Posted by: BMJ | 2012/03/10

Asthma attack

Dear Doc

I had a frightning experience this moring. I am an asthmatic, but my asthma is well controlled. About 4 days ago I developed a cold. I have severely congested sinuses with sinus pain and sinus headache. My ears are very blocked and painful as well. I have been treating my symptoms with Sudafed in the daytime and Illiadin at night. I have also used a neti pot 3 times a day to rinse my sinusses with salt water. I am drinking extra fluids.

Today I was in the shop and within seconds I could not breathe at all. I went into a coughing fit and could not stop. I panicked because I just could not breathe at all. I got very sweaty and it felt like my eyes were popping out my head. I cant describe the absolute panic. I had my reliever pump with me which I used and about 3 min later I was able to get some air in. The epsiode lasted about 10minutes. When I got home I went to lay down.. I can breathe now, but my chest still feels very ''edgy'' -almost irritated.

Was that an asthma attack or what was it? I have had astha attack before but not as sudden and as severe. What do you recommend I do? Wait till monday to see a doc or see one after hours?

My peak flow is still within acceptable levels - 350.
I am 39, female

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Our expert says:
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You definately had an asthma attack and I do suggest that you consult a doctor, as it is possible that you might need a course of antibiotics. You are at risk of developing a lower respiratory tract infection and this has to be treated as soon as possible.


Dr Anrich

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