My Experience with COVID-19 and Asthma

Last updated: June 2022

So, I'm a 20-year-old who was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma a few months ago. My Mom is a nurse. I have mild intermittent asthma. Respiratory viruses are my worst trigger. This is a story that will cover multiple topics. It will cover the timeline of me having COVID with asthma and how being a healthcare worker and living with another healthcare worker can help in the management of symptoms and recovery.

May 23, 2022: My symptoms begin

I had fallen asleep around 8 pm because I was mysteriously very tired. I had woken up around 10 or 11 pm and I was very thirsty, so I decided to get something to drink. I remember that as I was drinking I felt a sharp pain on the right side of my throat. I thought I had a tonsil stone or post nasal drip and it was irritating my throat. I went back to sleep a couple of hours later.

May 24, 2022: Identifying cold symptoms

I had woken up to find that I still had a sore throat. I checked in the mirror with my phone flashlight. I didn't have a tonsil stone, but there was a little spot that appeared to be a little swollen, so I figured it was just irritated. A few hours later I started to feel a little rundown and feverish. I took my temperature and I found that I did have a low-grade fever. I thought I had a cold. I wasn't having too many issues with my asthma thus far. I thought maybe I would get lucky and not develop acute bronchitis from this cold. I thought I was getting better, but that wasn't the case.

Let's fast forward. I had been dealing with cold symptoms for a couple of days. I thought it was nothing out of the ordinary. It would get worse at night, and one night I had a really hard time sleeping because of the symptoms. I thought I would be fine in a few days to a week's time. I didn't know I had COVID yet. And as previously stated, I thought I was getting better.

May 27, 2022: Wheezing

This is the day I started wheezing. I developed an inspiratory wheeze, so I used my rescue inhaler, which cleared it up for the most part. I still felt sick. I hoped it wouldn't get much worse than that. I had been needing increased Albuterol.

May 28, 2022: My symptoms got worse

The wheezing got worse. It was more frequent and it sounded worse. I think now is a good time to mention that when I wheeze, I don't often make the typical sound you might associate with wheezing. For me, it's kind of a low-pitched rhonchi-type sound. A friend of mine described it as bubble wrap. Anyway, that night it just got worse and worse and worse. I was coughing by this point too. I had been coughing for a few days, but now I had a deeper, wetter-sounding cough. I did not sleep at all this night because of how bad I was coughing and wheezing. I was using my rescue inhaler a lot more than usual. I had a severe asthma attack that lasted from the late hours of the night into the early hours of the morning.

May 29, 2022: Time for a COVID test

After having a severe attack for several hours, I woke my mom up at 5 am. I don't know how I was talking at this point. She didn't even get her stethoscope, she just put her ear up to my chest and went "yep, do you wanna take a COVID test?" My sister had tested positive, which is why she asked. She asked me if I used my inhaler. I said, "yes, twice" (I had forgotten about the 10 puff rule, so I thought I couldn't do more than two puffs because that's what I'm prescribed every 4 hours as needed). My mom was telling me I needed to cough up the congestion in my chest because that would help me feel better. I told her "I know" but what I didn't have enough breath to tell her was that I couldn't even get a strong enough cough to expel anything. I eventually did though. I think this is why my inhaler didn't help me much. I could barely use it with how severe this attack was. I didn't get a ton of medication for my lungs. This was a real wake-up call that I need to get a spacer. After I had that attack, I used my rescue inhaler every four hours. I prevented another severe attack that way. I thought I would have to go to the ER, but I luckily ended up not needing that.

Recovering from having COVID with asthma

With my mom being a nurse and me being a pharmacy tech, we knew what to do. I knew how to stay calm even though having COVID with asthma is relatively new to me. It really helps to have someone who is a healthcare worker on call when you are dealing with COVID.

This experience taught me two things. First, I need to get a spacer. Second, I need to remember the 10 puff rule in situations where it matters.

I hope others are able to benefit and or learn from the experience that I had with COVID.

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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.

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