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Triggered asthma by cold and damp environment, painted home, had prickly feeling in chest, wheezing, blocked chest, cough, have anxiety. Paint the cause?

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My asthma has been flaring up for the past six or seven weeks. It started because I was living in a damp appartment, and I suffered prickly feelings in my chest, wheezing and a 'blocked' feeling when I breathe in. I also got a severe cough. I then moved out of the damp appartment and lived with a friend. During this time the prickly feelings and wheezing stopped, but I seemed to develop a cold-type virus. I moved into a new appartment three weeks ago, and noticed mould around the windows. The estate agent assured me this was due to condensation, and I have purchased a dehumidifor and been careful to keep windows open. However, about two weeks ago I covered some marks on the wall with paint that seemed old and 'separated'. Since then the prickly feelings and 'blocked' feeling has returned. I have painte din a couple of places since, and have also just realised that this could be the trigger for my asthma. My asthma is triggered by environmental factors, such as cold and damp, rather than by allergies. Do you think that the paint is the likely cause, or is it just likely to be the result of the previous damp situation and the virus, and will the symptoms gradually subside? I also suffer from anxiety, which I'm aware could be making the asthma worse, though chest discomfort is not one of my anxiety symtoms.
Posted Wed, 18 Apr 2012 in Asthma and Allergy
Answered by Dr. Gyanshankar Mishra 2 hours later

Thanks for your query.

After having read your history, you seem to be suffering from bronchial asthma. I suppose you have visited a Pulmonologist & have been investigated for Asthma prior to initiation of inhaled drugs.
You need to take the following precautions currently:
1. Avoid dusting /cleaning processes in house.
2. Get any mold /fungus from your house removed.
3. Do not yourself indulge in activities like painting of walls.
4. Since the paint has dried it is very less likely to be the cause of your symptoms at present.
5. Do not take undue stress and anxiety on yourself.
6. Monitor your peak flow rates with the help of a peak flow meter. The readings of peak flow meter will assure you of the condition of your asthma. Contact your Pulmonologist who will guide you regarding home peak flow measurements and adjustment of medications according to that in emergency situations.
7. You can get yourself vaccinated for influenza (annual flu shots) and pneumococcus (at 5 yearly intervals) to reduce the risk and severity of future chest infections which aggravate your symptoms. Contact your doctor for details.
8. Take your current medications regularly as per the instructions of your doctor.
9. Visit your Pulmonologist for add on therapy drugs (like Oral bronchodilators, systemic steroids, Leukotriene antagonists, etc.) if the symptoms do not control on current medications.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Triggered asthma by cold and damp environment, painted home, had prickly feeling in chest, wheezing, blocked chest, cough, have anxiety. Paint the cause? 19 hours later
Thank you, that is helpful. Regarding the mold, I have been tested in the past for allergies to mold and these were negative. Given this, is it likely that the mold is the cause of my symptoms?

Many thanks
Answered by Dr. Gyanshankar Mishra 2 hours later

Thanks for follow up.

Having tested negative in past for mold lessens the chances of mold being the trigger currently; however it is better to get rid of them as soon as possible since they have the potential to trigger an asthma attack.

Remember that mainstay of asthma treatment is allergen / trigger avoidance and inhaler medications.

I hope I have resolved your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Wish you good health.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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