My dad has been having these episodes where every time he coughs he starts gagging and gasping for air and he spits out sticky flem. He can't breathe until he takes a sip of water but sometimes it is not enough. What can I do to help him breathe? At the hospital, doctors told him he has acute bronchitis but we all think there is more to it.
Did they give him anything for the bronchitis? Is it making him better? Did they give him an inhaler, too, or just some antibiotics?
You didn't say if this was a recent symptom or if he has been having this for a while. How long has this been going on? Did they do any tests at the hospital? Like a chest x-ray? Did they find anything on the x-ray? Did they rule out pneumonia and anything else more serious?
Does he have asthma? If so, is it managed? Does he smoke or has he ever smoked? Has he ever worked around chemicals or in an industrial environment?
At the hospital they didn't do any exams, they went by his symptoms. And he has been having these symptoms for about a month but he has had these episodes for maybe a year. And yes, he is a home improvement contractor and he has inhaled harsh chemicals for years, and last year he was given an inhaler but not diagnosed with asthma. The antibiotics he was given at the hospital were not helpful but what worries me the most is what I can do when he can't catch his breath
If this has been going on for a year on and off, he probably should see a lung specialist and see what is going on. He might need some kind of long-term medication to keep this under control. If the inhaler they gave him isn't working (if he's using it), it might not be the right one for him.
The problem with the hospital is that you don't really get follow-up care. That's what he needs, a doctor to do tests, give him medication, track his progress, and change treatment, if necessary. Encourage him to get referred to a lung specialist.