Is this asthma or something else? I'm... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

17,961 members22,284 posts

Is this asthma or something else? I'm new here

Tim5 profile image

Hi everyone. I've had hayfever all my life but this year it's been completely out of control. I am getting asthma symptoms, feeling short of breath 24/7. I've had similar symptoms earlier years too but it's only ever felt this intense one particular summer years ago. It's affecting every area of my life and has a huge effect on my mental health too. I recently got an inhaler but it hasn't helped that much so far. It's recently gotten so bad I am considering moving abroad as this is nearly unbearable.

If it helps, I am 30 years old.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


14 Replies

When you say you've recently got an inhaler, how recently and what is it?

A preventer will take about 8 weeks to kick in properly so won't help immediately.

Also what are you on for your hayfever?

Tim5 profile image
Tim5 in reply to twinkly29

Hi, thank you for your message!

I've had a Salamol inhaler for three days so it's very recent. I'm on Loratadine which helps a bit with other hayfever symptoms but doesn't seem to help me with my breathing issues.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Tim5

Ah ok, so it's just a reliever. That should help the symptoms within 20mins but it's only opening the airways, not dealing with any underlying inflammation (which would occur in asthma).

Have you been asked to monitor your peak flow? That can help to show if the inhaler is helping and if it might be asthma (if it does help then the next stage in the "is it asthma?" game would normally be to try a steroid/preventer inhaler to see the impact that has.)

If you haven't, it might be worth asking your GP (or whoever prescribed the salamol) if you should be doing that.

Hayfever wise, maybe ask about add-on treatments such as steroid nasal sprays. If the issue is originating from what you breathe in, dealing with it at source should help. Additionally, allergies can cause post nasal drip which itself can cause breathing symptoms because it irritates the airways.

Sinus Rinses are also very good (such as Neilmed Sinus Rinse). Used twice a day, before any steroid nasal sprays, it can help to reduce allergens getting further than the nose.

Tim5 profile image
Tim5 in reply to twinkly29

Yeah, I got a peak flow monitor. There seems to be a slight effect as the readings have gone up after I started using the inhaler. Having said that, I am still feeling very very unwell.

The GP also told me to go to a blood test soon too.

Thank you. I've tried so many different over the counter treatments but the help has been very limited. I'm still open to trying what you suggested.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Tim5

I'm not sure how you've been told to use the peak flow meter, but I would do your peak flow when you have symptoms, before using the salamol. Then use the inhaler and then repeat your peak flow 15-20 mins later. Keep a record of the before and after results as they'll be useful for your GP.

The inhaler should help for about 4 hours but it is only relieving symptoms, a bit like lemsip or something can relieve the symptoms of a cold but doesn't actually get rid of the cold.

Data/peak flow records from pre/post inhaler will help in the next step if you can persevere....but equally if things are not helped at all or you just feel too bad, then go back to your GP. If they do prescribe a.steroid inhaler to try (usually brown in the first instance), that's what will take several weeks to kick in properly. During that time it would be usual to need the salamol in addition and measuring peak flow twice a day before using inhalers would be advisable as that will help to show the impact it's having.

It may be that your GP would have a different plan if the salamol is literally not helping at all - although an increase after using it suggests it might well be.

Not all GPs actually go through technique when someone is new to inhalers, some just assume it's obvious. If it's one you press, ideally use a spacer with it, and make sure you take 2 puffs at a time (number of puffs is also often glossed over) but individually so the first is done and breathed in before doing the next. Apologies if you know all that - it's really common for people to be told nothing!

Thanks again. What I find so tricky about this is that the symptoms are very likely to disappear by the end of July or in August. I grew up in a different country and the hayfever/asthma never got even close to this bad before moving to the Southeast of England. I lived in Scotland for a while too and I wasn't struggling as much.

Thanks for the advice on how to use the inhaler too. It really wasn't obvious! Had to go properly through the instructions.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Tim5

Have you tried fexofenadine, the prescription antihistamine? If not, it might be worth asking your GP about that. A lot of people with persistent hayfever symptoms find that helps.

Seasonal issues can be really difficult because although the treatment (if one needs steroid inhalers, for example) can be used seasonally, they do need starting a couple of months before the time symptoms begin so they're effective.

Lynxy7 profile image
Lynxy7 in reply to Tim5

I am wondering if you are allergic to Rapeseed pollen, as there is a lot of that grown in the S E of England. If it is something like that, then it might also be worth getting your doctor to prescribe a much stronger anti histamine. Another possible cause of persistent breathlessness is anaemia and this is sometimes caused by lack of iron, folic acid and b vits. I hope you get some relief soon.

I think you should speak to the nurse at asthma uk. The nurses often have more knowledge than a GP - and more time to listen.

Fexofenadine is definitely worth a try.

Hayfever can be so miserable! In the states a lot of people used to summer on the lakes in Minnesota specifically because it's above the pollen line.

What antihistamines and other meds do you take? Do you get allergy shots or have you tried under-the-tongue drops? Do you have an air purifier running and home and keep all the windows shut?

Hi Tim.I was a bit similar to you. I have had hayfever just about all of my adult life. It wasn’t much of a problem. I took my antihistamine March to October, adding in a nasal spray and eye drops when necessary. That display the trick and apart from a little bit of sneezing in August I was fine.

Then one summer I got a bad cough and had bouts ( very short) of breathlessness) I thought it was bad hayfever. I contacted the GP but was told to contact my pharmacist, which I did. Anyway, come September I was fine, then in the March of the same year, out of the blue I had a big asthma attack.

The thing that seems to have made the difference was that I live next to a huge expanse of grassland that had previously been mowed regularly.

Now, back to you! You say that the blue inhaler makes a slight difference.

Can I ask how many puffs you take in one go? I ask because some people are unaware that you can take more than the one or two doses it sometimes says on the box.

As others have said keeping a peak flow chart is useful. Not just before and after your blue inhaler, but a few times a day. ( Initially I did 4 times)

This is not just to show the response to the inhaler, but also the variation during the day and day to day. This is also useful in diagnosis.

Try not to despair. Your GP is working with you and I’m sure together you can work out what is going on and work out a suitable medication plan.

Thank you everyone!

I normally take two puffs at a time, three or four times a day.

I have never tried Fexofenadine.

I'm going to spend some days in a different area next week so it'll be good to see whether my symptoms are still present when I'm there.

Do air purifiers make a big difference?

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Tim5

Definitely ask your GP about that - if it helps your hayfever then that would be great anyway and if, in turn, it helps the breathing symptoms then even better.

You may also like...