Peak flow after blue inhaler - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

18,417 members22,663 posts

Peak flow after blue inhaler

Witchinghour profile image

Hi all,

I was diagnosed with asthma during the first lockdown and I've queried the diagnosis since the blue inhaler never gave me much relief from my symptoms. I've never had an asthma attack as such but what prompted the diagnosis was the fact that I had an episode in which I was bent over my kitchen sink unable to take a breath which was terrifying.

I was diagnosed over the phone after a peak flow monitor for 2 weeks. No additional tests were done. Respiratory nurse said any result over 20% confirms asthma and mine was 43%. (I've since had much, much more stable peak low measures.) I stopped taking the inhalers after about a month because I didn't feel any improvement.

I've had an ongoing health issue which was diagnosed around the same time; one of the symptoms of which is shortness-of-breath. I was also deficient in ferritin, which causes SOB. Anyway; I'm now appropriately medicated and have since had an iron infusion which crosses those two causes off the list.

I believe now that I have allergic rhinitis which is triggered by perfumes and fragrances.

So eventually, I get to my question; my husband has started wearing aftershave again after a 12 month hiatus and I've found I can't breathe again and tried taking my blue inhaler.

Peak flow before inhaler was 370 and after the inhaler was 430. I don't know if that's significant or not?

I guess, I'm just hoping for some advice and opinions really!

Thank you.

27 Replies

It sounds like asthma reacting to aftershave. The fact peak flow improved after taking blue inhaler suggests your hypothesis is correct. You don’t say what your usual peak flow figures are so don’t know if 430 is still poor for you.Also you only mention blue inhaler which is to be taken when symptoms appear but don’t mention a preventative inhaler. Hope you are on a regular inhaler taken daily….

Witchinghour profile image
Witchinghour in reply to Bevvy

Thank you for coming back to me.

I am prescribed a preventative inhaler but I stopped using it because I wasn't convinced it was helping!

I guess I need to understand allergic rhinitis and how it affects/correlates with asthma.

I also don't really understand how the reliever inhaler should work. For example - it's been over an hour since I took it and I'm still feeling tight in the chest and being aware that I can't breathe properly. Is that normal? should I be taking it again?

The blue one should last 4 hours. It's difficult though because not all tightness etc is caused by asthma (and not being able to get a breath in isn't really an asthmatic thing) so it could be the blue inhaler is sorting the asthmatic bit and the residual tightness is not asthma.

I'd go back to taking the preventer as prescribed. It'll take 8 weeks or so to kick in but then should prevent reactions such as you had to the aftershave.

not being able to get a breath in isn't really an asthmatic thing

Can you elaborate on this for me please? I thought that was exactly what asthma is. 😂🥴

I should say I had no real explanations or after care since my diagnosis and I've not done much reading around because I've never been quite convinced of it...

Asthma is classically where breathing out is the issue. Breathing in can be involved but if it's solely "in" then could maybe be something else. But if asthma isn't controlled, which it won't be when there's no effective preventer treatment in place, it may be affecting both breathing in and out.Breathing pattern disorders and vocal cord dysfunction both classically affect breathing in, though mimic asthma in other ways.

This might be useful

But actually the link I shared above is probably more useful at the moment on asthma basics. Oh sorry not above - below! The "so you have asthma" post I linked to further down this thread.

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to twinkly29

Sorry twinkly, but not being able to get a breath in is an asthma thing. It is not just getting a breath in, you can’t get a breath out either 😁

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Troilus

Struggling to breathe in can be related to asthma, yes - sorry didn't mean to infer it wasn't or couldn't be associated. But the breathing out is the main thing with asthma, whereas issues with breathing in can be linked to other things - including but not only breathing pattern disorders and vocal cord issues. So in witchinghour's case I was merely wondering whether the asthma element was helped by the ventolin and the remaining issues were something else. Although it's entirely possible it's all asthma but ventolin isn't enough because there's currently no preventer meds.

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to twinkly29

Perfectly true twinky but if you get air trapping this causes difficulty getting air in and out.

Bevvy profile image
Bevvy in reply to Witchinghour

You could contact asthma nurses here who can give advice re allergic rhinitis.You don’t say how much blue inhaler you used and maybe need to take some more puffs before feeling better…?

However I must stress we are not doctors here and if your breathing becomes worse you need to contact gp or 111/999.

It also could be total coincidence that you started to feel unwell after smelling aftershave and you are actually starting an infection. Only a doctor could advise on this.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Bevvy

Good point re blue inhaler - often people aren't told that usually 2 puffs (inhaled separately, not squirted in together) is a dose and often use just 1 which doesn't work enough.

Witchinghour profile image
Witchinghour in reply to Bevvy

Thank you. Yes, I appreciate it's a peer-to-peer forum. :)

My breathing isn't getting worse but it wasn't getting better like I imagined it would! 🤣

I took 2 puffs of the blue inhaler as I'd been advised by the nurse. I didn't know there was another way of doing things!

Bevvy profile image
Bevvy in reply to Witchinghour

You can take up to 10 puffs at a time if really unwell. As said by twinkly29 the relief should last 4 hours before needing more…..

Witchinghour profile image
Witchinghour in reply to Bevvy

Ok -I think I need to start doing some reading. I've had to work downstairs because I can't share the office with Husband now today. Every time I walk past I'm reacting to the smell.

This might be useful:

if you want some reading!

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to Witchinghour

You are going to have to ask him to wash it off and put what is left in the bin 😁😁For allergic rhinitis take an antihistamine daily and steroid nasal spray twice a day - see if that helps

Witchinghour profile image
Witchinghour in reply to Troilus

He's going to be so cross. He's only just bought it. 😂

I put my own perfume on about 6 months ago and was back in the shower an hour later. I simply couldn't tolerate it. Had assumed it was just a problem when I wear it but turns out it's not that simple!

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to Witchinghour

Unfortunately not 😁 Even the lady standing next to you in the shop can be a problem and you can’t say to her - excuse me, would you mind jumping in the shower?

Yes Witchinghour. Sounds like asthma to me too. Mine started like yours. Picked up the kettle to fill it and couldn’t breath. Put it down and I was ok.

Hi! I would definitely start taking your preventer, and this should stop the kind of reactions you are having, but as said above, it takes some time to build up in your system.

Are you taking your blue inhaler through a spacer? I found that this really helps it get into your airways more.

Great advice given, thank you.I’m coughing continuously over the last few days. The least smell starts me off. Im not sleeping because of the coughing. I’m going to up the Ventolin puffs to see will that help. I was using Avamys morning and night, to help with Nasal drip. While with the doctor the 5 days ago she stated once a day is adequate, Coughing has resumed.

I’m at my wits ends coughing night and day, quite despondent with it all, if the truth b know. It’s a living nightmare, not sure where to turn.

I’m on seritide, morning and night, and Spiriva in the morning, antihistamines, and Lansoprazole.

Any similar symptom advice would be very really appreciated.

Thank u


Does anyone else use it twice a day.


twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to djbctla

It could be a virus - there are so many things about at the moment (well there always are but everyone is being affected by them this autumn) and coughing such as you describe is a big part of at least one of them - probably many of the viruses. I've got similar at the moment. Have had the asthma exacerbation/hospital admission to deal with that but still have the sinus issues (which then cause the post nasal drip) and the very frequent bouts of coughing - coughing which isn't asthma coughing but the virus. So it could be something like that which, unfortunately, has to just run its course - others I know have suffered for several weeks with it before it subsides - not uncommon for coughs.

Keeping hydrated is important but other than wishing for a magic wand I don't have any other solutions!

P.s. Avamys yes I use twice a day for half the year, once the rest of the time - don't know that it helps post nasal drip though. I use it for allergies and congestion.

m_uk profile image
m_uk in reply to djbctla


Although I'm no expert on asthma having been diagnosed only in January, from your own description of your symptoms (particularly the coughing and especially at night) my guess is your preventer prescription might need to be adjusted to control your symptoms and reduce the risk of an attack.

I would certainly recommend speaking to a doctor as soon as you can, and following that calling an Asthma UK nurse for background info on asthma, and in addition getting an asthma action plan from your GP to help you better understand and manage your condition.

Best regards

Hi Twinkly29.

I’ll make an appointment tomorrow to visit the Doctor ASAP. Perhaps it is a virus.

You are so good to take the time to reply. I will resume the use of Avamys twice a day.

Thank u so much, your posts are always reassuring and full of really good researched advice.

Bernardine 🤗🤗

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to djbctla

I find that sinus rinse (Neilmed Sinus Rinse) helps too actually. I've used it for years on the recommendation of a previous consultant as the saline rinse helps with allergies and hopefully helping to prevent some infections as most allergens and germs, or many of them, get in that way. But used for excess post nasal drip and sinus congestion it helps to relieve it - not long term but any relief is good!

I would check on your inhaler technique too.

I would question why your husband has starting wearing aftershave again ...😜.joking aside peak flows can vary on age, fitness, lung capacity my husband is 53 not overly fit no asthma and his is over 800 whereas mine is a modest 370 and I'm just under 50 with moderate asthma. A blue inhaler only provides immediate relief from breathless doesn't provide long term relief you don't mention a steroid inhaler this is important in managing asthma perhaps go back to your GP and ask them to reassess don't leave it. Try Neilmed sinus rinse and ask your GP for some Nasonex nasal spray.

I've had asthma and allergic rhinitis since I was a child and, recently, had been experiencing severe breathlessness for the better part of a week, with neither of my inhalers (Fostair and Ventolin) working an iota. I was eventually admitted to Acute Oncology (my medical history is complex) after my symptoms became unbearable, whereupon I was told that my condition had nothing to do with asthma (my lungs were clear - go figure!) but had arisen due to heart failure.

I'm now on heart medication, with an echocardiogram having been conducted late last week and an appointment with a cardiologist scheduled for tomorrow.

Please don't jump to any conclusions! I'm certainly not implying that you have a similar condition, simply that there may be causes of which we are entirely unaware lurking in the background.

Alerting your medical caregiver(s) to your current condition is imperative. Consult your GP in the first instance!

Every good wish 🙂

You may also like...