Now I know how Darth Vader feels.
July 27, 2014 4:47 AM   Subscribe

So it turns the constant respiratory infections I've had for years, the endless hacking coughs, what I thought was whooping cough resulting in broken ribs during my pregnancy and the constant, constant disgusting mucus has been misdiagnosed asthma all along. What now?

Yeah, I know, I should ask my doctor. And I have. Three doctors, five visits. Including an ER visit where I had a chest Xray which gave me the asthma diagnosis - after the other guys told me I had pneumonia/bronchitis/the flu. I don't, I have untreated asthma (thanks, every other doctor I've ever seen) which led to this chest infection I've had for two months. I've taken five courses of antibiotics which haven't touched the chest infection and now I'm dosing myself up on huge quantities of lemon, ginger and garlic which slowly seems to be working. I've been given steroids which did nothing, I've been given ventolin and symbicort which give temporary relief but that's not good enough, there has to be a better way to manage this than simply to throw drugs at me and tell me to keep an eye on it when I get a cold!

So, if you're asthmatic, how do you manage it? I've started researching this and I'm learning about the links between wheat/gluten, dairy and asthma. So starting from now I'm going cold turkey on these things and trying a paleo diet to see if this has any effect. I'll also be taking increased dose of fish oil and magnesium and vitamin D to see if that does anything. The Buteyko method of breathing has also come up. But basically, I'm really new to this so if you've found a way of dealing with asthma that doesn't involve wheezing and coughing your way through the day I'd love to hear it.
posted by Jubey to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wait, what? A chest X-Ray gave you an asthma diagnosis???

I have asthma, but I have triggers. Like exercise, sulphur preservatives, cold air and dust mites and cats (almost anaphylactic level). I can tell I have asthma because I get a terrible wheeze and can't breathe and I take salbutamol and it goes away, largely. This is obviously a terrible way to treat it... But that's what my asthma looks like. I take ventolin before running, I don't laugh too much if I'm drinking white wine and I farking avoid cats (and horses) like the plague. Oh yeah... and we have a Dyson.

My kids have had asthma and have had asthma attacks where salbutamol relieves their symptoms. Asthma can't give you a chest infection.... You need a respiratory physician if you've had such dreadful diagnoses. You're currently in Oz??
posted by taff at 5:01 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I sympathize... I started having asthma symptoms when I was 12 and despite many doctor's visits, didn't get appropriate treatment until I was 36!

Inhaled steroids do the trick for me; increasing the dose when I'm sick keeps things from getting really bad. You have the infection now which is making things suck, but once you're able to kick that, I suspect they will do the trick for you too. (Continue to take inhaled steroids now even if they don't seem like they're working;I'd bet they are reducing inflammation but can't fix everything.)

I have not found dietary changes/ supplements to help. Avoiding allergens does. I have also not found anything that is effective while I'm exercising; wheezing is gonna happen no matter what if I work out.
posted by metasarah at 5:06 AM on July 27, 2014

Whoops, sorry - to clarify, the ER visit confirmed I had asthma but the chest X-ray they did at the same time ruled out pneumonia, instead he said it was just a chest infection. I have been on steroids, prednisone, for two separate lots of 4 days but my GP doesn't want me on them again at this point. He's given me a referral for a chest specialist if this lot of antibiotics haven't worked, which is the case. I think it might help to see an allergist though to find out if I have any triggers. And yes, currently in Oz.
posted by Jubey at 5:29 AM on July 27, 2014

I treat my asthma by throwing drugs at it. I take one pill once a day, and have an inhaler that I use when I need to while exercising. (Generally I don't need it, but swimming, for some reason, always gives me an asthma attack). I realize it would be hard to trust doctors after they have misdiagnosed you for so long, but drug therapies for asthma can bring effective relief to a lot of people, and your doctor can tell you what is appropriate for your case.

It's a good idea to get tested for All The Allergens. Turns out I'm allergic to dust mites, so I have encasements on my mattress and pillows, and a special ritual for washing my bedding to keep the dust mite population down which helps a lot for my nasal symptoms. (It's harder to tell what affects my asthma because the drug treatment keeps that at an almost unnoticeable level.)
posted by BrashTech at 5:34 AM on July 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

IANAD, this is just what I've experienced as a patient with asthma.

On the infection front -- asthma doesn't give me infections, but bad chest colds can kick up the level of inflammation in my lungs and make the asthma much more of an issue than it normally is for me. (Antibiotics don't do anything for this type of inflammation for me, by the way, because it isn't actually an infection, just the inflammation residue left after the virus goes away. I have to go to steroids. Fortunately that's rare!)

Usually, for me, the asthma isn't an issue; I carry a rescue inhaler in case I run into one of my rare triggers, but otherwise, it's under control. (I also avoid allergens like crazy, but I'd be doing that regardless to help with hay fever.) Other people need regular meds to keep their asthma under control. (It sounds like if you do have asthma, it's currently not under control -- meds that don't work for you now may be more effective at prevention once the level of inflammation in your lungs is more controlled.)

The goal with modern medicine and asthma (at least here in the US) is to keep the asthma under regular control such that the rescue inhaler is only rarely needed (in fact, I have a number of inhaler uses per week over which I'm supposed to see my doctor), so I think you might find the pulmonologist very helpful. It sounds like everyone you've seen thus far has been a GP or emergency medicine doc? If so, you definitely need to start with a specialist.

On preview -- good! The specialist is definitely the place to start. And an allergist also sounds helpful, just make sure they use skin testing instead of the ELISA (blood test) which is highly non-reproducible for many people.

Also, if you go back on steroids, make sure you're using one of those dispersion tube thingies and they've showed you how to use it and how to inhale -- sounds stupid but it can really increase the delivery of the drug. And they should show you how to use a peak flow meter and track your lung function, which can help narrow down things that may be helping or hurting.
posted by pie ninja at 5:37 AM on July 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

If an inhaler isn't working for you now or once everything is under control, look at adding a nebuliser instead. A measured dose of steroid is put into a dispenser that is connected to a machine by tubing. Switch the machine on and the medicine is aresolized slightly, allowing you to inhale and exhale through another tube device or by using a face mask.

I don't know why that site is so down on nebs, I've had few issues. I use mine once a year or so if I've been exposed to major triggers or happened to have come down with a bad chest cold that exacerbated my breathing issues beyond what my daily maintenance medications can keep stable.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:15 AM on July 27, 2014

normal levels of vitamin D may help treatments last longer

There's a link between asthma and some autoimmune issues, such as celiac. So if there are autoimmune conditions in your family, it would be best to test for celiac before going entirely gluten free.

I just happened to be reading up on asthma for my niece, whose family has autoimmune issues.

You might find the Cooling Inflammation website interesting. He's interested in restoring the microbiome after antibiotic use.

good luck with your research
posted by egk at 6:48 AM on July 27, 2014

I have cough-variant asthma, which it sounds like maybe you have? I've taken Pulmicort every day since I was, I don't know, ten or eleven, though the dosage has varied (a lot) depending on time of year, where I'm living, etc. I also take a rescue inhaler as needed, which is a lot during allergy season and much less frequently the rest of the year. Because allergies are a big trigger for me, allergy shots have been incredibly useful in managing my asthma; I see an asthma/allergy specialist regularly and it's been great overall.

I got pneumonia several years in a row, so they gave me the pneumonia vaccination and since then I've only gotten it once. (Hooray?) Basically every cold I get turns into bronchitis, though, so I have to be really careful, especially since Pulmicort is a mild immunosuppressant. Also, my doctor tells me not to take cough suppressants basically ever.

Dietary changes have not been helpful, except that I know milk & ice cream make me cough and give me more to cough up, so I try to avoid them. Drugs definitely have been helpful, though you have to be pretty religious about it - my asthma is pretty well controlled now so from time to time I've let prescriptions lapse and I always regret it within a few days.

Be careful of going too far in the direction of dietary changes/breathing techniques. If your doctor recommends medication, take it. Not to be the cautionary tale girl, but my non-smoking mom didn't treat her asthma during various parts of her life, and then she was diagnosed with COPD at the age of 58. Obviously that doesn't always happen, but it can, and it's unpleasant.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:10 AM on July 27, 2014

Dietary allergies definitely give me son an asthma-type reaction. Eliminating those foods seems to keep the asthma from triggering. Dairy is his number one allergy, but doesn't cause the reaction. Peanut butter does, and perhaps tomatoes. Wheat/gluten is a good one to take a hard look at in your diet.
posted by vignettist at 7:32 AM on July 27, 2014

I've been given steroids which did nothing, I've been given ventolin and symbicort which give temporary relief but that's not good enough, there has to be a better way to manage this than simply to throw drugs at me and tell me to keep an eye on it when I get a cold!

In my experience, the steroids work, but it takes weeks/months. It's a long term management solution that reduces the number and severity of attacks, but does not stop them. It seems like it isn't working, but it does. I'd advise you to give it more time.

This is important, because treating asthma with a *buterol inhaler is a terrible way to deal with asthma long term. It's not very good for you.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:38 AM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sounds like we have similiar presentations, as well. My only addition to the info goodbyewaffles gave is that heartburn can cause reaction in my airways so I take Nexium as needed. My only other meds are Nasacort as needed for the allergies and I keep an albuteral inhaler, although I generally only need it if I'm sick or it's fire season. I've had pneumonia twice so if I feel an upper respiratory infection is lingering, I get in to my doctor.
posted by kattyann at 7:40 AM on July 27, 2014

I have cough variant asthma as well. Dietary changes did nothing for it. Allergy shots were helpful when I was a kid but disastrous when I was in my early 20s. I take Advair (combo of a steroid and a long acting B2 agonist) and have Ventolin for emergencies. I used to have a nebulizer (but left it in Korea like a dope) that I used regularly when in a flare. IMO, 4 days on an oral steroid isn't enough to do squat. I need at least a week. Once I was on for 8 weeks (and miserable every damn day of it) but it was what I needed.

I get my flu shot every single year. I also get the pneumonia vaccine per the CDC schedule (5 years if IRC).

Avoiding allergy triggers is key for me. Keeping stress under control helps as well.

In short, it has been a throw drugs at it thing for me with a healthy dose of environmental control as well.
posted by kathrynm at 8:12 AM on July 27, 2014

I look for my triggers and try to avoid them. For me, it's certain foods (a blood test can help you find what to avoid), certain outdoor allergens, and any chemicals.

Food: My reaction happens the next day so it can be tricky to figure out what I ate.
Outdoors: I started taking Singular so that I could walk more. Singular causes weight gain for me (not for most people, just me). So I'm one of the few people who actually gained weight by exercising.
Chemicals: All lysol products. Windex. Aerosol sprays. Carpet glue. Glade plug ins. All will send me into an asthmatic funk that can last weeks. So much fun to be me.

Action Plan- I avoid the foods that I know to avoid and am aware of any symptoms when I try a new food. I take Singular on an as needed basis. I clean my home with vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, comit (which I'm not allergic to!), bleach, and plain old water. I unplug plug ins whenever I see the little bastards. I ask people to not clean their homes right before I visit.

The main thing that I do, that helps the most is that I run a hepa filter in my bedroom. I keep my sheets clean and the room mostly tidy. This provides me with 8 hours, every night, to recover a bit from my day.
posted by myselfasme at 9:03 AM on July 27, 2014

Asthma triggers are different for everyone. What sets me off is probably way different than what sets you off. For instance, if someone walks by me with a dozen roses or wearing rose perfume, I'm down for the count until I can get to my rescue inhaler.

The dairy/gluten thing doesn't trigger me at all. But if I eat anything hot -- If someone sneaks peppers or chilis into my food (it's happened) -- I'll need to go for my rescue inhaler. I just avoid spicy food. And tomatoes. Tomatoes give me reflux which can lead to an asthma attack (check the connection between those too as well if you have GERD). But give paleo a shot. It might work for you. It did nothing for me at all breathing-wise.

I've had mixed results with steroids but as someone mentioned above, you have to take them for weeks, sometimes months, for them to take effect. Seriously, they're not quick acting. Some didn't work at all, but some worked pretty well. Unfortunately, the ones that worked had some rather spectacular side effects. I'm on Spiriva right now, and it's doing okay. I'm still not breathing to full capacity, but I'm better than I was before.

I guess what I'm saying is the best way (I've found) to control your asthma is to find your triggers and avoid them. If you can't do that, then throw meds at it until you can control it. Breathing is one of those things you just don't want to play around with.

BTW, you can have asthma AND respiratory infections... I've been battling my own upper respiratory infection since I moved to ABQ two years ago -- I've found out that I'm allergic to New Mexico -- with much the the same luck with meds that you mentioned in your post. I've had adult onset asthma since 1997. Having one doesn't preclude the other.
posted by patheral at 9:37 AM on July 27, 2014

I have had asthma for about 30 years. In NY it's just wheezy asthma induced by exercise, cold, and smoke. In CO I had cough-variant asthma on top of the wheezy asthma, but I was never able to nail down the trigger for the cough. 99% of the time, inhaled corticosteroids do the trick with the my wheezy asthma, but don't touch the cough variant. Because everyone's triggers are different, it's difficult to offer specific advice. For example, because I have cold induced asthma, I took a puff before I waited outside for the school bus in the winter and drank from a thermos of hot, strong coffee while I waited. (The steam, heat, and caffeine helped keep my breathing passages dilated.) The coffee was a suggestion from my pediatrician, who said that he would prefer that an 8 year old drink coffee and breathe than not drink coffee and not breathe. I also puff and drink coffee before exercise.

Asthma can be triggered by respiratory infections, food, medicine, smoke, weather, pollen, air pollution, pet dander, pests, mold, exercise, emotions, and strong odors. The best way to control asthma is find your triggers and avoid exposure or take medication before unavoidable exposure. I suspect (but am not a doctor, of course) that your asthma is an allergic reaction. You should see an allergist to help you nail down your triggers.
posted by xyzzy at 10:55 AM on July 27, 2014

I developed cough-variant asthma, and allergies (grass) as an adult. The asthma is inflammatory, and responds best to a steroid inhaler. It's triggered by cold air, and I live in Maine. I used to get bronchitis and the chronic cough after a cold, but when I stopped eating dairy, which causes digestive upset, my lungs got healthier and happier for a number of years. Until this winter, when it came back after a nasty flu bug. I ended driving across the country with bronchitis and developed pleurisy. A round of prednisone helped some, but what really fixed it was 1. staying home, resting, for several weeks, and 2. spring arrived. It's anecdata, but consider giving up dairy for several months, as it may be helpful. Breathing is better than ice cream. I had other autoimmune symptoms that improved, too.
posted by theora55 at 12:24 PM on July 27, 2014

Not only are triggers different for everyone, but successful treatments are too. The correct answer for you may be lurking in this thread, but unfortunately it's going to take some experimentation to find out what works best for you, and what your triggers are.

I was diagnosed with cough-variant asthma in my late 30s. Never had an issue before then. I have a preventative inhaler and a rescue inhaler. The first preventative I tried (Qvar) didn't work at all for me. The next one I tried (Asmanex) works pretty well. (Unfortunately, it's not generic yet, and it's expensive, but I bite the bullet because it's worth it.)

I don't use the preventative all the time anymore. I use it when I know that triggers are approaching. For me, that's cold, dry air; humidity (yes, I know those seem contradictory); and cold/flu season. If I get a cold, it will invariably go into my chest and I'll have an asthma flare-up for weeks, which I then have to treat either with steroids (LOATHE) or the rescue inhaler.

The short, five-day burst of prednisone hasn't really worked for me. It makes my symptoms better, but it doesn't alleviate them entirely, and I still am left with a few weeks of hacking and coughing. The two-week course works well, but I absolutely hate the other side effects. (Eat ALL the things!) Still, the steroids are really good at doing what they're supposed to do; it's just that they do a lot of things you don't want them to as well.

The basic truth here is that yes, you are going to have to learn to manage it, but it is a learning process. There is no one answer for you. Welcome to the world of experimentation.

While you do experiment and find out what works, make sure you keep the green-yellow-red rule in mind. In the beginning -- at least for me -- I didn't know how to tell when an asthma attack was impending. And the first one? Scared the shit out of me. I thought I was going to die. So pay attention to your symptoms, and if you creep into the yellow zone, be extra mindful and careful.

And finally, the asthma attack. It sounds like maybe you haven't had a full-on attack yet. Mine aren't as bad as other people's, but they're still really, really scary. What I've found helpful (besides scrambling for the rescue inhaler, which I try to keep nearby during trigger season) is:

1) Calm yourself mentally. Panic makes the symptoms of an asthma attack worse. When you realize you can't breathe, you try harder to breathe. And when you try harder to breathe and you still can't breathe, you are now in a full blown panic and that does not help at all. Just keep repeating to yourself that the medicine will help, and that Step 2 will help, and it's going to be okay, and what you need to do most is stay calm.

2) Shut your damn mouth and take deep breaths through your nose. It's still hard to inhale, but you can at least breathe in a bit, and every breath you manage slows the attack down.

Sorry you've received this diagnosis. It's not the end of the world. You have some work to do in terms of figuring out what's effective for you. But once you get there, it can be very manageable, and it's not something that will necessarily affect your life every day.

And by the way, I learned the hard way that one of my MAJOR triggers is rodent droppings. Just another potential elimination for you. If you've had mice or rats in the attic, and they're gone but their droppings aren't, it's something to consider.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:49 PM on July 27, 2014

This sounds more than a little like what I have: virally induced asthma. What it means is I only have asthma when I have a respiratory infection. However, this makes any cold or flu into a big deal, because the lack of oxygen makes me weak, which means the virus can get a better hold, which makes me weaker. These infections also often turn into bacterial infections over time. It was misdiagnosed as pneumonia the first couple of times it happened, up to and including the chest x-ray (with nothing in there) for the diagnosis of asthma.

What I'm actually trying to say is that you may not need asthma medicine on a constant basis, but only when you are sick with something else. When I'm sick (like now) I have to use an inhaler about every four hours. When the cold clears up, the asthma can last for weeks afterward. Depending on the cause and severity, I have also been put on steroids and antibiotics. Some of these respiratory infections will only react to certain antibiotics. The last bout I had, they resorted to sulfa drugs. Have they been trying different antibiotics, or the same one multiple times?
posted by Gneisskate at 12:54 PM on July 27, 2014

I'm not officially diagnosed because my doctors in recent history have generally been the sort to scoff a bit at the cough-variant asthma idea--and then prescribe me the inhalers anyway. I dunno. The right inhaler goes a long way. You have a health problem, lots of people have health problems that they take maintenance medication for. Keeping the inflammation down keeps it from getting bad again and for me, once it's fairly settled, I can often go a few months at a time between needing the inhaler. The Symbicort is not just something to take when it's bad, you really need to do it on an ongoing basis, ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all.

I have never noticed any perceptible link with any of the gluten nonsense. Dairy does make me a bit more mucus-y. I take N-acetylcysteine, a supplement which is said to possibly cut back on the mucus a bit, although I also take it for other reasons. I missed probably over a month of my senior year of high school over this, and now I jog with relatively few complications, so. Pneumonia is going to be a greater risk for you anyway when you've got more mucus going, so that's part of why it's important to keep your airway clear. "Bronchitis" is functionally just another word they end up using for the same thing, in my experience. The label's not been terribly important. My mom has the exact same symptoms I do and her doctor calls it asthma, my doctor calls it bronchitis.

I never leave the front door in cold weather without something to buffer my mouth and nose, cold air is a huge problem for me, but now that's just a standard part of my winter apparel choices. I guess I'm just saying: it seems like a lot to adapt to now, but you'll get used to it. My first round of Advair was in 2001, it was like a miracle, now it's no big deal. Sometimes I still feel like I'm dying when I get a chest cold, but mostly with appropriate management of my allergies (yay OTC Nasacort) and keeping an eye on it, I'm fine.
posted by Sequence at 12:57 PM on July 27, 2014

My life really changed when I was first given an Advair prescription. It takes time to work - give it time.

My insurance stopped covering it last year, so I tried Symbicort. Even though it's a generally similar drug combination strategy as Advair, they are NOT the same, which was obvious pretty soon. So - try different drugs, even if someone says 'they're the same thing' because they're not, and the details of the differences do matter.
posted by Dashy at 1:37 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Allergy testing. And I'll second the suggestion of using a peak flow meter. Have your doctor show you how to use it, then make up some graph paper and take readings several times a day for months. I'm not kidding. It sounds tedious but this process helped me pinpoint specific triggers, establish my own baseline, and it provides concrete evidence as to which treatments are working. Triggers are very individual, but the meter tells me whether a particular allergen has an effect on my breathing, and how much. Having a baseline is important, too-- according to population charts it should be X for someone of my age and gender but my best is X-20, which is significant for the doctor to know. (Always bring your own meter to the doctor's, different devices give different readings.) And it gives me peace of mind, because I have an objective way of knowing when a flare-up is "bad enough" to need a phone call: a specific number. Use the peak flow meter, it will help you figure out your own situation with real, solid data.
posted by epanalepsis at 2:48 PM on July 27, 2014

Uncontrolled asthma is life-threatening, please take your drugs.

I have been asthmatic all my life, diet has never had any effect on my asthma.

Since taking Seretide® (salmeterol and fluticasone, preventer and steroid: purple inhaler) my asthma has been under control - sudden unexpected exertion no longer has me reaching for my ventolin inhaler.

It's also worth taking an anti-histamine when exposed to cats or pollen.
posted by glasseyes at 3:20 PM on July 27, 2014

Stress is very triggering for asthma, as is the fear of an attack. Please take your drugs.
posted by glasseyes at 3:27 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

You probably did have pneumonia/bronchitis/the flu those other times, but a lot of people with mild asthma only get symptoms when they have a respiratory infection, and then they just get really knocked down with the infection. To be fair, the hallmark of asthma is wheezing, some people who don't have asthma get a little wheeze with bronchitis/URIs, and if you have a cough-variant asthma (i.e. you're not always wheezing when you see the doctor, sometimes just coughing) it could be pretty difficult to diagnose. Your pulmonologist may do testing called pulmonary function tests to help establish a diagnosis.

Just seconding a few of what I think are the most salient points made by the helpful posters above:
- The key is to prevent yourself from getting to the point where you need the rescue inhaler (or steroids) in the first place, as much as you can. Some people can do that by trigger avoidance or lifestyle modification, other people need maintenance medications, used daily, for prevention. This is sort of the foundation of that red-yellow-green plan that was noted above. I'm not sure if it's used in countries outside the USA, but I think it's a helpful way to think about asthma in general.
- A peak flow meter can also be very helpful in monitoring how you're doing with your breathing (and help to follow a red-yellow-green type plan). I'd strongly second (or nth!) that suggestion.
- If you need the meds, use them. I am pretty sure you're not saying you're only trying to treat your asthma with alternative therapies and not with prescribed medications, but just in case, I definitely agree with the posters who emphasized this point, because I have seen some *extremely* ill young people who tried to avoid taking their asthma meds (trying to tough it out, running out of scripts and not getting refills due to lack of insurance, etc) and either nearly died, or actually died. Seeing a young, otherwise healthy person die these days is a pretty sobering testament to the power of asthma.
- Although some people swear by the nebulizer, it technically should work approximately equally to the regular inhaler - it's just that an inhaler does require a little bit of technical skill to use, otherwise the medication ends up on the back of your throat rather than in your lungs. For people with more severe asthma exacerbations I do always use the neb because you can run nebs back to back or continuously (in the ER).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:45 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 for Dashy. I agree that as soon as I got Advair, I pretty much stopped worrying about asthma. It is quite expensive without insurance, so make sure that you're covered first.
posted by montag2k at 8:33 AM on July 28, 2014

Hi, I just thought I'd post a follow up and let you know how it's progressing. I got blood tested for your standard allergies (pollen, animal hair, dust, mould) and I'm in the clear, but that was all they tested for.

Anyway, the asthma has mostly gone and the chest infection comes and goes but the interesting (or really really sucky thing) about it is that I'm fairly sure it's a histamine response to either milk or wheat or both. I've gone off wheat and dairy just on a hunch and it has slowly gotten better but on the odd occasion I've had tiny amount of milk (I accidentally crumbed lamb cups in milk, the day before yesterday, totally forgetting) and it all came back again. Within minutes I was coughing, wheezing, mucus, the works. For the whole day. This was very recent so I've yet to see a doctor. If anyone would like to weigh in, do they think it's an allergic response because that's where my head is at.

I've googled lactose and gluten intolerance and that doesn't seem accurate but lactose and gluten allergy certainly does match. It would explain why I've had this so called chest infection for months while was still munching away on bread, lattes, icecream etc and not getting better.

So if there's an allergy test for this (Is there? And can a regular doctor do it?) I will get it done, in the meantime no wheat or dairy for me. Fun fact, my sister can't have any dairy without getting major sinus headaches and my mum and other sister both get very congested with milk so it looks like a family trait.

Thanks again for all your responses and to those concerned that I was not taking my drugs, I most definitely am, I like breathing! I was just hoping there was an additional lifestyle change I could make to manage it. Unfortunately it may involve cutting out major food groups. If anyone has experience with a dairy or wheat allergy I would love to hear it, it may end up being relevant.
posted by Jubey at 5:44 PM on August 26, 2014

Sorry - a correction - that should be I crumbed lamb chops in milk, with breadcrumbs. So that's gluten and dairy all in one dish. Sigh.
posted by Jubey at 6:12 PM on August 26, 2014

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