asthma flares every time I get a cold or flu

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/13/2006 8:44 PM (GMT -6)   
I was wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom for me. Three years ago I had an asthma attack that was bad enough for Emergency Room treatment (just nebulizer and mega steroids). Completely stabilized for years, and then whamo, it happened again after a bad cold 6 months ago. Again, same treatment. I asked my doctor if there was anything I could do BEFORE I got really bad if I had another cold. He suggested doubling meds (Pullmacourt) if/when I started getting symptoms. Well, I just had a nasty flu (I'm a college professor so contact with people is a must!), doubled my meds at the start of it, took out and used my trusty nebulizer, but unfortunately I'm wheezing/coughing up a storm again. I feel like I'm headed back to the dr's., and I'm frustrated! Any words of wisdom??? sad

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 3/14/2006 12:19 PM (GMT -6)   
First of all, you may want to get back to the doctors anyway just to be on the safe side. Do you use a daily ashtma control medication such as Singulair or Advair? Also too, do you make sure you get a flu shot every year? The flu can do a number on your respitory system and numerous people are hospitalized each year due to breathing complications of the flu.

Sorry I can't offer much more "wisdom" on this but hopefully someone soon will come along to help you. And BTW, welcome to Healingwell!
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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 3/14/2006 12:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sherry, Thanks for the reply. I did see my dr. today, and we're back to steroids which I'll taper over the next two weeks. I use Pulmacourt twice daily as control med. Unfortunately my system seems delicate - albuterol sends my heart racing, so I try to use it sparingly. Advair also affects my heart rhythm. They have a new medication for the nebulizer that my dr. claims doesn't increase heart rate as much. So I'm going to try that this time. And yes, I did get a flu shot, which I truly believe helped me stave off lots of illness this year. Since I'm around 7,000 undergrads all the time I'm used to being "exposed" - I'm only now starting to appreciate those neurotic souls who open bathroom doors with paper towels! :-) I'm thinking of hanging a sign up inon my office door that says something like "no really, you don't have to SHOW me you are sicker than a dog - just e-mail me, I'll believe you - please take the test next week!"


New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/17/2006 2:52 AM (GMT -6)   
I understand your frustration this happens to me every time I get the slightest cold. I usually end up admitted to the hospital. I work in an office with about 200 people and I am the support person for most of them. When I return to work after this current bout I am sending out an email asking people who are sick to call me before comming to my desk I will then take percautions so that I am not exposed. Maybe a mask and gloves and some antiseptic. This may sound as if I'm a nut but it has caused me to be off work for at least 9 months in the last 3 years I have to do some thing. If any one has any other suggestions please let me know? I am on all the asthma meds and am under constant supervision by my MD and by a respirologist but they seem to be stumped as to what to do next. 

Post Edited (kld) : 3/17/2006 12:55:49 AM (GMT-7)

mrs mac
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 163
   Posted 3/17/2006 7:46 PM (GMT -6)   
hi ellyn, welcome to healing well!!

you could maybe talk to your doc about keeping some spare steroids at home, so you can start taking them as soon as you feel yourself going down hill, and also ask him/her to help you make an asthma plan ( that way you will know exactly what you can do for yourself and hopefully save yourself a trip to the ER!!)

hope you get it sorted

sandra xxx

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 4/25/2006 1:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ellyn, I have Asthma too and it too acts up when I catch a cold or the flu. That is basically the only time it acts up on me other then this year with the high pollen counts in Northern New Mexico where I live. When I start to feel that I don't feel well, I start my inhaler immediatley and start taking my neb treatment. That usually helps me. I don't have it as severe that I need to take steroids or maintenance meds. I did about 10 years ago and for whatever reason, I've done great. I just watch my daily activities. I have noticed that since I've gained about 15 pounds over the last three years, it will act up. I don't know if my weight has something to do with it. Probably so. Try taking the flu shot when it is first available and take your meds around cold season even if you're feeling okay. Like right now, I take my inhaler about 4 times a day until this pollen count goes away. Hopefully I'll do better. Take care and good luck.
*Hugs, Thoughts, and Prayers*
   *Shel in New Mexico, USA*

New Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/1/2006 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Ellyn, that's pretty typical for chronic moderate to severe asthmatics. I also had no asthma for years then WHAM! back with a vengeance. I see you're on Pulmicort, take a look at my posting about Xolair for asthma, it's helped me quite a bit.

Also, Xopenex, which is a fairly new bronchodilator is out and approved. It was recently added to the Paramedic protocol for all Medic services in the state of NH. The drawback is that it's only available as a nebulizer treatment right now. The beauty of it is that there are NO cardiac side effects and, in fact, right now the FDA only recommends it for asthmatics who have cardiac side effects from albuterol. The medics at our fire department love this drug because they can use it on an asthma patient who is no longer responding to their albuterol (been there, done that, got the hospital stay) and the patient will still get relief and with no cardiac event which can be deadly depending on age, condition, fatigue, etc of the patient.

Funny, probably more than ten years ago I read a little tiny article about Sepracor and it talked about the company's mission to strip the molecules from drugs that caused bad side effects, specifically albuterol. I couldn't believe what I was reading because asthma treatment seemed to have stagnated with the advent of steroidal inhalers. Here we are and now there is such a drug and from that company. Wish I'd bought stock back then, LOL!

Also do some reading up on adding nutritional supplementation to your diet, extra vitamin C, bromelain, quercetin, anti-inflammatory type nutrition. Check in with a naturopathic doctor or herbalist for some guidance, you may find that's helpful, too.

New Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/2/2006 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   

Just a note to KLD first:   I would ask people to call if they are sick and keep a supply of masks outside or right inside your space. Hand *them* a mask until they get the idea.  When I've had a cold and had to visit someone in the hospital, I ask the nurses for a mask.  Putting a mask on the contagious person is reasonable to me.  How about staying home when you're sick and not infecting anyone else?  Now there's a novel idea!  I can't tell you how often colds go around the dispatch crew because someone comes to work sick and we all use the same phone.  Finally I got some alcohol wipes from the medic and put them in dispatch so anyone sick could swab the phone at the end of their shift!!  Our society is so insensitive to infecting others...if you look at video from Japan where the population is very dense you will see people wearing masks in public because they have the sense to know they are contagious and the courtesy not to want to infect anyone else.  This is not weird, IMO, it's just good sense! 

A note to asthmatics:  Asthma is considered an immune system type disease because it has the component of histamine(inflammation) response that is out of control.  Supporting your immune system, or rebuilding it after years of taking asthma meds and perhaps limiting your exercise, is very important.  I highly recommend finding a naturopathic doctor or herbalist or being smart about your own research to find nutritional options for supporting your immune system.  One of the things I do every night is drink a cup of echinacea and ginger tea.  Now, echinacea is a weed so you might be allergic to it, be careful if you try it. But echinacea supports your immune system and ginger is anti-inflammatory, warming, and helps with circulation and breaking up congestion.

I've also had a naturopathic doctor recommend I take bromelain, which is an enzyme found in papaya and pineapple that breaks down dead protein and so is anti-inflammatory and may help with moving out congestion from the lungs.  Quercetin and vitamin C have also been recommended to me.  Turmeric as well, also anti-inflammatory.  Do your homework before you jump into taking these, though and don't take them all at once! 

Make sure you drink enough water.  Eight 8oz glasses may not be enough.  I recently read a revised intake of 1oz per two pounds of body weight.  Tough to do but give it a try.  If you're asthmatic you run the risk of being dehydrated because if you're having a good wheeze you're losing moisture through your breathing.  You also may be wheezing because you're dehydrated and can't move out the "junk" in your lungs.

Also, if you're female, take the time to read a book called, "Heart Health for Women."  I'll look up the author, he's a cardiologist from CT.  He talks about case studies of women from his practice and his recommendations for nutritional supplements for heart health.  He recommends magnesium, CoQ10, and EFAs (essential fatty acids) as primary.  Interestingly enough I started having chest pain about ten years ago that was not related to exercise.  And my doc couldn't find anything wrong.  I'm a lifelong asthmatic.  I came across a reference website that showed what nutrients your asthma inhalers leach out of your system.  Magnesium is one of them, and albuterol is the culprit.  I'd been using albuterol at that point for ten years!  I added a good multivitamin from the health food store formulated for women along with CoQ10 and the chest pain stopped.  This is just to illustrate the point that nutrition along with your meds is very important.

And I'll leave you with a quote from my doctor, he said this when I was theophylline toxic--remember those days?  Theophylline tablets and albuterol, that was the treatment for chronic asthma and if you went toxic, talk about a cardiac event!   He said, "Some poisons are medications and all medications are poison."

Tread carefully with nutritional supplements AND with your meds!

Good luck and good health to all.




Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 8/31/2006 9:09 AM (GMT -6)   
doubling meds is good but also take antihistamine such as loratadine wich u can get otc .it shouldnt make you drows either
b blonde b happy

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 9/5/2006 2:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Xopenex is in an inhaler form. I got mine from Kroger Pharmacy. Ask you Doctor about this ASAP. smurf

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/6/2006 6:41 AM (GMT -6)   
this is just a suggestion and may not be suitable for you but would trying a dose of antibiotics help if the cold spreads to your chest???? I always do that when I get a cough/cold (for other reasons as well that's why i do not know if this would be best for you)....just trying to think of suggestions

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 421
   Posted 9/7/2006 8:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there...I usually post on the fibro board but stop i here now and then because my son has asthma. He NEVER gets an astma flare unless he has a nasty cold etc. Unfortunaly, not much can be done about it.He is in 3rd grade and misses aolt of school during the winter months because of all the viruses going around.I am a HUGE supporter of the stay home if your sick club. But, people insist on sending their kids to school sick...It gets to me....Anyway, the only thing I can do when my son starts to get a virus is double his flovent and hope and pray...he was on advair, and singulair...both meds were stopped The singulair made him worse!!..Apparently he devoped the side effects of URI's sore throat and all...So that went out the door....He now takes claritin and actually does better on that...Now, if only people would keep their sick kids home maybe we can aoid the serious problems...Hope you find something to work for you soon....
DX'd with Fibromyalgia in 2004...Seasonal Affective Dirorder, Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in 1994...Thats Enough...LOL

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 9/7/2006 9:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Shellyg, I agree with you. my daughter gets allergies in December and January and the Doctor sends her right back to school. If a child has no fever apparently they go right back to school, problem with that one is my daughter has a heart condition and we have to worry about Strep Throat because that could go down to her heart and be more dangerous for my child. The worry from this sometimes gets my asthma triggered. If some of those moms who don't care if their child has Strep Throat could walk a mile in my shoes. One day at a time, right! confused

Joan M
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2052
   Posted 9/8/2006 9:52 AM (GMT -6)   
My best advise is to drink water. This allows the phlemn to get out of your system easily. If your mucous is yellow or green and coming out in clumps, you are infected. It is a secondary infection. Make sure you see a doctor or get antibiotics. Make sure you get a flu shot every year.

Water can be herbal hot teas too. I drink hot chocolate sometimes.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/11/2006 10:42 PM (GMT -6)   
My daughter is on several meds, but every time we got the flu or even a cold she's very ill. While her brother will miss one day of school, she'll end up missing a week.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/28/2012 12:41 PM (GMT -6)   
I have never been diagnosed with asthma, though my children and grandchildren have been.

A few years ago I had some type of cold or infection and I couldn't breath. I went to the emergency room and was given an inhaler. I thought it was a one time thing and almost threw the inhaler away. I'm so glad I didn't because it happened again months later.

Last night I was up all night, unable to breath. Thank God I was able to locate the inhaler I was given 3 years ago (I recently moved and everything is still in boxes.) After using it, I was able to sleep for a few hours but woke up again unable to breath within 4 hours. I used it again and was able to fall in and out of sleep.

My question; can having a cold cause an asthma attach? I didn't know I had asthma. I don't know how long these inhalers are good for but so grateful I saved the one I have.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/31/2012 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear lizziebluts...yes, you can develop asthma after a severe infection. This happened to me after a bout with bronchitis in 1999...I've been on Flovent and Albuterol inhalers ever since. I also add in Prednisone tablets during flares..I start with 40 mg and titre down by 5mg each day. Acid reflux can also affect breathing as it aspirates into the lungs and can aggravate asthma (another issue that I have) so if you're also dealing with this it may be something to consider.

Thank goodness you kept the experience is that they're still good for a while after the expiration date. Please see your dr. ASAP so they can make a diagnosis and get you on a maintenance program.

Good luck!
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