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Forum Name: Asthma

Question: Are there steroids in the maskings at the emergency room?


 anodyne - Sat May 02, 2009 5:54 pm

I am a 48 year old female diagnosed with FM last year. I went to the emergency room on Saturday and was given a masking for shortness of breath and cough. It did not help my symptoms at all, I was also given antibiotics.The diagnosis at the hospital was bronchitis, perhaps pneumonia.
At the hospital my o2 level was 98% I know that is a good thing.

This is the third time in the past 4 months with the same symptoms. Flu like symptoms with a cough and a feeling of being short of breath. I had a pulmonary function test and it has come back fine.

I went back to my family doctor who prescribed a steroid inhaler, he feels I have cough asthma. I wonder if this will be effective since the masking at the hospital did nothing. I also have a great deal of anxiety when it comes to taking new medications since I tend to react badly to them. I am presently feeling short of breath and have a lot phlegm that I can't seem to cough up very easily.

Thank you.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu May 14, 2009 3:11 pm

User avatar Hi there --

First, by "masking" I am going to assume you mean nebulzier breathing treatment via face mask. Is that correct?

Although the ER diagnosis was bronchitis, perhaps pneumonia, this is a very vague diagnosis and I am wondering what tests were performed to arrive at it. It does sound as though you have asthma, which will predispose to bronchitis in some people, and a steroid inhaler may well help control this. A "rescue" inhaler of albuteral should also be prescribed with this, in case of breakthrough symptoms.

Your O2 saturation level of 98 was very good, but one can have asthma a long time and not be compromised in that way til later or during a severe episode, so it by no means rules out asthma. You mention having phlegm that's hard to bring up. A good way to help this along is by use of guaifenesin (Mucinex brand name) which will help liquify and loosen the gunk if it's there. The steroid inhaler will help reduce the inflammation that causes the whole problem. There is also an oral antihistimine, Singulair, which works especially well for many people with this sort of problem. You might ask your doctor about it.

Since this has flared up four three times in four months it could be a broncial infection perhaps facilitated by asthma. "Cough asthma" is simply a manifestation of asthma where cough is the early and predominate symptom instead of wheezing and chest tightness. It is often mistaken for a chest cold. Again, the meds discussed above should help with this.

I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck and please do follow up with us here as needed.

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