Asthma and my cough: Hey guys. I have... - British Lung Foun...

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Asthma and my cough


Hey guys.

I have had asthma for many years now. I'm lucky because it's only brought on by exercising and I'm quite good at managing it.

Unless I have a cold...

I'm posting this here because, honestly, I don't know if what I'm going through every time I have a cold is normal.

My cold starts out like for everyone else, runny nose, sore throat, some coughing and discomfort. Then, after a few days usually, the real fight begins.

I can feel a constant tickling and tingling sensation about halfway down my throat (on the inside, of course) which seems to make my body constantly tense and on the brink of starting a coughing fit.

Then it breaks out. I cough and cough and cough. So hard I can't breathe. I start shaking, I often start crying and throwing up from the intensity of it all. And it all seems to be in my throat, not my lungs? At least that's where the pain and tickling is.

At the peak of my cold these coughing fits keep me up almost all night. That just come one after another and, honestly, sometimes I'm really scared because I just can't breathe. My body is so busy coughing I don't seem to have the time to actually take a breath.

I've tried to go to doctors with it but I never seem to have a coughing fit when I'm there as there's only a few minutes you can spend with them and it never seems to be the right timing.

I'd like to know if anyone else has these extreme symptoms and coughing fits and if so, how do you cope with them?

Thank you,

A tired girl

6 Replies

That sounds very much like my own experience. I was diagnosed with asthma nearly 40 years ago and managed just fine on a reliever inhaler when needed. Then had a series of chest infections over some years and was finally sent to see a consultant who diagnosed bronchiectasis which she said had probably been present for many years. Ask for a double appointment with your GP and ask assertively for a referral to a respiratory consultant who will arrange for the necessary tests. It may be something or nothing but you need to know. Relief from coughing is a bit of trial and error because different ways help different people. Use your reliever as prescribed for your asthma to keep your airways open. I find steam helps me - very hot, not boiling water in a bowl, head over bowl with towel over top and breath in gently, you can add things like Friar’s Balsam, various oils etc but be wary in case the scent triggers a coughing bout. Try sleeping with more pillows so that you are not lying flat. Am sure others will be along with their ideas too.

Tiffy961 in reply to Pentreath

Thank you for the reply. I think I might start the inhaling and see if it helps.

Oh dear I know it's very scary when your feeling breathless, I get Bronchitis and I am asthmatic and it awful when iv got an infection, just getting over one now actually. Do you cough up any mucus? Wondering if it's in your chest or not, it's hard to tell sometimes especially when you've got a sore throat with it.

It sounds terribly unpleasant so if I were you I would write down everything you've described and make a Drs appt, say to the receptionist you may need a double appt as you've got a lot to talk about. Take the paper with you and explain it all to the dr in detail, doesn't matter if your not coughing at that particular time. Then I would explain how worried you are and ask to be referred to a specialist who can then maybe do some further tests and investigations. You may need a better inhaler or a plan of action like antibiotics when the cough starts. I know how tiring it is when you've got a bad cough, I'm the same I start off it ha cold like everyone else but then it becomes Bronhcitis and I'm coughing, wheezing, breathless feeling totally shattered and it's no fun for any of us.

You don't need to keep suffering with no help, but you need to be insistent that you get the help, Drs only have a very small knowledge of Asthma and lung conditions, really it's quite specialist.

I suspect that due to the coughing you may also be experiencing some anxiety which probably makes your breathing even worse.

Go make the Drs appt asap. In the meantime drink a truck load of water, lots of hot water from the kettle too. Make sure you get extra vitamins, C and D especially and wash hands frequently, always after you've been out and take antibacterial gel with you. This helps prevent catching things.

Tiffy961 in reply to Shancock

No mucus, it's just dry coughing which made me doubt that it's Bronchitis.

Thank you for the suggestions, though. I guess i need to stay on the ball and try to convince a doctor it's not "just a cold"

A cold virus can trigger asthma symptoms. I’ve had asthma since early childhood and colds are a major trigger for me and the effects can last for a few weeks, including coughing fits, especially at night. If I were you I would speak to either your GP or your asthma nurse. I was always told to double my preventer inhaler at the first sign of a cold, which helped me manage the symptoms for some time until I had a bad year when I ended up on steroid tablets following colds three times. I was then switched to a high strength combination inhaler which seemed to improve things. If I were you I would talk to them about your medication and ask for advice about dealing with colds. Also I find propping myself up on pillows so that I’m almost sitting up helps with the night coughing as well as taking my reliever inhaler.

Thank you for the suggestion. I'm certainly already doing the "sleeping sitting up"method, though it doesn't always seem to help.

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