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Going to hospital for an asthma attack

charlottemack03 profile image

I’m a newly diagnosed asthmatic I’ve been to hospital 3 times in the past 2 months for asthma attacks but been told that I’m not wheezing and my oxygen levels are fine and I can just go home but I’m gasping for breath and am getting a bit fed up with it cause I don’t know why I’m getting tight chested breathless and coughing all the time and I’ve been told by docs I have asthma but my oxygen levels are always fine and I don’t wheeze much so the hospital won’t give me a nebuliser or anything to make me feel a bit more human. Anyone have any ideas x

21 Replies

I got a nebulizer machine at home. You can get one through a medical company or even on Ebay. I have a small portable one for my purse and I get the medicine to put in it through my family doctor with a prescription. My other one is a table top version about the size of a 2 slice toaster. This one was covered through my health insurance but you can also buy one with out insurance. I think I would be going crazy if it was not for my machine at home. I hope this helps and it will keep you out of the hospital and help you relax at home. Let me know.

Hi charlottemack03

Sorry to hear you've been in and out of hospital recently with your asthma. To answer your question about O2 sat, it is possible to have normal or near-normal oxygen saturation even in the middle of a severe asthma attack.

When you’re first diagnosed, you may need to see your GP or asthma nurse a few times to check how you’re feeling and monitor your treatment so it would be worth making an appointment with your GP to review your medications to get your asthma under control. There's some information here on being diagnosed: bit.ly/2qfBfGf

You can also call our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (9am – 5pm; Monday - Friday) and ask our asthma nurse specialists anything about your symptoms, what's triggering your asthma and medications.

Hope that helps,


charlottemack03 profile image
charlottemack03 in reply to

What do I do if my o2 levels are fine but I’m having a severe asthma attack and the doctors don’t give me a nebuliser or how would I ask for one and is it possible I have a silent wheeze?

I've had a chest infection for 2 weeks (I just thought my asthma was playing up at first) and my o2 has been 97% My peak flow has dropped 120-150 l/min and my accessory muscles where working hard and my o2 was 98%... I couldn't breathe very well either time but astmatics are fabulous o2 compensators

I go to my gp when I can because yes all urgent care/ a and e are interested In is a wheeze and low o2 saturation... which not everyone has

I know it gets really annoying when you’re sitting there barely able to breathe and all the doctors at the hospital say is “well your o2 levels are fine and you don’t wheeze so you can go home your probably just having a panic attack” but the thing is I know the difference between asthma attacks and panic attacks cause I’ve had panic attacks for years but the asthma attacks are so different and I just kinda wanna say can I not get a nebuliser cause I don’t know how much longer I can deal with it x

Not all asthmatics wheeze. I have had asthma for 61 years and rarely wheeze but I cough when struggling with my asthma.I have been told that I am fine ,when I clearly have not been, just because I am not wheezing.

I AM asthmatic..... I do not wheeze. ....Tell them if you are Struggling. Have it written on a card in your purse so it is handy.

I have never wheezed .. I cough and cough .... sats are always good, heart rate increases but I am made to feel like a fraud ... too many diagnosis and the asthma diagnosis is in disrupte at the moment .. and they think it’s VCD .. but I know when my chest is tight and I can’t complete a sentence or walk without coughing !!!! Very frustrating and makes you feel like your mad !!!! It looks like we are not alone with this ...

good luck and keep presenting to A/E if you need to ... asthma is a killer and you only compensate for so long ... I’m starting my battle again as have been well fir 6 mths but have had two attacks in 2 weeks ... last one was yesterday when work took me to A/E against my request as I’m so scared when I go at the way I am dismissed !!!! But they did the right thing .. quick Neb and I was out again and felt fine ... obviously needed it !!!! Xxx

Glad to know I’m not alone the only thing is I’m never given a neb because my sats are always fine and I don’t know how to ask them for one especially when I can’t get enough breath to finish a sentence x

in reply to charlottemack03

I wheeze when I have a chest infection but I can be breathless and not wheeze. They should know that at A&E. Depends on the team I suppose.

Did they give you pred? they don’t always give you a nebuliser it depends on your sats. They gave me 60mg pred and an antihistamine last time, that got me sorted that time, at least I didn’t have an infection.

charlottemack03 profile image
charlottemack03 in reply to

The hospital just told me to go home and go to the doctor the next day and they gave me the pred but no neb or anything to help my breathing which at the time was significantly laboured x

in reply to charlottemack03

I see..I go through the ambulance service when I am poorly you get better treatment I think..They start treating you straight away..I was surprised the hospital phoned me at home to follow up about going to the GP, and asthma care.

I have my own nebuliser, saves me trips. I only go in if nothing helps.

charlottemack03 profile image
charlottemack03 in reply to

I’ve been through the ambulance service 2ce and they haven’t done anything for me I agree it probably depends on what team you get x

I work fir the ambulance service and our guidelines state we can not administer salbutamol without a wheeze ... I’m lucky as my senior colleagues ignore that and the hospital did too ..my colleagues often just give me a iptatropium neb (steroid) but the drs still give me a hard time .. it’s very frustrating .. too many nebs causing issues with VCD for me but not enough and I can’t stop coughing .. my first lung function tests when I wasn’t on inhalers was when I was diagnosed 3 years ago .. subsequent ones have all been really good but I’ve been on preventer inhalers at the time .. I’m sure these will make a difference to the results especially as I seem to only cough and get SOB with it .... it’s a minefield and I can’t see a solution except having a good sit down with the GP and asking the right questions .. that’s my plan for next week ... I’m not sure why you were just given pred without solving the emergency symptoms first ..

reading on this thread it’s obvious to me we all present with same symptoms but yet it’s not recognised by the medical teams ... where do we go from here????

I don’t know as I’ve been to the doctor today cause I’ve had another flare and been given a course of prednisolone but I’m feeling worse than I have in a long time and wondering if it’s a good idea to go to a&e but I don’t want to sit around for 3hrs just to be told to go home x

Your better to sit around in a/e and feel safe .. if you are struggling then get help .. pred takes a few hrs to kick in .. but don’t wait fir that if you are unwell .....

If I get any worse then I’ll go up but I’ll probably just sit tight for now x

The pred should kick in soon and def overnight ... just don’t sit and worry ... it’ll make it worse ... good luck xx

Thank you I’ll keep you posted x

in reply to charlottemack03

Pred is good they give you a higher dosage than you could take at home, I had never taken 60mg at home. Made my heart beat faster but with the Piriton the antihistamine which makes you sleepy it compensated. I couldn’t speak either, that’s what got me to call.

Prior to this year my last hospital visit for asthma was in October 1983. I stayed in hospital 12 days. I was taken to hospital by ambulance 4 weeks ago after I was taken ill in the pharmacy attached to my local medical centre. My asthma normally comes from infection. On that occasion there was no infection, just a very tight, painful chest. I felt much better after being nebulised twice in the ambulance and would have preferred to have gone home with some steroids, but was admitted for 2 days. I was given steroids, except they missed the second day. I didn't sleep because of the noise of nebulisers and the uncomforable, not long enough, beds and the background noise on the ward. I believe that episode was an "uncommon" side effect of Bisoprolol, as I had a "rare" reaction to that drug, rashes and itching, and another "uncommon" effect, a runny nose.

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