hear you're going through such a yo-yo cycle and not quite getting better again. I know you've already spoken to the helpline, but it might be helpful to help you make a decision if you have a chat with a nurse before your appointment - they'll be able to advise on what your treatment options are - and you can discuss medication management too as I appreciate you are doing everything you can and it's still not working.

    They can be reached on 0300 222 5800 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

    Let us know how you get on,

    Dita

  • Thanks very much for your concern and offer to talk. I may give the asthma helpline another call tomorrow. Although I'm not really sure what other decisions I can make? As I say, it's all very confusing and just trying to find the cause and eliminate possible triggers one at a time.

    Had a positive doctors appointment and been prescribed a strong anti-histamine called fexofenadine. Hoping that might be the solution to my allergy theories!

    No more prednisolone steroids and been offered a chest X-ray plus blood test before possibly getting reffered to hospital for further tests

    Really really hoping fexofenadine does the trick!

  • Hi Dita

    I have spoken to a very helpful asthma nurse on your helpline. She said I am in an emergency situation after taking 3 courses of prednisolone and on 4 puffs a day of fostair 200 + now fexofenadine for potential allergy asthma (which I predict it is)

    I am now waiting for blood test results and have booked a spirometery test on 30th October at earliest.

    However, my doctors are refusing to refer me to the hospital to see the respiratory team. I have just seen them for another emergency appointment and they say they have no grounds to refer me because my peakflow is still good. They want to test me for anxiety because I have admitted that my worries about the situation is not helping. I'm scared to take the sleeping tablets he has just prescribed me because my asthma is worse when tired and at night. He won't refer me to hospital until tried other things and also said there's nothing at the hospital they can test for that they can't do at doctors.

    Asthma helpline nurse told me about other tests but I have forgotten what they were? It was a quick phone call. Doctor has said they may consider hospital referral if I can tell them what the other tests are! Please can someone confirm there is a benefit to the respiratory team over the doctors.

    My asthma has been terrible for last 2 summers and I know asthma is causing anxiety, not the other way around.

    I'm confused, frustrated and had 3 months of sleep deprivation and severe tight chest several hours a night. Please can you help me get referred to hospital somehow

    Thanks

    James

  • Hi Jamesd12345

    I'm not surprised you feel confused. The nurse team will be back on Monday so I'll ask them then. In the meantime one of the tests they referred to might be listed here: asthma.org.uk/advice/diagno...

    Also I'm sure one of the community members who has been through them will be able to help.

    Take care,

    Dita

  • Thank you so much Dita. This link will be very useful and I will use the list to phone the doctors next Friday when the doctor has seen me.

    I can also see his side of the argument, that he needs to eliminate other possibilities and I agree that anxiety can be part of the problem, but I know my asthma as gone crazy since July, triggered by something seasonal.

    The asthma helpline nurse I spoke to was very concerned and actually made me more worried because she was alarmed at my medication, saying I am in danger of a serious fatal attack.

    On a positive note I have had an X-ray which came back fine and waiting on blood test results.

    Also now have some nasal spray and possibly fexofenadine may take more effect over next few weeks.

    I am frustrated that the tests are there but I am now allowed yet!

    Thanks for getting back to me on a Friday night. I apprciafe it especially out of hours

  • Fexofenadine not working. Plus montekulast and fostair. Still up for hours every night.

    Anyone else had problems with these meds?

    My friend suggested semicourt or something. Is that a good one?

    This is getting really annoying. Ruining my work and social life. All I want to do is sleep.

  • Had a blood test this morning and X-ray came back fine.

    Doctor is just as confused as me now! Still waking up several times a night on fexofenadine, montekulast and fostair.

    He wants to try giving me sleeping tablets and explore the route of anxiety induced asthma! I know I'm stressed and worried but not convinced this is the cause.

    He doesn't want to let me try semicourt inhaler as apparently fostair is the same sort of thing? He wants to get blood test results before going any further and see how I get on after a night away in a hotel next week.

    Really miffed now and frustrated I can't find a solution!

    Anyone else have any idea?

    I've put on a very tiny bit of weight. Stuffy rooms tend to set me off too. But the cat doesn't seem to bother me.

  • Just thought I would update as I've just had 3 nights in a row with no asthma wake ups! For the first time in nearly 3 months, without the aid of prednisolone! So happy about this!

    So what could it be? Change in weather now colder? Pollen blown away? Fexofenadine now starting to take effect or the new nasal spray I was prescribed on Friday?

    I'm almost certain my asthma is allergic and eager to get my blood test results for allergies back this week.

    Asthma helpline were adamant I am in emergency need to specialist tests at hospital, where as doctors refuse to refer me to hospital without ruling out anxiety. Whilst I know any anxiety and stress nakes things worse, I am sure this is not the initial cause.

    So now I could be on the path to normal sleep again which I am so happy about. Doctors will then want to reduce my medication and fingers crossed I'll be in for another relaxed winter, until summer comes back round again and my lungs become aggravated and I am once again confused.

    I really wish I could get some proper answers but for now I'm going to try and appreciate 3 good nights of sleep!

    To try and help out anyone else confused I would try not to underestimate the effects of allergies such as pollen. I bought a hepa air purifier a year ago which seeemwd to help a little

  • Sorry to keep replying to my own thread at complaining about my own problems. So after those 3 nights without asthma it's started coming back again! I've been using my ventolin roughly every 3 hours, day or night.

    Some days & nights better than others but did find my fexofenadine & steroid nasal nasal spray has helped dampen the symptoms a little.

    I've had a bit of mixed messages from asthma nurses and doctors all thinking my problems could be different things - allergies, mould, cat, or stress/anxiety. Asthma uk nurse reccomends seeing specialist at hospital but doctor needs to do more tests first and doesn't take my issues as seriously as I'd like because I have a good peak flow most of the time. I'm aware that stress and anxiety makes this worse but it is not the initial cause of my asthma. Just making a vicious circle.

    I've had a blood test which should have tested for allergies but for some reason the only tested for mould. It came back "normal" but not I have to have another allergy blood test on the 30th and also a spirometery test, which is a good thing but more waiting.

    I live in norwich city but around lots of trees and plants. Went to London for 2 12 hours days freelance work and stayed in a hotel. I only needed my ventolin once or twice each day when getting a little stressed with work pressure, but not at all in the night at the hotel! Really fresh and clean hotel and a breeze through the window (plus that weird sand storm thing going on!) but slept fine.

    Back home on Wednesday and been suffering with asthma as soon as I got in my flat. So it's either damp, musty air, or the cat. I also feel worse when the weather is warm outside. Or it's a mix of everything, or it's the stress and being generally exhausted from a hectic work trip to London and lack of sleep. Back to employed job in norwich and asthma not too bad there.

    Wednesday night woke up briefly for half hour in the night. Last night woke up at 2am, then 4am till 9am having to blast the hell out of my ventolin. Sit up right and wait for hours for chest tightness to calm down. Called in sick at work. Slept well from 9am to 1pm, half asleep at times and lungs felt really relaxed and fresh. (They always do if ever I get a morning lay in at the weekend.) Got up at 1pm and instantly tight chest again for half hour while trying to eat toast and make coffee. Blasted my ventolin 6 times and eventually calmed down now.

    I'm really, really pissed off with all of this. I know my asthma is not as severe as others but it is making me very stressed and angry. Part due to excessive steroids making me feel on edge. This is just a constant battle where I have no clear answer to the cause. I just want to know what the hell is causing all of this. I can avoid my flat but then how do I know if it is damp, plants, weather or cat?

    I'm exhausted, losing motivation. Asthma is taking over everything. I've tried staying calm and not thinking about it and not getting bothered when it wakes me up but it still wakes me up and affects me. I have work to do and cancelled plans with friends tonight because of this. I cant make proper plans with my girlfriend who is incredibly supportive of me but I'm starting to feel terrible about what I'm putting her through. I could lose my job and struggling to keep motivated for my work. I need to see an end to this and a light at the end of the tunnel. I know it sounds like I'm being melodramatic but I'm really trying every day to keep smiling, stay upbeat and be positive. I'm really struggling and the doctors keep putting me on waiting lists for new tests.

    Sorry for the rant.

  • Hello, sorry for posting again.

    Thought I would share a recent update. Have found the last couple of weeks I’m still waking up every night with asthma but now for much less periods of time. More like 5 to 10 minutes instead of several hours! I definitely feel better now that the weather is colder, I can get fresh cool air from the bedroom windows on the latch. Unlike a lot of people, I seem to find winter is much better for my asthma and warm air is a problem for me!

    I’ve had a spirometery test which was unpleasant during a tight chest until I was given relief! The results came back normal and the asthma nurse was very supportive and in favour of me getting further tests at the hospital. She also did another blood test, this time for animals and plants, rather than just mould the first time.

    I had a phone call Doctors appointment Yesterday with a completely new doctor, due to long waiting lists for my regular GP. She confirmed that my blood test came back positive for grass pollen (but not trees), which explains why I’ve been struggling in the summer. Secondly I am highly allergic to cats and dogs. Although this is not good news, at least I have some answers now. Although I am still a little confused about getting asthma in my car a lot or randomly when I am away from grass or pets!

    So my big problem now is that I live with my girlfriend and cat, and she absolutely adores the cat. We have agreed to try stopping the cat from going in the bedroom. Tried first time last night and she scrapped and meowed at the door all night as she is so used to being in the same room as us constantly. We are looking at getting an expensive Dyson pet hoover and using my air purifier in the bed room more. I might have to lock the cat in the living room with food, water, litter and a warm bed. But if I can’t get this sorted then I’m really stuck and will have to move out of the flat. My girlfriend and I have been together about 4 years. Planning mortgage and future etc. But if I can sort the cat allergies and asthma it’s going to make things difficult. She has agreed to try keeping the cat out of the bedroom.

    On a more positive note, I had no asthma last night or the night before! Despite cat still on the bed. I haven’t had an asthma-less night for over a month or so since a random decent 3 nights! Perhaps fresh cool air is helping outside. Maybe getting the air purifier next to the bed all night would help?

    Any other suggestions would be much appreciated. Perhaps I could sleep in a separate bed in my tiny office room. Or maybe it’s not just the cat and if I could get a bit more fit and healthy it might help. Since my general fitness has decreased slightly since these bad asthma flare ups.

    Anyone else suffer with allergies and have some good tips?

    I currently take fexofenadine and montekulast. Fostair & ventolin.

    Any help would be much appreciated

    Many thanks

    James

  • Hello, I realise my posts are very long and possibly a bit too much to read.

    Quick questions. Has anybody tried using dust masks at home or to sleep in for allergic asthma?

    Also, I had seen that a product called Benadryl might be quite good as it contains a decongestant as well as antihistamine. Has anyone tried this product instead of prescription anti histamine ‘fexofenadine’?

    I am now taking measures to keep the cat out of the bedroom plus air purifier. it’s only been a couple days but looking to see what else I can do.

    Thanks

  • Hi Jamesd1986

    Might be worth posting on a new thread as people might have missed this. good to hear that you have some clarity about your triggers - not a lot of people with asthma are able to identify exactly what their triggers are.

    If you know that cats are a trigger, and you decide to carry on living with the cat when you have allergic asthma, here are some things you can do to cut your risk of symptoms:

    Try to keep cat out of your bedroom and, where possible, living area. so sleeping in another room probably won't help.

    Regular grooming and bathing of cats can help. You can ask your vet for advice on how to do this properly.

    You could try using air filters and an efficient vacuum cleaner. These might be helpful for people who have pet allergies, however the evidence on the benefit of these remains unclear so it's not a guarantee it will be better.

    It's worth talking to your GP or asthma nurse about your medication and Benedryl to manage triggers if you are coming into contact with a trigger on a daily basis, it might be worth reviewing your medication to take this into account and advice on antihistamines. Do call the Asthma UK helpline on 0300 222 5800 (Mon-Fri 9-5) and have a chat with the nurses.

    Hope that helps,

    Dita

  • Hi Dita

    Thank you so much for reading my message and getting back to me.

    It is good to have confirmation on pet allergies (and also grass pollen in the summer which is another worry)

    I’ve got an air purifier and seems to help a little and started keeping cat out of the bedroom. Unfortunately we can get rid of the cat, so have to find a way around this somehow!

    Good news is after 4 nights without the cat in the bedroom, I had no asthma wake up for the first time last night! This is a big result and could be promising!

    I will be looking at a new hoover and removing carpets too.

    One other thing to mention is when I wake at night I noticed a fair bit of phlegm in my throat and also get a drip from back of my nose. I sometimes get blood when I blow my nose too. Is it possible I could be having nasal problems too affecting this?

    My doctors aren’t interested in looking into my nose, but an asthma UK nurse suggested this.

    I am using fexofenadine, but wondered if there are different or better anti histamines to try using long term? And possibly even immunotherapy? As a next step

    Is it possible that cat is not the only cause?

    Thanks so much for your message

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