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Worse asthma flare than usual

Hello, everyone. I'm sorry I haven't been around lately. I am fixing some of my grades in college and midterms are coming up soon. I'm sorry to vent like this, but today I'm resting because last night I had a very intense asthma attack. 🙁
Usually, when I have attacks, I cough more than usual and I start wheezing along with some chest tightness and decreased lung capacity, and during these I just take my inhaler or nebulizer and sometimes caffeine and I'm usually ok afterwards.

However, this time, my breathing started to get a lot more shallow and I was wheezing more, having to inhale a lot more just to get some oxygen in. My lungs themselves were decreasing in capacity and my chest was really tight while my throat closed up from time to time. I was scared when my inhalers didn't work this time, but after a while with the nebulizer, I could open up my lungs, but my chest was still very tight and my throat was still clogged, so I ended up using salt water and was eventually coughing up mucus. My chest was still in a lot of pain, so I just took my Singulair and when I felt safe enough to, I fell asleep. I was with my family, but I am the only one with asthma in my household, so I just took everything, my inhalers, my nebulizer (it was a little bit more than the prescribed dose, but I ended up needing more of it that night), the Singulair, another dose of allergy medicine, and caffeine.

When I was first diagnosed with asthma, the doctors simply assumed it was mild, though I was untreated for 15 years. Then it turned out I needed my inhalers daily, so they considered it moderate. However, my friends who also has asthma, is with me more often, and has seen me have numerous asthma attacks from doing the simplest activities like standing, laughing, talking too loudly, and participating in almost any form of exercise no matter how light, suspect that mine might be severe. I'm not sure about the severity of my asthma, as I have only needed to go to the hospital once (thank goodness I didn't have to this time), and now I'm prescribed to take my nebulizer three times a day instead of as needed like most asthmatics I know. I don't know the severity of my own asthma, but we think my lungs have been very badly damaged for the 15 years I went undiagnosed and untreated. We haven't measured for severity at the pulmonologist yet since I am a new patient, but I could ask about that during my next appointment scheduled for the 25th.

Yesterday, it's definitely allergies that triggered my asthma attack. Despite taking all of my allergy medicine, I still had a really runny nose and was sneezing nonstop, and it got worse in the afternoon and the evening when the mucus started to clog my throat and I was wheezing all day. I'm doing a lot better than last night though it did take a toll on me and I have stayed in bed all day today. My voice is finally starting to come back, my lower airways are open and my throat is mostly open now. My chest is starting to feel better.
I just want to thank you for always being there for me on this site, I found Asthma.net during a tough time in my life and am very grateful for all of your support. <3

  1. Hi Thyme - wow! What an episode for you yesterday. We appreciate the level of detail you shared with us all and your candor is most welcome here, too!
    I am glad to hear you are on the road to improvement and starting to feel better today.
    You may be aware - these types of flare-ups / exacerbations can actually take a toll on one's mind and body. You did mention this towards the end of your story so I know that you understand.
    Be kind to yourself, remain patient and, listen to your body as you continue to recover from this event yesterday.
    Please know, you are always welcome here in our online community.
    Wishing you well,
    Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! I am starting to feel a little better. I'm back on my feet, but taking a lot of breaks to lay back down. It's not nearly as bad as it was on Wednesday when it first started. It's just that the symptoms return with less intensity, so my chest is still tight and my throat is not fully open and my lungs are decreased in capacity, but I will just have to take all my medicine and maybe drink caffeine or tea. Today I am going to be home alone while my family is going to my cousin's wedding, so in case of emergency I could ask my neighbor to take me to the hospital or my aunt and uncle. It is very important to rest when you're sick, and it's not worth overworking yourself when your body already isn't healthy enough to work much, and thank you for wishing me well!

      1. Hi again, Thyme - I hear you! It sounds to me like you understand what is happening to you quite thoroughly. For many folks with an asthma diagnosis, getting past the flare-up is one thing. However, what some patients need to understand even more is, that recovery can take several days or even weeks. I think you realize this, too. I thought this article, on that very aspect of asthma, might help to underscore that point precisely: https://asthma.net/living/we-arent-superman-after-a-flare-up. I do hope you find it to be helpful in a practical way.
        Keep doing what you're doing - I am hopeful you will not need the hospital / emergency department (ED), tonight. Although I am sorry to hear you will be missing your cousin's wedding, I feel certain your family will tell you all about it.
        Wishing you well,
        Leon (site moderator asthma.net)


    2. Hi, Thyme. Good to hear from you! We think about our members often. 😀 But don't ever feel like you need to apologize for not being here. Lots of people come through when they have questions and never come back, some others stop in occasionally. We will be here whenever you come to visit! Good for you to work on your grades, though I imagine it stinks to be studying in the middle of summer. Good luck!!!

      Have you been in touch with your doc about your recent flare? I'm assuming that's why your nebulizer routine has changed, but it's always good to check. Whenever you feel like your medication isn't working the best or if you're having close calls, it may be time to make some changes.

      Lastly, don't be afraid of a "severe" classification -- yes, it's difficult, but with the care and vigilance you have already shown toward your care, you will be able to manage it better. We have many members and even some staff that also have severe asthma, Take it one day at a time and focus on your recovery. I know it sounds ridiculous but you really are doing a great job taking care of yourself through this. Hugs to you! -Melissa, asthma.net team

      1. Ok... I had one more severe attack on the 18th with the same symptoms as before. I am at least recovering from that now. I noticed my allergies weren't going away as well as some of the wheezing even with the medicines I was taking, so when my symptoms were severe, I did take a little more of a dose than I was supposed to but I am taking my medicines as normal now. At the moment, I still feel pretty bad; just fatigued, some brain fog, a little bit of wheezing, cough and runny nose still, and I tested negative for COVID last Saturday and yesterday I suspected that since my allergies weren't going away even at twice the dose of the OTC medicine I take, I might have a sinus infection since I at least used to be prone to those, so now I am taking amoxicilin twice a day for 10 days along with my many other pills, inhalers, and the nebulizer. I'm not as scared of having severe asthma as I am the doctors underestimating the severity of my asthma as they never noticed my asthma until I was 15 and when I was first diagnosed they thought it was mild, until they noticed I would need much more medicines than they thought. I'm going to be alright, just going to have to complete one more school project with the few spoons I have. Thank you for everything!

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