Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
The Case Of The Missing Asthma Trigger OR Do Lakes Trigger Asthma.

The Case Of The Missing Asthma Trigger OR Do Lakes Trigger Asthma

Last night I kept waking up feeling tight. So, this caused me to use my rescue inhaler quite a bit. I used it about 20 times during the night.  This has peeked my curiosity. I haven’t needed my rescue medicine in months. In fact, I’ve been doing so good I even quipped once, “I sold my asthma.” So, why is this happening now?

Sometimes we asthmatics must play the role of Sherlock Holmes

We must solve mysteries. What is it that triggered this rare asthma episode.

The only thing I can think of is I had too much fun.

Last Friday I took my kids to visit my brother. He has a cottage at Sandy Pines. He lives across the street from Monterey Lake. About ten minutes after we arrived we were already in the water. The next two days we spent swimming, riding on the Pontoon, jumping off the pontoon, and swimming, swimming, swimming.

It was awesome! My kids are early risers. I’m talking about my Littles: Myles and Laney. They are 8 and 9. They wake early. We were just sitting around at 8 a.m. So, I said to them, “Hey! Want to go for a swim?”  Their eyes lit up. “Really?” Laney said. “Yes! Really! I answered. So, we went for a morning dip. We were the only ones in the water. It was neat.

My kids had so much fun they didn’t want to leave. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.

About halfway through day #3, I started to feel tight in my chest. But, this was after jumping off the pontoon with them. It was during the 20-minute swim from the pontoon to the shore.

It was a neat idea Myles had. He said, “Dad, why don’t we jump in and swim allllllll the way to the shore.”

I said, “Okay, let’s do it.”

“Really?” Myles said.

We put on our life jackets. We jumped in. We swam all the way.

Needless to say, smiles never left said faces. It was neat. And, yes, we were pretty pooped by the time we got to shore. But, they never left the water. They took their jackets off and swam some more.

But, it was during this adventure I noticed a stuffy nose. It was also during this adventure I noticed slight chest tightness. I also noticed a slight headache. My breathing was fine at this time.

Actually, now that I think of it… I did take 2 puffs of albuterol when we were back at the cottage. As I check the Propeller app, I find that this guess is confirmed. I did take 2 puffs of albuterol. So, I think, that I was having early warning symptoms of asthma at this point.

I did not heed the warnings.

On the way home the Littles fell asleep. Like their dad, they were so pooped out. The only problem is dad had to drive 2 hours home. By the time we got home, the said mentioned symptoms re-appeared: a headache, congested nose, chest tightness, and mild short of breath. It feels like I have a cold. And, I am well aware that respiratory viruses are my #1 trigger. They always get to me.

Several puffs of Ventolin later here I sit investigating. My theory is that it was the lake. My educated guess is I inhaled respiratory viruses. They are often found in lake water. They may become aerosolized and inhaled.1 As I was floating to shore, I bet I inhaled quite a few of them.

So, I think I have an acute respiratory infection. I think I have rhinitis. I think this is what caused by asthma symptoms. And I think the early symptoms I felt are proof of this. This is similar to past such instances like this, where water fun triggered my asthma.

Mystery solved?

No way to know for sure. That’s how it is with allergies and asthma. Our disease is invisible, and so too are our triggers. So, finding what our triggers sometimes involves some sort of Sherlock Holmes-type investigations. If I remember, I’ll run this by my doctor next month. He may agree with me. He may tell me I’m full of it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Pond, Kathy, “Water Recreation And Disease: Plausibility of Associated Infections: Acute Effects, Sequelae, And Mortality,” World Health Organization, 2005,, accessed 8/13/18


  • FeelingShy
    10 months ago

    Hope your situation didn’t deteriorate further & you are feeling better.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    9 months ago

    Oh, yes! I fully recovered. I suppose I should have clarified that. Thanks for asking. John.

  • Shellzoo
    10 months ago

    I was a little tight and wheezy this past weekend and figured there is lots of ragweed pollen in the air right now. Soon it will be smoke from people burning leaves. There are always triggers.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    We hear you, Shellzoo and thanks for your post. Now that we are past the weekend, how are you feeling? All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    Hi again, Shellzoo, and thanks for your most recent post/update (below). Based on your comment, treating your symptoms (feeling tight with some wheezes) with the rescue inhaler – were you successful? Did you sleep through the night and wake up feeling better? Please let us hear back from you. Leon (site moderator)

  • Shellzoo
    10 months ago

    Thought I was feeling great. But woke up tonight feeling tight and had some wheezes so used my rescue inhaler and hopefully going back to sleep in a few. Some storms rolled through while I was sleeping and maybe they stirred up the pollen in the air. Another asthma trigger. Not fun to wake up short of breath.

  • Poll