What does asthma feel like?

So today has not been a good day for my asthma. And as I was sitting on my couch doing nothing, I decided to start looking up pictures or graphics that could help people understand my asthma just a little bit better.

Not that people don’t get it. But some people just don’t get it.

Honestly, sometimes, I don’t get it. I mean I get what asthma is and I know that my smoking for several years didn’t help. In fact, I am convinced that it is what caused it. But whatever, what’s done is done. Nothing I can do about it now. I just know that I hate it and it sucks. And today is one of those days it sucks and I am down in the dumps about it and need to just get it off my chest. No pun intended!

Diverse Hands Holding The Word Asthma

First off, I never know when my asthma is going to act up. I never know if just my inhaler is going to help. I never know if I my nebulizer will be enough. And I never know if the prednisone I hate taking will do the trick either. Sometimes, all of it works. Sometimes, none of it works. Every asthma episode is different. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes, yes, running triggers it. Most of the time, however, IT DOES NOT! Sometimes, humid weather causes a flare up. Most of the time, colder, damp air causes it to rear its ugly head. Weather, I know for me, plays a HUGE role in my the number of attacks I get and the severity. (More on that later.)

Here’s how I would like to describe my current situation…in pictures:



Yes, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. Yes, my chest feels tight and like it’s on fire. And yes, my lungs are ANGRY. (A friend of mine described her lungs that way to me today and it was so absolutely fitting! Thanks, Tracie!)

If you noticed, I actually didn’t say I couldn’t breathe or that I was wheezing. Yes, there are plenty of times I can’t breathe or I can’t take a deep breath to save my soul, but not today. And yes, sometimes, I am extremely wheezy. Listen HERE if you want to know what it sounds like. But again, not today. I am actually breathing fine. Well, as long as I keep my lips tightly pursed shut and only take deep breaths through my nose. Seriously, as long as I don’t try to mouth breathe, which means no talking (oh, joy!), and only take long,  controlled and purposeful breaths through my nostrils, I am fine. No wheezing.

As I was doing some research, I came across the following and thought it was great. And, something everyone without asthma should try and do because then you would get an idea of what it’s like for those who have asthma. Not kidding.  Try it.


I know people wish they could change things for me, take my asthma away or wish there was some magical potion to make it all go away. But, unfortunately, there is not. I know what I have to do. There is nothing anyone can do. BUT……I so appreciate those who would do something and change it if they could. That’s what helps. And it helps just to be understood and not misunderstood. If that makes any sense.

So, over the course of the last couple of years, I have noticed ONE common denominator with my asthma…weather.


Yes, weather plays a major role in MY asthma. It may not for some people, but for me, it definitely wreaks havoc with my lungs and my breathing.


Here’s some things I found out from the Everyday Health website:

Certain weather conditions, from extreme heat to extreme cold and everything in between, can prompt an asthma attack. And change in weather patterns can also trigger an attack. Here’s an excerpt from the website.

“In people with asthma, the airways become hyper-reactive to allergens such as pollen and irritants such as perfumes,” says Stanley Fineman, MD, MBA, an allergist with the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic. He says that humidity, temperature changes and other weather conditions can also can also irritate the airways. 

“Temperature changes in the airways can cause inflammation in the airways as well,” said the doctor. “For most people, this is not a problem. The nose controls humidity without difficulty. But for people with allergies and asthma, who may breathe air through the mouth more often, irritants, pollutants and pollen are more of a factor.”

He said that because people with asthma already have inflamed airways, the more severe the asthma, the more likely the weather is to affect them. 

AHA! Makes total sense!

Some common weather triggers include cold air, wind and rain and believe it or not, lightning and thunderstorms and air pressure fluctuations. Barometric pressure triggers sinus episodes and sinusitis is a common trigger for asthma symptoms.

Well, now you AND I both know. Apparently it wasn’t just in my head. I actually knew what I was talking about when I told people that the change in weather always affects me. Sometimes, I’m smarter than you think. Sometimes. Lol!

Lastly, what exactly happens to my lungs and why can’t I breathe? I found a couple of really good pictures to show what happens. Take a peek:

Illustration showing the inflamation of the bronchus causing asthma

An image of an asthma-inflamed bronchial tube on a white background


So there you go, now you know. Even if you didn’t want to know.

Currently, I take a daily inhaler, use essential oils, carry and use my quick-acting inhaler whenever I need it, suck on the nebulizer from time to time and when all else fails, I resort to prednisone. Sometimes, it is THE ONLY thing that works. And sometimes, that doesn’t even help.

I will just keep doing what I am doing and try to get through these rough patches as best as I can. I do know one thing for certain and that is I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, not even my worst enemy!

the drugs


And lastly,



One thought on “What does asthma feel like?

  1. Celeste – I’m not a doc but I have found relief from my asthma through this “food elimination” diet (dairy free, corn free, soy free, and wheat free) for 6 weeks. On the 3rd day my asthma was better. I worked with my doctor and her nutritionist to add the foods back in one at a time. Guess what? For me, DAIRY had been the underlying cause of my asthma and seasonal allergies for 40 years! Also, JUST discovered that my ADVAIR inhaler has freakin’ dairy in it—can you believe this!! I only was using Advair when I got a cold my asthma would flare. Overall though, since eliminating dairy, my everyday asthma is 80% reduced. I only get it now if dairy slips into my diet (I get an asthma attack within a 3-4 hour window) or if I get a nasty chest cold. Doctors that are looking at food triggers might be found as “Integrative Medicine” doctors—there might be an association of that where you can look up a new doctor—OR just find a nutritionist that is savy with helping w/ the elmination diet. Good luck!


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