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First Asthma attack

Hey so I'm new to the community. I have had mild asthma during my adult life. Normally it causes me few problems and I only rarely need my reliever inhaler.

But recently I've noticed I've been needing to use my inhaler more often and getting wheezy fairly regularly. Last night I started getting wheezy (not sure what triggered it), used my inhaler and thought I was fine. But an hour later I cycled home and on the way my breathing was awful, it was really noisy breathing in, I felt I could hardly get enough air, and had like a pain in my chest. Then when I got home finally and used my inhaler I was really lightheaded and almost fainted when I tried to stand up. Ended up using quite a few puffs of my inhaler before things evened out.

I found the whole thing really scary, and I was on my own which didn't help. Didn't really sleep last night and am still feeling kinda shook by it today. I've seen the doctor who said my lungs sound okay and who prescribed me a preventer inhaler to use as well.

How do you guys cope with flare ups like that? I just feel stressed and a bit scared now tbh

  1. Hi CM912876, and welcome! I see you recently joined our community website (last night), and we are glad to have you here! We also appreciate you jumping right in and conversing with all of us.
    I am sorry to hear this happened to you! It is understandable that now you might be feeling somewhat apprehensive and stressed to a certain extent. It's good that you have seen the physician - this may help to put your mind more at ease.
    Generally speaking, asthma can affect folks differently and also can change over time. Since the doctor has prescribed an inhaler for prevention, this may help to keep your asthma under better control.
    I thought you might gain some additional insight about asthma and asthma episodes from this article on that very topic: https://asthma.net/treatment/rescue-medications. It is a thorough explanation of 'asthma attacks' and the medications used to treat them. I do hope you find the information is helpful in a practical way.
    Please do check back and keep us apprised of how you are doing.
    Wishing you well,
    Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    1. Hi! I have had the same experience as you have had. My asthma wasn't bad, only needed a rescue inhaler. Then it progressed. I think I am quite lucky that I take everything pretty chill. It used to make me panic at the start, but now I just get upset with myself if I have those flare ups. I keep thinking I did something wrong to have it happen. When I truly panick about bad breathing, I just tell myself I am okay (even if I am not!) and that I can just call an ambulance or get myself to hospital. It is unnerving for short flares. I do a lot of relaxation, meditation and mindfulness. I find it helps me find my calm. On BIG flare-ups, I get very demoralized when I don't see an end!
      I hope you find the support you need here. I did.

      1. I so hear you! I am beginning to learn that I need to gain better control. I actually talked to my Doc about pursed lip breathing today. I am still in the early process of integrating it when I have a flare. When I can concentrate, pursed lip breathing is very helpful. It's to remember to use it and keep it in my bag of tricks!
        Your input is very helpful!

      2. Thanks for your kind words, Bleu. Should you need it, here is a great little video for pursed-lip breathing from the American Lung Association: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/patient-resources-and-videos/pursed-lip-breathing-video#:~:text=Pursed%20lip%20breathing%20works%20by%20moving%20oxygen%20into,your%20breathing%20rate%20and%20relieving%20shortness%20of%20breath. I do hope you (and our community readers), find this to be helpful, too!
        Warmly,
        Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    2. Hi! Glad you are here -- you are in good company with us. I wanted to check in and see how you've been doing since you started on the preventer. Any issues so far? Sometimes, all that's needed is a little tweak to your medication regimen every once in a while -- this is a normal part of asthma management for many people. But it's definitely scary to suddenly start having issues! My fingers are crossed that this does the trick. We are here for you whenever you need us or if you just want to talk! -Melissa, asthma.net team

      1. hey, thanks so much for checking in! How lovely 😀


        I actually haven't really been able to judge the effectiveness of the preventer, since I got a chest infection not long after and am still recovering! But I'm hoping once it's cleared up I'll see an improvement!

      2. Ugh, what timing! That stinks. Hope you are resting up and your recovery is uncomplicated. Get well soon! <3 -Melissa, asthma.net team

    3. Hi Bleu,
      I suddenly started gasping for air 2 years ago and my body started hyperventilating and had no control over it. I was lucky enough that it happened while I was at my GP for bloods. I immediately was put on an oxynometer and it read constantly 98-100% oxygen so I knew I was getting enough oxygen so wasn't really scared. Also I knew I was hyperventilating because my face and hands started tingling and got really dizzy. I was send to hospital but was told I had anxiety. Knew that was wrong but had no idea what caused it. The attacks kept happening and always my oxygen levels were high. I only got really scared when a private pulmonologist diagnosed me with asthma and started realising that every time the hospital left me gasping for air for 24 hours a couple times a week without any medication to stop the attacks, they put my life in danger because due to exhaustion I could have gone into respiratory failure.
      I only had once when I had a chest infection that my oxygen levels were lower 94% which is still acceptable.
      So knowing that I'm very able to keep my oxygen levels up during an attack makes me reasonably save.
      I did scare my dentist terribly though a couple weeks ago when I got an attack in the middle of a root canal treatment. I just kept on breathing loudly and forcefully and signalling to him to keep going and finish as quickly as possibly so I could take my rescue inhaler. He was a bit shaken up afterwards but nailed the stress test. 🤣
      I would recommend to use a oxymeter when you have an attack several times and see if you can keep your oxygen levels up. This might give you some confidence that you might not suffocate immediately and have time to take rescue inhaler and call an ambulance if the rescue doesn't work. My GP told me that about 10 puffs is the same as a nebuliser. I also always have 30mg of oral steroids at hand in case the rescue doesn't work and the ambulance takes to long to arrive. Usually the steroids start working within 30 minutes and breathing starts getting easier although I notice full effect only after 3 to 4 hours.

      1. Your post is a perfect example of how asthma can be a bit different for each person, and that an attack can come on at the most inopportune times! How scary some of those experiences sound! It seems like you have become really skilled in knowing your body and how to respond during an attack. That's the best way to stay out of trouble, for sure. Appreciate you sharing here! -Melissa, asthma.net team

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