Allergic / nocturnal asthma - Asthma UK communi...

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Allergic / nocturnal asthma


Hello, hope everyone is doing ok. I have a question to people who have difficulties sleeping and getting woken up at night. I've had fairly mild / standard asthma since a child. I'm quite healthy, fine with exercise and have a good peak flow, but over the last few years since reaching my 30s, I've started having bad flare ups, mainly in the summer months that wake me up in the night. First time needed staroid course to calm it down. I've come to learn a lot about my asthma that it is mainly triggered by allergies and pollens. Currently take fostair 200/6 twice morning & night, montlukast, anti-histamine and avamys steroid nasal spray before bed. I do everything I can to prevent these flare ups but annoyingly I've had to get used to waking up coughing and needing my reliever at least 3 or 4 nights a week, sometimes more. I was also using my reliever quite a lot in the day time during late summer / autumn, but a little better in the day now. . I found that things started to get better for a few weeks in autumn and not waking up at all for a while! but now its started to return and last night I woke up with a really dry cough and severely tight chest. I had to get up, drink water and take my reliver about 8 puffs. I feel like im getting through my reliver inhalers so quickly. Anyway, I've read some stuff about 'post nasal drip' which i suspect might be my problem, after a day of exposure to allergens, or as the pollen comes out at night and I lay down. Apart from trying to learn to sleep sitting upwards, I can't seem to find any solution to this. Not sure if its just something that gets worse with age or have to learn to accept.

I'm very fortunate that my asthma isnt that bad, and of course doing all I can to keep safe right now and protects others and the vulnerable. Including my mum who has asthma and other conditions and is shielding. She doesnt get the nocturnal problems as much though and does a lot of gardening. I'm currently exercising less due to my job hours which is probably not helping. Sorry to ramble on, but if anyone has any tips other than taking an extra puff of fostair!, that would be much appreciated. Thanks

12 Replies

Post nasal drip is really annoying! I find that the heating being on (and so on and out of warm and colder atmospheres) can make it worse, but obviously one needs heat. I find that, whether it's congestion like that, infections like colds or allergy issues, NeilMed Sinus Rinse is good - partly it helps to clean the nasal passages of germs or allergens to reduce how much gets further into the body, and partly it helps with post nasal drip and congestion. I use it twice a day (as warm as you can tolerate the water - I find too much either way hurts) but if things are worse I use it in-between as well. It's not necessarily THE solution but does help.

Jamesd1986 in reply to twinkly29

Hello, thanks so much for your advice! I have to say that a nasal rinse is something I have not tried yet. This could be really promising ! Not too bothered about pain if it means I get a good nights sleep. I’ll have a look at that one you recommend and give it a go. Thank you

twinkly29 in reply to Jamesd1986

It's only short lasting if the water isn't warm enough but like major face ache!

Jamesd1986 in reply to twinkly29

Oh sounds nasty! Maybe I’ll try in the shower and see if it helps. My mum always used to do steam inhilation with albas oil vapours. Could be worth a go. Thanks

LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to Jamesd1986

This might be really obvious and you may already know if either of these things triggers you...but steam and Vicks can both be asthma triggers, so if you've not done an inhalation like this for ages be careful. Obviously if you know it's fine go ahead, but I never had an issue with childhood asthma using steam or Vicks/Olbas Oil, and now as an adult my lungs really dislike both steam and anything with eucalyptus.

I have never used the NeilMed but do like Sterimar spray for before I use Avamys - it does help to clear a bit though may not be enough for everyone.

I had really bad hay-fever problems from March until about July this year (I've never had hay-fever). Annoyingly the doctors kept telling me it was coronavirus and then saying it wasn't but still offering no help. Eventually my aunt (a nurse) suggested hay-fever and I started on an antihistamine which sorted the problem almost instantly. Piriton soon wore off and I needed a stronger antihistamine. The gp also prescribed me a saline nasal spray (Sterimar its called) and its been a brilliant help. Maybe something like this would help?

Hi, I sympathise as my asthma wakes me nightly. In my case the issue is house dust mites (and pollen in the summer months). You say you have allergies - is dust mites one of them? If so they could be contributing to your nasal issues and asthma attacks.

If you do have a dust mite allergy you may have already done / considered these things but if not you could try: strong anti-histamines (I use fexofenadine, prescribed by GP), sleeping propped up (I sleep on my side but with my upper half propped on 4 pillows to form a slope), washing bedding at 60 degrees once a week (high temp kills the dust mites) and vacuuming and dusting the bedroom. I also have an air filter. I also use Dymista nasal spray which has an anti-histamine component.

The other thing of course if issues persist is to seek a medication review and/or referral to an asthma specialist who can prescribe additional/different medications which can’t be prescribed at GP level.

Jamesd1986 in reply to Mogget

Hi Mogget, thanks so much for your suggestions. I don’t actually know if dust mites is a problem or not but I could try washing bedding at 60! I do hoover a lot and also have an air purifier . Also tired fexofenadine a couple years ago when problem first started but didn’t seem to help much abs I don’t have it on a repeat prescription.

I do have a very good asthma nurse and she suggested taking extra fostair puff and maybe piriton before bed which could be a bit stronger and can be taken with loratadine. I may see if I can speak with a specialist some time as I didn’t know that was an option. Although I’m reluctant to change medication too much to risk making things worse. When this all started I managed to get a lung function test which did show my lungs are pretty healthy and good for an asthmatic.

Something that does sound good is perhaps trying sleeping on a slope. I tend to sleep on my side which doesn’t help. I think I might have a slight cold coming on too with a slight dry cough (fingers crossed not the virus as it’s not consistent). I’m sure when the season and allergens change again I’ll prob sleep better again.

Thanks for your help and advice

Mogget in reply to Jamesd1986

Great, glad to hear you have a good asthma nurse who’s working with you on this. A specialist tends to be the next step if your GP has exhausted all other potential medication options, but it doesn’t sound like you’re at that stage yet (and hopefully you won’t be and that things will settle). The other thing I forgot to mention is that my mattress and bedding have dust mite protector coverings encasing them, which can help keep them at bay. Also, if I end up slipping down and sleeping on my back that’s the worst sleeping position for me - always guaranteed to set my asthma off!

Hope you feel better soon 🤞

Hi, I have post nasal drip too and also have reflux which makes me wake up coughing if I lay flat.I tried propping myself up with pillows but found it difficult. In the end I bought a sloping wedge (from Amazon) to put my pillows on and found this successful. It takes a bit of getting used to but might be worth a try. Also I try not to eat after about 7.00pm which definitely helps.

Hope you find a solution.

Jamesd1986 in reply to Celie1

Hi Celie , thank you so much for your tips. I actually ate earlier last night , had a healthier meal, washed my nose in shower and tried putting my pillows higher and had no asthma last night! Hopefully my cough is clearing and on the mend! I feel like my symptoms are random but perhaps these small changes will be the answer ! Thank you

Celie1 in reply to Jamesd1986

Glad you felt it helped. Hope you continue to improve.

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