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Asthma attacks

See someone if you think you have ashma

I am 15 and I recently found out that I have asthma. I was in an English class and I was suddenly finding it really hard to breath. My friend who is asthmatic herself noticed and asked me if I was ok, it felt as if someone was sitting on my chest and my breath was coming in gasps. I didn't really know what to do and the whole class was staring at me, my friend took me out of the room and I used her inhaler to calm myself down. It is not a good idea to use someone else's inhaler and now I have my own. My advice to anyone who thinks they may have asthma is that you should go and see someone about it, not wait until something bad happens to you like that.

Rachel, Malvern, UK

I lost my daughter from an acute asthma attack

My beautiful daughter Jasmin, died of an acute asthma attack, aged 19 on 8th September this year (2009). She had been asthmatic since the age of 3yrs, but only suffered moderately with asthma throughout her life. I'm still in shock. I have brittle asthma and have to stay constantly on oral steroids amongst other medication. I think that's why it just won't sink in she's gone. To have had such a powerful attack, after being well all day and then suddenly having an asthma attack, which caused her heart to fail, is a living mothers nightmare. She was a fantastic daughter, my best friend. She looked after me when I had a bad attack and I always did the same for her. I feel lost and alone as nobody understands asthma like another sufferer and she was an amazing person I now have to live forever without.

Jacky, Dursley, UK

How I avoid serious asthma attacks without using an inhaler

Now aged 70, I have been an asthma sufferer virtually since birth, and have tried almost every treatment there ever was, starting off with the pump-action rubber bulb Silbe inhalers. Now, of course, I use the latest treatment i.e. a combination of steroid and bronchodilator inhalers. The steroid inhaler e.g. Symbicort, is used once or twice a day, and Ventolin or Salbutamol is used to provide more immediate relief at the onset of an attack. It is the bronchodilators that are most dangerous and more likely to be overused in a panic situation, which can cause severe headaches and have serious effects on the heart, sometimes resulting in death. Whilst the manufacturers may not be too pleased, here is a tip that for me has virtually eliminated the need for my Ventolin type inhalers. Whenever I become breathless and feel my chest tightening up, I simply sit astride a high backed chair, facing backwards with hands clasped together and my elbows and arms resting wide open across the back of the chair. For comfort, I put a cushion or pillow on the chair back on top of my clasped hands, and flop my head down on the pillow, and can stay there quite comfortably for quite some time. However I find that even after a few minutes, my breathing improves, to an extent that is just as effective as two or three frantic puffs on the inhaler.. Another idea is to sit on a stool behind a high back settee with arms resting on the back of the settee. I have used this method many times to stave off a serious attack, and on many occasions have nodded off in the process waking up feeling so much better.I can honestly say that this, and sleeping with open windows at night, has kept me free from serious attacks for many many years.

John, Leyland, UK