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Can't breath after coughing (Page 1)

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2 weeks ago I got sick, about one week ago I started waking up coughing, then gasping for air. It makes this terrible whooping noise and it takes me about 30-60 seconds to get a full breath of air, then it slowly goes away. I went to the doctor and they said no pneumonia, i have perfect breathing, my lungs are clear, my throat is clear, they did a chest x-ray. They think it might be bronchitis, but they're not sure. The breathing attacks keep getting worse. If I can't get enough air next time will I pass out and start breathing fine again? What could this be? Could I die if I don't get enough air next attack? Could this be vocal cord dysfunction, (VCD)?
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First Helper Jenril04
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replied February 5th, 2011
I have same symptoms. Did you get a diagnosis?
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replied November 25th, 2011
I am also having the same issue. After coughing then I cannot take a breath. Feels like my throat is constricted and cannot bring in any air. and then when I relax it seems ok again (until the next cough)
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replied February 2nd, 2012
I have the same symptoms. i gulp air but it goes to my stomach. its terrifying. did anyone get a diagnosis?
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replied August 27th, 2012
Did you find out what it was?
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replied August 27th, 2012
Cough
Hi did you ever find out what was wrong?
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replied March 23rd, 2012
I have same - exactly. I believe this to be a mild epiglottitis due no doubt to some respiratory infection. Suggest this to your Dr as I will. Let's see what they say.

I have had it for 3 weeks. Been on antibiotics for the nast cough for a few days and main cough is almost gone, but slightest cough or even stretching my neck causes be to choke. Not woken at night choking for a few nights, so I hope it's on its way out.

If it is still happening after the weekend, I'll propose a mild epiglottitis and see what reception I get.
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replied July 7th, 2013
Did this ever get better? How?
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replied May 22nd, 2012
Whooping cough?
Sounds like could be whooping cough (pertussis)? Did the doctor do a blood test?
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replied September 14th, 2012
I also have these symptons, had a chest xray which is clear, coughing getting worse, had 4 lots of antibiotics and now steriods but no better. bringing up lots of yellow gunk.
Nights are scary as coughing to the point of stop breathing, can't lay down and now exhausted as over 2 weeks of this.
Any one any suggestions please.
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replied October 11th, 2012
I have the same. I had fever/cold symptom 3 weeks ago with really bad coughing fits in the 2nd and 3rd week. Now the coughing is not so frequent or bad, but my windpipe keeps closing up which is terrifying. An inhaler is no help during one of these episodes as have no air movement at all for 20seconds up to 1min. Dr thinks its probably whooping cough and has given me an inhaler and antibiotics. Waiting for blood test to confirm.
She said the breathing problem is my muscles seizing up due to the inflammation and effort in coughing. The solution is to use the inhaler before an attack, not always possible, and to relax. I had 2 attacks last night, the first lasted 2 mins in which I managed 3 tiny gasps. The 2nd I was expecting and didn't fight. I held my breath and tried to relax, then took slow breaths. It was difficult but it worked
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replied July 7th, 2013
Did u get this resolved?
How?
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replied June 6th, 2013
I have the same . do any of you have a pet ?
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replied July 7th, 2013
I have the same. What are doctors saying? I'm beside myself. Can't seem to fix this
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replied July 25th, 2013
Gasping
This has been happening tome for 2 weeks as well. I took biaxin for the original lung infection, then tried niquill thinking I might be blue to sleep through a night. I went to the hospital and was given hydrocodone mixture for pain relief and cough surpressant which didn't help either I went to a 3rd doctor and was told to try a nasal rinse at least twice a day and an allergy tablet. I'm still trying the nasal rinse but I can tell you the Claritin 24 hour hour tablet didn't work I was having one of the worst coughing gagging fits so far after 4 hours. After each medicine the attacks were worse than when taking nothing for it. Scared as hell. Wish I could find an answer and a remedy. Good luck everyone.
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replied July 28th, 2013
cough attacks
i have the same had a cough since june thought it was a cold took
cough n cold meds helped also took allergy meds and somwhat helped
now im getting cough attacks where im gasping for air but tonight was
bad i turned blue and scared my husband thought i was gonna pass out
just got back from ER said its allergies and gave me
a nasal spray and steriod for 5 days in the meantime ask what i
could do if another episode happens and they could answer me chest
xrays and lungs are clear too
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replied August 3rd, 2013
Coughing/gasping for air
I was diagnosed with GERD. I'm taking medicine to control acid reflux. I could not taste the acid until 3 weeks in to this cough. I seems to be helping so far. Gaviscon is helping
too. But it has only been 3 days so we'll see.
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replied August 24th, 2013
It started in late July for me. It began with usual cough/cold symptoms, so I began to take medicines to help it, and they seemed to be working until about the 3rd day of taking them. Over the next few days the cold symptoms went away, but the cough stayed. When it happens, I cannot inhale for 20-40 seconds and it get really scary. Sometimes when I'm sleeping, I wake up because of a scratchy throat and start coughing uncontrollably. It gets to the point that my chest begins to constrict and I start to puke violently. Cough drops and cough medicines only give me temporary relief. (by temporary I mean about an hour or less) As a 16 year old girl who doesn't smoke or drink or anything of the sort, this really scares me. Any suggestions?
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replied August 24th, 2013
you need to relax as much as possible
For me Half of the problem was stress from not being able to inhale. The best thing you can do is relax as much as possible and keep in mind that it won't kill you, you might get to the point of passing out. For me it is a spasm in the larynx. keep a bottle of water very near by and as soon as you feel like you need to cough drink. Even when you can't breathe you can still sip water. For me after being on Teva-Rabeprazole 10 mg for GERD the episodes are getting less frequent.
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replied September 4th, 2013
Had a terrible cough for a week, then in bed I coughed and couldn't breath I panicked like crazy and thought I was going to die, that's how I found this forum.

Next day I was thinking why I couldn't breath thinking the worst then it became obvious, basically I'm coughing up that much Flem that a large prepotion of it is blocking up my airways after coughing so I can''t breath. Next night I woke up again at 2am with a coughing fit and again i couldn't breath this time I stood up stayed as calm as I could and raised my arms above my head which caused my airways to unblock pretty quick compared to the night before.

I've now been to the Doctors who has prescribed me 10 days worth of Amoxicillin, I'll post back when I've run my course to report if it does the trick.
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replied October 8th, 2013
I have had a really bad cough for about 8 weeks now. No cold symptoms at all. I had Amoxicillin after week three which helped very little. Then I have had a stronger antibiotic two weeks ago. It is getting better but still after 8 weeks when I cough I cannot breath for around 20 to 40 seconds and usually end by retching. Chest X ray was clear and sputum test was OK. I have never had anything like this before and if it is Brochitis I certainly hope I never get it again. I just wonder how ling this is going to take. So good luck!
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replied October 27th, 2013
For about a week I've been having a cough that comes on and it feels like my throat has closed up. I can't force air in, it terrifies me. I have even gone on a run and it hasn't come on during my runs. It hits at the strangest times.

Unfortunately I woke up the other night coughing and could not get air in. This episode lasted so much longer this time that I literally felt like I was going to pass out. I ended up calling an ambulance. They did a cat scan, blood work and they were all clear.

Even when the doctor said I was having a panic attack and there is nothing wrong with me. I still felt in my throat like I just couldn't clear it.

Next day I got a stabbing, burning pain in the center of my chest. It stopped me in my tracks . It didn't subside until almost hour later. Then it hit again when I slept. I just had an episode and I'm terrified that I don't know really what is wrong with me. I will call a doctor tomorrow.
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replied October 31st, 2013
I am so glad I have found this page. I had a chest infection which cleared up a week ago but coughed a lot which left me with a really sore throat. I started waking up gasping for breath constantly so have been seriously sleep deprived. Then I started waking up choking, as other people have described, this happens EVERYTIME I fall asleep (usually after half an hour or sooner). Now everytime I cough I have the same choking / unable to breathe sensation. It feels like something is blocking my airway and sounds like whooping coughing and Im not really bringing anything up (some white mucous at best). I've just completed oral steroids and started a second course of antibiotics. Also on nasal steroids. Back of my throat on left hand side is so pail and breathing hurts it, yet alone swallowing. im trying to keep hydrated, gargling salt, inhaling steam and off to buy a humidifier to see if that helps.

GP originally thought it was Reflux and a post nasal drip, now possibly the lingering of some bacteria from chest infection.

If anyone has any answers I'd be very grateful. This is terrifying, Im not sleeping more than 2 hours in a day cant work, cant think straight and cant function.

Thanks
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replied October 31st, 2013
I am so glad I have found this page. I had a chest infection which cleared up a week ago but coughed a lot which left me with a really sore throat. I started waking up gasping for breath constantly so have been seriously sleep deprived. Then I started waking up choking, as other people have described, this happens EVERYTIME I fall asleep (usually after half an hour or sooner). Now everytime I cough I have the same choking / unable to breathe sensation. It feels like something is blocking my airway and sounds like whooping coughing and Im not really bringing anything up (some white mucous at best). I've just completed oral steroids and started a second course of antibiotics. Also on nasal steroids. Back of my throat on left hand side is so pail and breathing hurts it, yet alone swallowing. im trying to keep hydrated, gargling salt, inhaling steam and off to buy a humidifier to see if that helps.

GP originally thought it was Reflux and a post nasal drip, now possibly the lingering of some bacteria from chest infection.

If anyone has any answers I'd be very grateful. This is terrifying, Im not sleeping more than 2 hours in a day cant work, cant think straight and cant function.

Thanks
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replied November 2nd, 2013
I thought I would post a quick update.
I bought a warm air humidifier and this seems to have really helped. I have actually had some sleep which hasn't resulted in waking up choking. I am still waking up coughing but this is more manageable.
There have been some other things I have done (started at the same time as the humidifier) so I am not entirely sure which it is, though think it is the humidifier mainly.

I am currently prescribed antibiotics, proton pump inhibitor and nasal steroid. I am also following a Reflux diet. The other stuff I have started doing is:
Taking Ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation in my throat
Taking cocodamol for the pain
Using a saline nasal spray to help loosen the mucous
Using a sore throat spray to ease the pain in my throat
Taking Ranitidine on top of the PPI (I take the PPI in the morning and Ranitidine at night)
Steam Inhalation
Keeping my mouth closed as much as possible, as the cold air seems to irritate it (thankfully I can breathe through my nose).
Eating Werthers Originals (I was using sore throat sweets but I think the menthol was a bit harsh on my throat). Werthers seem to really make my mouth water and feel gentle.
I have a foam wedge to prop the mattress up.
I have also kept my heating on, as any cold air seems to really irritate me.

I dose up on meds before going to bed to make sure I have optimised conditions to sleep in.

So I am now not waking up choking, I am getting some sleep, interrupted by coughing / wetness at the back of my throat but that is such a vast improvement.

The humidifier makes the room feel very warm and slightly damp. It feels slightly stifling (I usually like a really cool room to sleep in) but it seems to have helped. I haven't used it during the day and have found that I start feeling dry and sore as the day goes on, so the humidifier seems to be doing something.

Coughing still leads to a lot of choking (but not every time now). I have learnt that holding my breath and making sure I pull my shoulders down and back helps open the airway to stop the choking developing. Clearing my throat constantly helps it not develop into a choking episode.

As an aside, when I was going to buy the humidifier I was driving with the hot air on full. This really gave me some relief, albeit on a very temporary basis.

Hopefully this post might help someone else get a bit of relief - this is the scariest illness I have ever had. Whilst Im not out of the woods / fully recovered I can actually feel some improvement.
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