British Lung Foundation
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Sudden onset breathing crisis

Shared knowledge plea - I have COPD with a side order of bronchiectasis and more recently hay fever. Diagnosed about eight years ago. Recently I have had some exacerbations - two this year. The latest is slightly different since I appear to have no infection - just very bad breathing. I have done the anti-biotics and it seemed to be slowly easing. But today i was very seriously short of breath while trying to help my wife (carer) shop - 10-15 yards max! Then I got the familiar sting in the back of the throat and the rhuemy eye of rhinitis. So I took a hay fever tablet at about 2.15 p.m. Just and hour later managed to walk the dog as well as I did yesterday (i.e. not well but OK). Now reading suggests that while hay fever is nasty and especially for the likes of us, I can find nothing to justify the idea of such chronic shortage of breath. Local weather incidentally is sunny and dry, high pressure, light breeze.

So - anyone had experience? Been treated? Any clues would be gladly received - we all take enough drugs already - adding a daily anti-histamine is just salt in the wound!

5 Replies

Don't you just love it when something else is thrown into the mix! Hope you get replies soon. Take care Timberman. Xxx

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The most likely cause of non infection exacerbation are,

Triggers of which there are many, air fresheners, aerosol deodorants, household cleaners, smoke and fumes.

Aniexty is another issue which can bring on a uncontrolled breathing episode.

Unfamiliar surroundings can cause a panic attack.


I was surprised to hear on Tuesdays weather forecast, that the pollen count was high. I always thought it had to be warm weather and it was freezing.

I can't breath if I pass those privet type bushes that get those white bits on them. Certain trees have the same affect too.

I've taken antihistamine daily for 13 years with no ill effects. xx

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I also take daily antihistimine and also have a Beconase nasal spray. I still get some hay fever symptoms but not usually too bad unless I'm also brewing an infection. I have a love/hate relationship with spring when all the tree pollen's about. I don't want to stay shut up indoors so have to put up with the constant sniff - ok as long as the asthma doesn't join in!

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Today revealed some infection symptoms - mucus etc - so I am now on Co-Amoxiclav (again!).


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