Are shivers the symptom of asthma - Asthma UK communi...

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Are shivers the symptom of asthma

Johnboyglasgow profile image

I have been diagnosed as having reactive airways caused by a viral chest infection last year. After the infection came to an end I still had ongoing breathing issues ie sensitivity at night. Feeling like I’m breathing in dust. I started to notice perfumes, car fumes etc really noticeably. The doctor prescribed clenil modulate to calm things down. This didint work so put me on montelukast as well. This still hasn’t worked and the symptoms are getting worse. The shivers a constant throughout the day radiating around my throat and across my shoulders/chest and back. This weekend I think I had an attack due to diesel fumes from a car I was sitting in. I nearly blacked out, tingles all over my body. I was able to get air in but the body just didn’t like the fumes an nearly made me collapse. I ended up going to hospital as my chest became really tight. I think I have non allergic asthma. Does this cause shivers, and feeling I’m on the edge of a chill about to hit me. Sleeping is a nightmare. I also throat clear all the time and talking sets it off too. I’m seeing a specialist in two weeks.

10 Replies

Hi! I can’t comment on the shivers, except that we all seem to experience this condition in so many different ways! I do,, however, recognise that suddenly becoming acutely aware of smells that can cause us irritation. That happened to me as well, suddenly,two-three years ago when asthma became a thing I had to reckon with. I am sorry to hea you have to struggle with this. It is a pain, isn’t it.

It sounds like you are reacting to environmental triggers - I do too. The only help I find is to minimise my exposure. Our car has an air filter system which helps. I find an ioniser quite useful too as it seems to create a small bubble of clean air around me. I've had to do a major clean up in my home, banning all scented products and lots of other triggers. I use hepa air filters in my bedroom and study.

It might be worth seeing if you are allergic to dust mite. GP should be able to refer you for testing. Bedrooms notoriously harbour dust mites! It is a pain to deal with them but well worth while if that is causing you a problem. Chemicals can cause breathing problems too.

Hi, do you get shivers with it? Mine are flaring up during the day. It’s all around my shoulders, chest, neck and arms. I feel unwell but am not coughing anything up and do not have a fever. If I talk for long then it causes a lot of throat clearing. Concerned I might have something more serious as it’s progressing very quickly and the meds aren’t working. I take a preventer and montelukast. Just started a reliever and it’s not much help either. I don’t think it’s asthma but maybe a form of hyper sensitivity.

I can become cold but I don't usually shiver when reacting to some chemicals. If you think you might have a chest infection then see your GP, don't wait for specialist appointment. It is it a viral cold and sore throat there isn't much GP can do - antibiotics don't work - but they may prescribe oral steroid if there is inflammation aggravating your asthma / lungs. (If you have a fever taking paracetamol helps to bring your temperature down.) There has been a cold with sore throat doing the rounds in schools.

I can understand your concerns.

Appreciate your response.


You have been given two types of preventers. That is medications designed to reduce inflammation in the lungs. Both act in a different way (Google for more details) but neither is a reliever. A reliever medication is there for immediate relief and, as far as I understand it, any asthmatic who is on a preventer has a reliever medication for immediate relief and for emergencies. The most common reliever is salbutamol also known as Ventolin. Relying on a reliever only is not advised but it sounds as if you need one now before waiting the two weeks to see the specialist. See you GP today if possible. Explain the visit to the hospital and your strong reaction of not being able to breathe and your difficulty at night.

Whether you have asthma or not the specialist will determine but you need something before then.

Regarding falling asleep at night, most asthmatics who are having an attack ie wheezing or coughing, sleep in a semi-propped-up position. It is easier to breathe with the lungs more upright. After a severe viral infection, I slept in a semi-upright position for over 18 months before I felt that I could sleep lying down flat. I have never had the shivers you describe but when my immune system was really down I also grew incredibly sensitive to things that I hadn't been previously sensitive to. As I grew stronger in health I got back to "my" normal. Getting back to normal will require building your health back up with good food and, for me, I took extra antioxidants and minerals.

My asthma is worse in cold air so I have a fan heater on at night. Other asthmatics might get worse asthma doing this so you need to find out what works for you. I have a massive electricity bill!

Don't wait two weeks to get a reliever medication.

Wishing you all the best.

Johnboyglasgow profile image
Johnboyglasgow in reply to Tugun

Thanks for your detailed reply. I'm now taking salbutomal. Going to drop montelukast as that isn't dealing with the issue. I think I need an immune repressor as in the cool air away from pollutants I breath well and the shivers go. In the steam room in my gym and in a bath I breath well. In the house, shops public places where perfume, dust, chemical smells are around it's a problem. Clearly the cell lining in my airways has been compromised by 12 weeks of chest and upper respiratory infections I had. I need that to repair and it isn't getting the chance when my immune system is going haywire to the irritants around me. Any ideas on the best types of meds for that? I really don't think I have asthma as I don't Weezer at all.


Not all asthmatics wheeze. Some have what is called Cough Variant Asthma. However you may not have Asthma - particularly if the reliever doesn't work on you. Don't be afraid to go to the emergency again if required. There are many things this could be and it is better to be in a hospital when you are having an attack. In the hospital, they can test for different things and call on the advice of specialists, if required.

There are many medications that they can give to suppress the over-reaction of your immune system. Strongmouse has mentioned the oral steroid. This is usually - but not always - prednisolone. Prednisone is also given but needs to be converted in the liver to prednisolone to become more readily available. I prefer prenisolone so I ask for that. I haven't had to use it for about six years but I keep a supply - just in case. There is a corticosteroid in the Clenil but it is not as strong and is more for long term use.

The steroid suppresses the immune system but, at the same time, you need to repair it and give it what it needs to repair. That is rest and a good food etc. Also it is helpful to stay away from irritants - if possible - for the time being.

Have you had x-rays or other tests on your lungs and throat? Have you ever been sensitive to anything before this - even in a moderate way? Are you extremely tired? I have been thinking about the shivers and - to me - they are a bit unusual. Maybe other people have had similar experiences but I haven't really heard of them described as you have. Make sure you mention this to the doctor. They may have a better idea. Good Luck at the doctor's!

Hi, so tried the reliever during yesterday. The shivers seemed to get under control. I took it every 4_5 hours. Once before bedtime and I definitely slept better. Im going to take it like it's a preventer as I think this might be how to get it under control until I meet my specialist in February. Thanks again.

I had the shivers a lot when I was really sick before being diagnosed with adult onset, non allergic asthma, it's still not properly under control but I don't have the shivery thing anymore.

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