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We Aren’t Superman After a Flare-up!

We Aren’t Superman After a Flare-up!

An asthma flare up is no joke. It takes A LOT out of anyone. When we are struggling to breathe, every inch of our bodies go into overdrive. We literally feel like we have run a marathon when we haven’t even lifted our feet off of the ground. Naturally, after we are starting to breathe a bit easier we aren’t ready to spring back into action. It is going to take some time.

Give yourself time to REST!

It is not uncommon to feel absolutely exhausted after an asthma flare-up. Your body has worked hard without a break to keep breathing when it was difficult to do so. Now that you are breathing easier, that fatigue catches up and you feel like you could sleep for days. It is important to take time to rest and allow your body to heal. Don’t rush back into daily life if possible and if you do have to jump back to work etc, be sure to take extra breaks and get plenty of sleep at night.

Stay hydrated

Keep on top of your water intake. When you are dehydrated, the mucous membranes of your lungs also become dry and causes the body to produce histamine. Asthmatics are known to have excess histamine levels in the lungs and this can cause bronchoconstriction and increased mucus production.  Cue the coughing! Staying hydrated will also help keep your electrolytes balanced and you will feel so much better!

Ask for help! 

When possible ask for some help with daily tasks until you are really back on your feet. Don’t feel bad or embarrassed about asking either. Friends and family are there to help!  Ask for some help with cooking and cleaning or picking up groceries for you. A trip to the store can be absolutely exhausting after a pretty bad asthma flares up.

Don’t forget to eat!

I know for me, after I have had an asthma flare I don’t feel much like eating. That is, until the steroids kick in!  But at first, I generally don’t have much of an appetite. What I try to do is eat small meals that are pretty bland.  I know everyone will be different when it comes to appetite post attack. If you are starving, keeping with several spaced out smaller meals could also be a good idea and just be careful not to give in to the “steroid munchies!”

Stay on top of your medications

If your doctor has added any additional medications (such as oral steroids like prednisone) or is recommending round the clock scheduled nebulizer treatments, be sure to stay on top of it to avoid any relapsing. Even if you are feeling tip top be sure to finish out any antibiotics or any other medications per your doctors orders and if you have any questions or concerns about any of it give your doctor a call or email him or her about it. Having that open line of communication is essential.

While we are pretty super for having to deal with asthma, we all need to hang up our capes sometimes and allow our bodies to heal and rest after a flare up. If we give our bodies the time they need we will be back in the game in no time!

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.


  • randitaylor
    3 months ago

    Thanks so much for giving me reassurance about the fatigue that accompanies an asthma flare. It is no joke and we all want to be productive, even retirees. Frequent rest periods and naps help me to be the best that I can be. I am working part-time and my constituents are aware of my condition. Don’t give up; just find the right path forward for you. This is excellent advice.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi randitaylor and thanks for chiming in here. Glad to hear this article resonated so clearly with you. It’s also a plus when your colleagues at work are understanding and supportive. We appreciate your input here.
    All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • gasping
    4 months ago

    Wow, this makes me feel less crazy. I find myself not only exhausted but also sore all over after an asthma flare. My joints in particular are throbbing in pain. Nice to know I am not the only one who feels like they were run over by a semi truck.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi gasping and thanks for chiming in here. I think you’ll find the more you look around, the more you will see that you are never alone here. There are always a few people who may have similar experiences as your own. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • JenColeman
    9 months ago

    I have just come back to work after hospital stay and 3 weeks off. It is hard! I am very fortunate that I have intermittent FMLA and work has been great as I am easing back in. I am beyond exhausted and I had bad flair up at work yesterday. It is hard for people in general to understand why I am not “well” yet.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi JenColeman and thanks for your post. We appreciate how challenging it can be when managing one’s condition, especially with a work schedule. So glad to hear that you’re back at work and the FMLA enables all this to occur for you. I’m sorry to hear you had the flare-up as well (once back at work) – that must have been difficult! We appreciate you sharing your experiences with our online community. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • jcmusiclover
    10 months ago

    Very hard to maintain employment when your flares happen often. ☹️

  • TracyLee
    10 months ago

    My asthma is mild and not life threatening but my cough was not well controlled by meds at work because of the high indoor air pollution. I coughed a lot and it exhausted me. I made stupid mistakes and worked too slow. We didn’t have sick days. I was afraid I was going to get fired.

    To avoid flareups, I gave in and wore a P100 mask full time for 2 years. First, the doctor looked at my spirometry results and gave me the OK.

    I was lucky that my job was all on a computer and I didn’t work with customers. Management was NOT happy. It was a risk I took but I was desperate to stop coughing all the time.

    I used texting with coworkers and I used my rescue inhaler before meetings. For fixing lunch, at home I put normal food in a food processor and added lots of water so I could gulp it down between breaths behind the mask. My lunches looked totally gross and they all tasted the same. This was messy but the mask was silicone and I wiped it out every night. I had to change out the big pink flat filters about twice a week because they plugged. But it was worth because I was able to keep earning money.

    At first, I had to work at getting used to the mask. It was restrictive. My nose always had red marks on it. My glasses didn’t fit right above the mask. I reminded myself that asthma means I have trouble breathing out, not breathing in. I watched YouTube videos on breathing exercises, relaxing while breathing, and how to breathe to avoid panic attacks. I watched them over and over again and I practiced. This was a big help.

    I still coughed behind the mask, but not nearly as much as I did without it. I no longer had to use the albutuerol throughout the day. Some of my energy came back. Although even better was growing old enough to retire after the two years!

    I hope that you can figure out strategies that will reduce your flares.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    Hi jcmusiclover and thanks for your post. Haven’t heard from you in a while! We hear you – flareups can be an issue on the job. What are you doing now for work? Leon (site moderator)

  • Crazy
    1 year ago

    Thank you. A refresher and acknowledgment is a confidence booster. Seems like I could sleep around the clock these days!

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