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Asthma attack recovery time

garfunkel profile image

Hi all,

Nearly 7 weeks ago I had 2 asthma attacks and have been recovering since. I was on prednisone for a week, which helped get things less dire, but it's been a pretty uncomfortable time and I don't feel like I've made any progress in the past 4 or 5 weeks.

My mobility is currently pretty limited. I can move from room to room okay, but walking for a minute or more makes my chest ache, leaving me breathless, and needing the reliever inhaler three times to get comfortable again (I've attempted tiny walks in the garden and outside with the same result). My chest sometimes feels tight or uncomfortable when I'm sitting around too, which isn't pleasant, but this isn't all the time.

Does anyone have any experience with asthma attacks and the period of recovery, and any advice/reassurances? Is there any chance they could have caused permanent damage to my chest/lungs? I hope not, but I've begun to wonder...

My doctor has mentioned the possibility of running some tests after 8 weeks, if things haven't improved, although I'm considering contacting him this week, as I really don't feel like I'm getting better - it's been frustrating and scary, but I'm not exactly sure what I can do.

Any help or advice would be really appreciated!

13 Replies

Hi Garfunkle. Sorry to hear you've been so poorly. I wouldn't wait to talk to your doctor. It sounds like you need further treatment to get you back to your daily best. Usually a daily 40mg of Prednisolone for a week or two is needed to address the flare up. And then increased inhalers for a period of time. There should be follow up appointments to ensure the treatment is having an effect as expected and to up the meds if required.

When you talk to the doctor leave them in no doubt how severe your symptoms are and that every day is a bad day.

Good luck.

garfunkel profile image
garfunkel in reply to Poobah

Hi Poobah. Thank you - my doctor has been taking something of a wait and see approach, but I do think something has to change as I'm pretty worn down feeling this way with no signs of improvement (it'd be different if I could even see small improvements, I think).

So sorry to hear you've been this miserable. My exacerbations often last for weeks after I have a flare up or attack so I empathize. It can take awhile for the inflammation to go down.

What meds are you on aside from prednisone? Is there anything your GP can add to step up treatment for the time being? I am in a bad flare and my pulmonologist added Spiriva last week and it seems to be helping, that's why I ask.

Are you tracking your symptoms and checking your peak flow every day?

garfunkel profile image
garfunkel in reply to hilary39

Sorry to hear you're having a bad flare - hopefully it'll ease up soon.

I was on prednisone for a week (not pleasant, but it did work), but since then there's been no meds outside of my normal routine (2 puffs of clenil 200 twice a day and ventolin for relief). My doctor was reluctant about over medicating with the prednisone, due to the side effects, but did mention the possibility of a daily tablet to support the clenil as a potential long-term solution, if necessary (I can't remember what's it called) - he's been generally taking a wait and see approach, in the hope things would improve without further medication.

I only got a peak flow recorder recently, so I'm trying to get myself into the habit of using it day and night. I hadn't thought about tracking my symptoms, but that could be a good idea.

hilary39 profile image
hilary39 in reply to garfunkel

Maybe the pill was Montelukast? It works well for many people. I can't seem to tolerate it but that's just me.

Do you have an asthma action plan filled out with your doctor? It does sound like adding a controller could help when you have flares...

How is your peak flow? Is it on target or lower than normal?

garfunkel profile image
garfunkel in reply to hilary39

I spoke to the doctor this morning. The pill was montelukast, which I'm trialing now - if it works, it'll be a permanent addition to support the clenil. I was also given a spacer, which I'm adjusting to using. Hopefully they'll get things under control. :)

I think it was to just increase the blue inhaler as necessary, if memory serves.

I'm not sure about the peak flow - it's only something I've gotten recently, so I've not been able to record it when things have been normal.

I agree that not waiting and speaking to your GP sooner would be better. Are you still on Clenil? It may be that, given things are still ongoing, a change in preventer inhaler would be sensible. Or another kind of add-on as Hilary suggested. But it would be worth pointing out to your GP that this has been going in for some while, is having a huge impact on what you can do and that you're needing your blue inhaler regularly which indicates your current level of prevention isn't enough. Of course you shouldn't have to point this out to your GP but then they are just leaving you!

garfunkel profile image
garfunkel in reply to twinkly29

Hi twinkly. Hope you're well! Yes, I'm still on clenil - the doctor had mentioned the possibility of adding a daily tablet (I'm not sure what its name was) to support the clenil as a long-term help, so perhaps that's the next step. When I woke up this morning I had to use my blue inhaler twice when I got out of bed, which isn't...ideal. Just feel very fed up with this day in, day out.

I think you're right - I'll have to really try and highlight that it's not getting better when I speak with my doctor (today is a public holiday, so they're closed) and hopefully he'll drop his wait and see approach.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to garfunkel

It's hard feeling like you're having to nag but do try if you can - using one's blue inhaler should, ideally, be minimal. So having to use it indicates something that definitely needs more control. Emma's advice below is good.

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador


Sorry to hear you’re still struggling. It does sound like you may need either a change in inhaler or an add on medication (such as montelukast etc) to gain back control. Or maybe even a regular antihistamine (if you think the flares due to hay fever and allergens).

I’d strongly suggest you give The AUK helpline nurses a call for further advice before you call your GP. They are great and can be reached on 0300 2225800 M-F 9-5 and can give you more specific advice for you to approach your GP with! Alternatively their WhatsApp service is 07378 606728.

Hope this helps and you feel better soon

Hi Emma. The doctor had mentioned a tablet as an add-on to support the clenil (I'm not sure which), so that might be his first course of action - I definitely don't feel the wait and see approach is getting me anywhere.

Thanks for the info about AUK, that sounds great! I'll give them a call later today.

Hi Garfunkel, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I thing it is great advice to check in with your asthma nurse or doctor and give them an update and see if you should be changing anything or adding anything.

That said, after both my big asthma exacerbations (with hospitalizations) over the last year, my pulmonologist warned me that it would be at least an eight week and maybe more recovery time. My lungs had been so weakened and enflamed that it would take time (and medicine) and LOTS of rest to get back to near normal. I felt like you felt. Very scared and frustrated. I did my nebs, took my meds, got up to make my own meals, walked circles around my house and laid down and slept a lot. I called and checked in with my asthma nurse throughout and I very SLOWLY got better.

I honestly could not believe it took so long. I was new to asthma, too, and then WHAM severe asthma and in the hospital twice within 2 years.

Hang in there, it’ll get better. We are here for you.

Hi Shadowcat. Thank you! I'm sorry to hear about your asthma experiences, but it's comforting to know you've been through it and are hopefully doing a lot better now. How long did it take you to recover?

I checked in with a doctor this morning and have been given montelukast, which I'm trialing now. If I find it works, it'll be a permanent addition to support the clenil. I was given a spacer too, so hopefully the pair of them will help get things under control.

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