Asthma - top tips and advice! - Asthma UK communi...

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Asthma - top tips and advice!

EmmaF91
EmmaF91Community Ambassador

Hi guys - another list for you all 😂! As always feel free to discuss and add your own top tips and advice below! So here it goes;

1. Keep your GP informed and involved to your condition if it’s flaring (as much as you can in the current climate of appt shortages!) - if you’re suddenly getting symptoms, make a GP appt - it could be that you’re having a flare up and a short course of steroids will stop it. Or maybe you need to try new meds - either way a GP can help but only if they know you’re struggling! Also if you’re ill with a cold/virus contact them - they’re a huge trigger for any asthmatic! Keep returning if things don’t calm down until you’re back to normal!

2. Take your meds as prescribed - self-explanatory! Make sure you’re taking your meds as you’re meant to, even if your asymptomatic! If you’re using your ventolin every 4hrs then you need to see your GP, if it doesn’t last that long then you can take up to 10 puffs (but again will need to see your GP ASAP), if 10 doesn’t work/last then you need to make you’re way to hospital!

3. Attend your annual asthma revjew - they take the time to check in with you, your management plan, your issues and answer any questions you may have! They’ll also reassess if they think you’re asthma control is improving (and reduce your meds slightly) or worsening (and increase meds if needs be!)

4. Keep an eye on your peak flow and follow your asthma plan (if you have one) - it’s quite informative as to when to seek help and what to do in an emergency. If you don’t have one ask for it! Keep a track of you PF as it can show if you’re heading for an attack!

5. Don’t be afraid to go to hospital if you think you need it - a lot of people avoid hospitals as much as possible, but if you can’t talk in sentences without gasping or are struggling to eat, sleep or walk then that’s where you need to head - better a few hours there today than a few hours tomorrow or no reaching next week! It’s easy to forget that asthma is a killer, even to ‘mild’ asthmatics! If you don’t feel safe - head in!

6. Take time to rest and recover - don’t push too far too fast - it can cause a relapse! After an attack your are more likely to have another in the next 2 weeks as we tend to force ourselves back to normal as soon as we feel we can, without giving ourselves allowance!

7. Sleep on an incline if your asthma keeps waking you up - it puts less ‘demand’ on your lungs if you’re struggling to drop off, however as previously stated make sure a doc is aware of your need to do this!

8. Keep calm - yes it’s an irritating point but if you’re struggling try not to panic - just seek help! Panic can and will back any shortness of breath even worse!

9. Keep as mobile as you can - if you’re really bad (and have spoken to someone!) try to keep moving - staying stationary can lead to chest infections so try not to stay in bed for days at a time

10. Work out your triggers and try to avoid them - some you can, some you can’t but do your best!

11. Stop/reduce smoking if you do, and try to loose weight if you need too - I know, I know an obvious, irritating point but it can make a lot of difference in regaining control!

12. Keep your ventolin to hand (or easily accessible)- if you’re severe try to keep in various bags or places around the house so you don’t have to struggle to get to it. If you rarely need it, still try to keep it on you or leave it in an obvious place - there’s nothing worse than needing one and having to hunt for it!

13. Don’t put your life on hold because of your asthma - yes when you’re acutely I’ll things have to pause whilst you sort yourself out, however if you’re not, try not to worry about the potential of being ill. Yes your health is important but so is your quality of life - if you want to do something, take the precautions but then do it! (I like rollercoasters but they trigger my asthma, what do I do? I take my ventolin pre/post and enjoy the ride!)

14. Speak to asthma UK if you’re worried or have questions but can’t get in contact with your asthma nurse (or off they can’t answer your questions!) - they are very nice and experienced!

Anyone else got any top tips I’ve missed, or anything you do differently? Either for acute attacks, chronic flare ups or the different types of asthma!

Emma

25 Replies

Paragraph 1. Oh! What a utopic universe you are in! It used to be a bit like that, but now making a GP appointment is beyond most patients.

The only sense I get is by going to the county respiratory team; I found out once you are referred to them it is for life!

I avoid my surgery like the plague!

Best wishes from an oldie (86 this month).

EmmaF91
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to PMRPete

I know 😂 - luckily my surgery is quite good so if I’ll atleast get a call back if I’m ill. Although they can’t do much for my asthma now they are a good provider of antibiotics, extra pred/ventolin/nebules if needed and are keen instructors of telling me when to go to hospital if I need it (as they know I don’t go in without prompting 😳😅)

I was thinking more along the lines of not ignoring symptoms- seek help! At 19 I went a few weeks of severe SoB before I thought about seeing the doc as I thought it’d just sort itself out if I OD’d on ventolin 😅😬

Yes my resp team is great too, however they also prompt me in to hospital occasionally (however less often then the GP who are still adapting in to not going into meltdown if I turn up 😉)

Thanks (and happy birthday in advance!)

My doctors won't deal with asthma problems and insist you see the nurse instead. Also you can't get a doctors or nurses appointment quickly where I am so you are stuffed if you need them! x

EmmaF91
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to hypercat54

🙄 - typical NHS trying to save money in the wrong place (I always blame the government for causing the money shortage 😅).

I know most surgeries prioritise SoB when dealing out emergency appts (or will do call backs if they don’t have any to see if you really need to come in), however I know that there are a lot of places which don’t work like this (my old surgery included!)

I suppose if you’ve got a good asthma nurse, who can prescribe then ok fine you don’t see the GP, but then they should also have appts that you can book if needs be and not have to wait 3+ weeks! 😒😤

It’s frustrating as the quicker you treat asthma, the less money they’ll end up spending in it in the end!

Argh sorry for the rant, and sorry for the difficulties you have at your surgery!

Hope you are well x

hypercat54
hypercat54 in reply to EmmaF91

Well fortunately my asthma is pretty mild so have never had any real problems. I do have mild copd though and I remember once feeling fine in the morning until about 11 am then suddenly felt terrible. I struggled up to the surgery and the young receptionists asked whether I had an appointment. When I said no and I wasn't ill at 8.30 to ring up they turned their pert little noses up and said there was no one available. Possibly the emergency doctor but she was out and they didn't know when she would return.

It wasn't until I told them I had copd and if they turned me down I was going straight to the hospital and tell them that they said the emergency doctor had just come back in. When I complained later I was told they would have called me an ambulance if no one could have seen me. I didn't need a s******g ambulance just a doctor! Ridiculous. x

EmmaF91
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to hypercat54

🙄 - I had similar issues at my old surgery, especially when I was developing severe asthma - couldn’t get an appt, if I did they didn’t want to refer me anywhere (that costs money 🙄). I was needing a neb a day, but they’d only see me once a week, then didn’t think I was that bad despite me being very symptomatic 5 hrs after each neb, then existing like that for a week (aged 23 😤)

Mind you this was a particularly crappy practice! They sent me home during an asthma attack with no drugs and no advice! I was 19 and had never had one before, had never done a PF and didn’t know what to look for! By the time a finally saw a GP (about 3 weeks) I thought I had a chest infection, which I suggested cause v. SoB - he said it wasn’t and sent me home with nothing! Booked to go back (after a 2 week British holiday) then when I finally saw a different GP (another 3 weeks) he was like ‘this is an asthma attack you should have gone to hosp day 1, not 8ish weeks after it started!’ 🙄

Luckily I have ‘severe asthmatic’ at the top of my notes at my current docs so any doc I talk to on the phone knows, and my current surgery receptionists are really good - if they have no appts left, but you say you need one today they’ll ask what is regarding and organise a call back when the GP how will decide if you need to be seen or just need drugs and you’ll get an ‘emergency, emergency appt’ 😂.

Mind you they also apologise to you if you book an appt and have to wait 2 weeks or more for the asthma nurse (etc) and for GP if it’s more than a week! My old surgery you couldn’t get emergency appts and were lucky to be able to book for a months time, but they would only release appts 6 weeks in advance so if you needed 4 then 8 week appts you just had to hope you called far enough in advance to get the first one, but not too early for the second unless you wanted to try again a few weeks later - it was very frustrating!

Yes the ‘hospital’ threat can work quite well on receptionists - it doesn’t look good to get an ambulance from the surgery because you can’t see a GP as the receptionists have decided their full 😅.

And yes it’s so annoying when you know what you need (aka a GP not the hosp) but you have to fight to get it, esp when you know how much more expensive a hosp trip is compared to a GP appt (and how much more time consuming it is!)! X

hypercat54
hypercat54 in reply to EmmaF91

Well it's not just that but I can walk from the doctors and would need to get a cab costing around £7 from the hospital! I am quite poor.

I am glad your current doctor is better than your old one, and that they are aware of how severe you are. x

Hi

Just felt that I had to chip in and agree with hypercat 100%!!

My surgery are next to useless now... I have no contact at all with them other than to electronically order all my meds, which are completely unchallenged - whatever I want!!

I find the whole business of getting any appt just so much hassle that I don’t bother.

I either self manage or go to the hospital...it’s a dreadful thing but I am past caring now.

The minute I was referred to a cons it’s like they gave up on me... the problem is I only see him once a year if I’m lucky!! 😐. SoI just feel a little annoyed when the only time my surgery want any contact is when they can make some money out of my treatment.. eg flu jabs and asthma reviews... which they get extra money for!!

Sorry everyone for the rant but I can understand why people just go to A&E as they can’t negotiate their GPS red tape... esp when feeling rubbish!

Good luck to you guys that have good surgeries... hold onto them..😜

Pipsqueak

Oh dear I know what you mean. I am getting to the point where I can't be bothered to try and make an appointment any more. I tried last week for various things but got nowhere. I had to settle for a callback which I assumed would be the next day. Oh no they said it will be in 5 days. The doctor said I need to see someone and I told him I had tried...

I can't even order electronically from my chemist anymore so have to go in and leave a prescription at the surgery. Before I can do anything online they want 2 forms of ID including a photo one. I haven't got a photo one so am stuffed. x

Hi

I am sorry to hear that your surgery seems as bad as mine unfortunately!!

I know the nhs is stretched like never before but they don’t seem to be able to prioritise in a sensible manner. The problem then is that people get desperate and roll up to A&E for silly things...

As I say when my asthma gets bad now that’s exactly what I do... because if I tried to sort things out at my surgery I am lucky to speak to a nurse who knows less about asthma than me!! If I speak to 111 they just panic and send an ambulance which I don’t want... so I just make my own way , on my own accord and get it dealt with. This is not really how it should be done ... but hey ho..

Can you not get your repeat scripts sent automatically to your pharmacy without going in?

Sorry again for ranting... it seems so many people have this problem... no wonder people are still dying unnecessarily from asthma...☹️

Hope you can sort something with your surgery...

Pipsqueak

Hi I used to order my meds direct from the chemist but they stopped that where I am coz they said chemists were ordering too much. Speaking to friends who use other surgeries theirs seem a lot better organised than mine and they can see a doctor much quicker. I would change but my one is only a few minutes walk whereas the others are at least 15 minutes away. I have a chronic back problem and can't walk that far. x

Sounds terrible. I have to say that although our doctors - GPs - are overstretched they have in recent years put in a better system for dealing with patients needing to be seen quickly. They will phone you back the same day and ask you to come in to their urgent clinic in the afternoon. Otherwise to see the same GP can be difficult. However at weekends apart from going to a walk in clinic several miles away the only way of being seen by a doctor is going to A and E.

It definitely doesn't provide 24 hour care which used to be available. No wonder A & E is overwhelmed.

Yes it is bad now. I remember (being an old f**t) when doctors worked until 8 pm and I just used to go in from work. They also used to be open Saturdays. I don't know if its just a case of not enough doctors now of they insist on earning their huge salaries just from 9-5. As a lifetime taxpayer I help to pay for their fancy education too... x

Keep a copy of your prescription with you . Also a spare inhaler I took mine out of my handbag and forgot to put it back

EmmaF91
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to starveycat

Great tips! X

RE appointments:

My GP told me that the receptionists at the surgery have now been told that if anyone phones for an appointment because they are short of breath they should be put through to the duty doctor - or at least given a ring back by same.

This is because I rang the day I had my first asthma attack and was told I could have an appointment with out of hours at 7.30 that evening (it was morning when I rang) - when I said about being so short of breath (I could not speak a sentence without pausing for breath) and was about to say about being asthmatic, the receptionist said 'oh, probably just a chest infection or something like that' and I gave up! I ended up in A&E being treated as a real emergency!

There is always a duty doctor!

I would definitely complain if a receptionist tried to diagnose me over the phone. Out of order big time.

She was sort of trying to come up with a reason for the appointment to put on the request, rather than diagnosing, but it was out of order. Breathlessness can be a sign of so many serious conditions that it should be treated as an emergency and not put off until out of hours.

Hi

Every asthma patient in my practice only gets put through to a nurse whether there is a duty doctor or not....🤔 they don’t seem to like talking to asthmatics...!!

I guess what I really wanted to say was that we all know as asthma sufferers (some people for many years) what we need to do but because of the system and how it works/doesn’t...we are not always able to!

All keep well...

Pipsqueak

Hidden
Hidden

No 10 should be number 1.

Every asthmatic should have igE blood tests.

Ideally asthmatics should have desensitisation treatment but this is nearly impossible to get in the UK.

I worked out at the age of 30 I was allergic to house dust mites and black mould.

Mould is easy to avoid and I have removed carpets and soft furnishings and hover with the modern type Dysons, the bedroom gets the most intense treatment.

I have had 2 mild asthma attacks in the last 20 years.

Tabitha58
Tabitha58 in reply to Hidden

I have this wonderful image of you hovering on your Dyson :)

strongmouse
strongmouse in reply to Hidden

Agree about the testing, but it just doesn't happen. Personally I find mould quite hard to avoid. Maybe it depends where you live? (Clay soil locally and river plain...!)

Ha ha I like the idea of hovering, angel like in the wings!

Seriously though as someone with multiple allergies it is important as far as possible to find out what you react to and avoid where you can.

I like:

13. Don’t put your life on hold because of your asthma

So true!

My medical centre is brilliant. I had bad asthma on Monday, so phoned them and was given an appointment that morning. I'd already made an appointment for Wednesday for a heart check up and he did that also, freeing up the Wednesday appointment for someone else. I have permanent Atrial Fibrillation and can no longer use my battery driven blood pressure monitor as the fibrillation confuses it, so have to have BP taken manually.

I'm taking things easy and the antibiotics and steroids are working.

I'd add to your list to always take your preventer inhaler as prescribed and always have it with you.

strongmouse
strongmouse in reply to Thomas45

Plus if you have allergies take an antihistamine with you and epipen or equivalent and have a spare one. One to take with you, one at home - or work - in case you forget or it gets low.

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