Has anyone any tips?

Hello Everyone,

My name is Annie and I have Grade 3 COPD and asthma.

Earlier this year I contracted Avian flu and spent some time on a ventilator in ICU. Getting that bug hasn't helped, nor hasthe subsequent e-coli infection in my lungs, hopefully cleared with ABs.

I have been doing the 'right' things: exercising and trying to eat sensibly and was doing well - even going for short walks in the local park.

About a month ago my breathlessness returned with a vengeance and quite honestly I feel too nervous and embarrassed to go out. I have to keep stoping to catch my breath every few minutes and am scared of collapsing in the street. Has anyone any tips on how to deal with this?

9 Replies

  • I do wish you well...I can't help with any advice as I have emphysema and am still trying to learn how to cope with it better. Let's hope lots of members will be able to advise you. I am very new to this....

  • Hi Annie and welcome to the site. I am pretty new to all this and am not sure if I can help you much, but I can guarantee that there will be others along soon who will give you better advice than me. What you could do right this minute to get expert advice from respiratory nurses is to click on the red balloon to reveal the helpline number for the BLF. You have been through an awful lot and it takes a long time for the body to recover from this. Go easy, gently and slowly. I totally empathise with you being frightened and nervous when out because of your breathlessness. I have experienced that many times. What I was advised to do when I got too breathless was just to stop until my breathing stabilised. However, you sound as if you need a further check up to find out why this breathlessness has suddenly returned. It could be something as simple as the humidity, as this affects us all with lung disease. Also, before you go out use your reliever inhaler ( blue in colour usually) and hopefully that will prevent some of the breathlessness. I stress again though that you phone BLF helpline right now, if they are busy they will call you back. Also go back to see your GP for a check up and ask about a pulmonary rehabilitation course. Take care, and remember that the anxiety can actually increase the breathlessness causing a vicious circle. Good luck and let us know how it goes. hugs xx

    ps helpline number is 03000 030 555

  • Thank you Huggs for your advice. Like you, I am new to this forum and I will phone the helpline. I have an appointment with my GP's practice next week and am hoping they will be able to arrange an earlier appointment with my consultant. I'm not able to see him until October at the moment.

    I'm so glad I found this forum.


  • Thank you Louisiana. I am very new to this forum too and I'm glad I stumbled upon it and I wish you well with your own 'coping'.

  • Hi Worzel and welcome to the community. Nothing like a bit of fear to stop us doing anything, is there? Been there, done that and currently using the T-shirt as a duster ... Panic is awful, lack of air is awful, and putting them together is a recipe for making us invalids! As soon as I start feeling panicky and breathless, I stop what I'm doing, take my mind off my breathing by whatever means are available - from reading the label on the sauce bottle, to gazing at the flowers in someone's garden and trying to remember the proper Latin names ... and this is my secret to regaining my puff - inhale for the count of two and exhale to the count of four. Yes, it's embarrassing stopping dead in the street to catch your breath, but the way I look at it, it's better than stopping dead! LOL Take care and let us know how you master your walks :) x

  • Hello Initial,

    Thank you for your very erudite reply. It made me smile and really cheered me up!

    James Herbert wrote 'fear is the mind killer'. I've never forgotten that, but I'm learning that it doesn't do the body much good either.

    Next time I get out of breath, I'll put your tips into practice and hopefully they'll work for me. I don't have Latin though, but I'll think of something else.

    I'm REALLY glad I joined this forum.


  • Sadly, there isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of treatment for us, but before you set off on a walk, or generally just going about your daily life, I take two puffs of my blue reliever inhaler - that helps me too. I do it instinctively now, so forgot to mention it LOL :) Glad you're feeling a bit more cheerful. Take care :) x

  • Thank you for this and your next response. I'm not sure about navigating this site yet!

    I looked at Libby's page. She was a lovely, bright lady.

    I am going to go out tomorrow and if I get into difficulties I shall remember the coping mechanisms.

    I think it's going to be a fine day with no rain here.


  • If I find myself puffing a bit I either find a seat to sit on to catch my breath or lean against something. I don't care who sees me. In fact, I find quite a few people ask if I'm ok. After telling them I have emphysema and I'm catching my breath they seem happy with that. Some know what it is and others don't but it's nice to know people care. I do try to avoid getting into that situation in the first place though ! :)

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