Posted by: anne | 2009-02-26

asthma or chest infection?

I' m nearly 29 years old (female) and I developed asthma after getting bronchial-pneumonia last year. I had asthma as a teenager and then grew out of it. The asthma seems to be triggered by exercise (I take an inhaler half an hr before which helps), emotional factors, and I sometimes get it in the evening/ early morning, especially if it' s quite muggy and stuffy in the house. When I go outside to breathe fresh air it usually goes away after a few minutes. My symptoms include: a ' burning' , hot feeling in chest area, tightness in chest, feeling like I can' t catch my breath, a whistling sound as I exhale, discomfort in chest area... But what is bugging me is that I also cough when I get these attacks (they are fairly mild so not sure if attack is the right word - unless I exercise heavily), I start coughing, and sometimes I cough up phlemn or something that tastes funny... (Sorry to be graphic). Could this not be an infection? I did go for a lung function test and the doc said I have very good lungs (the lungs of a 20 year old apparently!). Because I have such good lung capacity he said I should just stick to the inhaler (Asthavent). He also listened to my chest with a stethoscope and said they were ' clear' , but sometimes when I cough I hear a ' raspy'  sound in my left lung. I did also go on a course of oral steroids for about 10 days. I should also mention that I live in an area that is known for its high pollen count and is also close to the fisheries... There' s also Milkwood trees growing nearby and I find that they can also trigger a reaction. But if the asthma was allergy-related, then surely I wouldn' t have a problem after exercise? Should I move somewhere with cleaner air? I just worry that maybe the bronchitis didn' t clear up completely.... Thanks!!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear Anne
If the phlegm you cough up is green or yellow there may still be infection and you may need some antibiotics. Asthma will cause tightness but with colourless sputum. Ask him if you could try something like Seretide - it is an inhaler which is a combination of a long acting bronchodilator and inhaled cortisone and one can use the lower dose one which would prevent these episodes. You also only need to use this every 12 hours which is much more "patient friendly".Asthma can be triggered by more than one factor - allergy, cold air, exercise and emotional upsets.
Dr Bets

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: SAC | 2009-02-26

Shame you really do sound like you are having a hard time. Im no doc, but i have has asthma my whole life. I have found a homeopathic remedy that really helps me. Sinus and Allergy formula by The Health Tones. available at most pharmacys. it might help you too. good luck

Reply to SAC

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