Bad asthma flare-up - looking for advice - Asthma UK communi...

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Bad asthma flare-up - looking for advice


Hi everyone,

I've been having a scary time of it recently. I've had several asthma attacks this week (pretty bad ones, I think) and I'm now on prednisone to try and get things under control (my first dose was this morning). My chest is pretty tight currently, but no attack today, thankfully. I'm pretty freaked out by it all, which I'm sure doesn't help, and I was already worried by the coronavirus situation - I'm not on the shielding list, but I haven't left the house since March. No clue what's going to happen in the months ahead for me.

Does anyone have any advice that could help? I also wondered if asthma can get worse or change over time? I don't really know too much about it, I've come to realise, which is pretty shocking for a condition I've had for over a decade, so hoping to educate myself.

I don't know if any of this is helpful, but I was 18 when I was diagnosed with asthma and I'm now 29. I take 200 clenil twice a day and this is the first time I've been given oral steroids. Ventolin is my reliever.

Thanks in advance for any help!

11 Replies

Yes, it can definitely change over time. Having said that, a blip now doesn't necessarily mean it will stay rubbish - it might be something fixed with the course of steroids, or it could be you'll need a different inhaler or something but that, once sorted, it goes back to being ok for you. So try not to worry about this being it in terms of control.

The prednisolone could take a couple of days to kick in properly - so hopefully by later today you'll be feeling the benefit of that. Do contact your GP if you're concerned at all - and if after the course of steroids you're still having issues, keep on at them if you need to. There are all sorts of different inhalers available so hopefully they'd be able to switch you to another if needed - although it's quite possible that something has triggered things at the moment but that the steroids will sort things out and it'll return to good control.

I hope things feel better for you soon

Hi Garfunkle. Sorry to hear you're feeling so poorly and anxious about it.

Asthma can change over time but you can also have short exacerbations, triggered by factors such as exposure to allergens or colds and other viral infections.

It's good that you're now on steroids and you should feel a bit better by day three. It may be that the steroids do the trick but if you still feel that you are experiencing symptoms once you've finished the course, make an appointment with your GP or asthma nurse to discuss further treatment. You may need short term add on meds just to get you over this period. Make sure that any new meds are reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse about 6 weeks after starting them, just to ensure that they are helping you. Sometimes the first med prescribed isn't suitable for you, but there are a range of meds available and a little bit of trial and error is necessary to identify the best treatment for you as an individual.

Definitely use your GP and asthma nurse on an ongoing basis as you learn to understand your asthma and what it's up to. And of course, use this site too. We learn together.

All the best.

I think you need to be less frightened. The treatment for asthma is very effective, and as you're not on the shielding list be aware that many people with asthma have had the virus and survived it. It is very nasty, but as you're taking sensible precautions, you should be ok. I'm not minimising the awfulness of the virus, but being super anxious about it will make your asthma worse. Find out all you can about asthma (and the virus) as understanding your condition is vital if you are to control it. While the pred. is doing its work, find things which help you relax. Talk to good friends about your anxieties and have a laugh about something. It really does help!

I can completely understand your anxiety. Last year I had a series of nasty attacks after 25 years of the odd wheeze every now and again. I was trying different meds and nothing was helping. It took a respiratory consultant to get me onto the right treatment (had an awful time with GP as I didn’t have classic asthma symptoms) I’ve not had an attack for 6 months now but I’m not as I was. I was permanently terrified during that time. Afraid to go out, afraid to be left alone and at times afraid to move in case it triggered an attack. Keep pushing your medical team. I understand how hard it can be when your ill and no one is listening or taking you seriously. You end up exhausted and just want to give up. The right treatment plan is out there, it’s a case of finding it. I had 6 months of add on treatments that got me through. Keep fighting!

Chin up Garfunkel. I endorse what has already been said. Would emphasize importance of speaking to a nurse who - if my situation is anything to go by--- can be a rock.

Also speak to others and make use of this forum .

From the start of this week the pollen count has been very high , so there could be a connection Try putting a weather app on your tech device so you are pre warned and see if your attacks correlate Good luck Marilyn

Poor you. The prednisolone could be increasing your anxiety - that's one of its less pleasant side effects, but it is temporary. I'm new to this so I have no advice, but please allow me to send you a virtual cuddle. You sound as if you could do with one. xox

Hi Garfunkel ... I am so sorry to hear about your asthma attacks which I know from experience can be very frightening. Asthma is a chronic condition and one that you need to keep under control. Steroids reduce inflammation which constrict your airway so while taking them, you should feel better but it isn't something that you should stay on all the time. I believe stress can really worsen asthma symptoms as well as seasonal allergies even getting a cold but if you find a regimen that works for you after you are finished with a course of Prednisone maybe you can start on a steroid inhaler like symbicort which I take daily...also albuterol given in a nebulizer followed by nebulized saline helps thin the mucus and keep the bacteria down.) I do this once a day myself even though I have a complicated form of asthma called

eosinophilic asthma. Prednisone stopped working for me so I was lucky enough to be able to take mepolizumab injections which lowered my eosinophils and my inflammation. I have had asthma for over 20 years and it fluctuates depending on my sinus health, bronchial health, allergies etc. but taking the control medication (whatever your Dr. suggests) is really very easy and you should do just fine. Try not to worry so much about coronavirus as I believe, if you are careful, wear a mask, wash hands all the time and use purell...keep a distance from people and ask them to wear a mask when around you...then I think you will be find and will get back to life when the vaccine is available. Good luck to you and do some deep breathing and meditation. It may help with the anxiety.


Thank you everyone for the kind and thoughtful responses - I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. I meant to reply sooner, but I’ve been feeling quite tired, as well as having a writing deadline on Sunday.

I took my last dose of prednisone this morning and I think it’s helped, as I haven't had an asthma attack since last Wednesday, which is great. However my chest still feels rough - I’ve taken my reliever inhaler 5 or more times today to try and breathe a bit easier, and my airwaves still feel tight. I’m mindful it could be a combination of my body needing time to heal, the humidity and the pollen, but it’s concerning. I’m about to see if vicks on top of the ventolin will help tonight. If I’m feeling much the same tomorrow or Friday, I think I’ll phone my GP and discuss options. It’s pretty scary to have the asthma suddenly feel so uncontrolled and what was working no longer seem to help, but hopefully it’ll all ease up soon.

My brother has asthma too (he was born with it and his has improved with age) and he was recently switched to a symbicort, which he says has helped him a lot (I believe he was on clenil before) - perhaps that’s worth exploring. I’m a big fan of meditation, which I do find helpful for my anxiety (I’ve also been to therapy for this), and I’ve started research on regular breathing exercises that could be beneficial.

Thanks again for all your responses.

twinkly29 in reply to garfunkel

Glad things have improved. Good idea to keep an eye on it and talk to GP if you need to. They may, at some point, change you to a combination inhaler, like Symbicort for example, combining the steroid part with a long-acting bronchodilator. That would probably be the next step here in the UK. Your meditation/relaxation techniques sound sensible too though.

EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to garfunkel

As twinkly29 said. I’m glad things seemed to have settled for you a touch, but keep and eye on it and call your GP if you still don’t feel you’re back to normal, as they may want to step up your meds a little. Hope the meditation and breathing exercises also help! 🤞🏻🤞🏻

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