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Could this be asthma, or is it something else?

(5 Posts)
Lougle Thu 06-Oct-11 21:32:58

I had excercise induced asthma as a child, grew out of it when I was around 12 years old. A bit of a flare up in my last pregnancy at around 15 weeks.

I have had a continual cough since the beginning of September. There are viruses going around, so I have 'kept it' in the hope it gets better.

It started mainly at night, then became day and night.

Last Saturday (1st October) I ended up phoning out of hours. I was finding it hard to breathe. My breathing was rapid, but quite shallow, and I was coughing horrendously if I moved, basically.

At OOH, the Dr asked me what was happening, and could see that I couldn't complete sentences easily. I was quite breathless, although I could improve it if I stopped talking and slowed my breathing. My lower left rib hurt a little if I coughed hard, and was a little tender to touch.

She listened to my chest, and was amazed (her words) to hear that it was clear. She fully expected it to be quite infected. She then did a Peak Flow. Both attempts had the same result: 200.

She said that I was clearly unwell, but my chest was clear, so it could either be bronchitis, or an upper airway infection. Either way she wasn't overly happy, so gave me antibiotics and a salbutamol inhaler. She was tempted to give me steroids, but decided not to.

Soon after taking the inhaler, I felt a little better. Not amazing, but certainly a little 'roomier' on breathing out.

It is almost a week later, antibiotics almost finished, but I still have the hacking cough, my breathing is better with the inhaler, but gets quite tricky at times without it. My rib now feels...broken. It is sooo painful. Even adjusting my position on the sofa hurts. Walking downstairs hurts, it is very tender to touch.

Do you think it is still the 'infection' or 'virus', or could this be asthma?

Lougle Fri 07-Oct-11 09:28:32

hopeful bump?

orangeflutie Fri 07-Oct-11 09:46:25

I think it might be that as you've spent such a long time coughing, your lungs are inflamed which is why they hurt. You need to go back to the doctor now you've finished the antibiotics and say that you still have a cough and your breathing isn't right. You probably need a short course of steroids now to help calm everything down.

I get asthma myself and reading your symptoms it does sound like you have it too. If it is, taking steroids for a little while and using an inhaler regularly should help. Your peak flow is also quite low at 200. No wonder you're finding breathing difficult.

Do you have any pets? or are you allergic to dust/feathers? It might be that you've developed an allergy to something at home, which is making you cough.

Hope you get better soon x

ClaireOB Fri 07-Oct-11 11:18:44

Sometimes asthma can present without wheezing but with coughing, feeling 'tight' etc. See for example this forum discussion over at Asthma UK. Would second orangeflutie re going back to the doctor.

Lougle Fri 07-Oct-11 16:18:56

Thank you both.

I went back to the doctor today. He said my chest examination is unremarkable, sats are 97-99%. However, 5 weeks is too long for an unexplained cough, so he has ordered a chest x-ray, wants a sputum sample, changed the antibiotics, given me a course of steroids and told me to continue the inhaler for as long as it gives me symptomatic relief.

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