Hi in need of some understanding support. I have had a very bad bout of chest infections each winter which can last for 14 weeks plus the last one ended in feb this year, I take numerouse amounts of antibiotics and oral steriods. I am normaly fit and well the rest of the year, I saw chest con on Tues and felt much more reasured etc (was fit and well when I saw her) Fri I started with sore throat Sun saw out of hours gp for steroids today antibiotics. I am feeling really fed up and generaly unwell. I use ventolin and seretide inhalors and montellukast tablet at night time. I have a busy life as a foster carer and am physicaly unable to manage my children when I am so unwell and my asthma not under control. any advice appreciated. regards lainie

15 Replies

  • well tonight i am feeling quite tired from coughing and bringing up lots of green sputum my gp has sent it away to try to get to the bottom of reacurrent infections. I am not a very good paitent because when I am well I dont use my inhalors usually during the summer. I only told the con on Tues that I dont get sick in the summer and here we are a week later and I am stuck in the house short of breath etc etc I feel very alone ;(

  • today I am tired and in bed I have a lot of acid reflux and I had no idea until coming here it could have any thing to do with asthma. I have been up to do some small chores but get out of breath easily so am resting again. I am 48 years old and feel like an old women Ive never smoked in my life ad I feel like I smoke 40 a day :( I am very low today steroids are helping but the infection does not seem to be getting less yet. I am worried this is going to go on all summer now :(

  • Hi lainie

    Sorry to hear you are having a tough time at the moment.

    Keep persevering with your GP and keep an asthma diary so you have something to show when you go back.

    Take care


  • Hi lainie,

    Welcome to Asthma UK - I hope you'll find us a good source of information and support. I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling so much with asthma and infections, I'm not surprised you're feeling lonely and dispirited.

    Firstly, a brief word of warning - if you have read around the site, you've probably seen me say this to others, but it bears repeating. These boards inevitably attract a disproportionate number of asthmatics who are at the severe end of the spectrum and have uncontrolled disease. You might read accounts of poor control, multiple medications, frequent hospital admissions, and even Intensive Care admissions. Such things, while unfortunately common on this board, are rare in asthma in general. The vast majority of people with asthma can be completely or almost completely controlled, with minimal or no interferance with day-to-day life, once the right combination of medication is found. Asthma should be taken seriously - in the worst cases, it can be fatal - but for most people, it does not have to rule or ruin your life.

    It's important to say that, because a lot of people on here are struggling with very severe disease, and it would be easy to get the impression from reading these boards that you have to put up with a certain level of symptoms. This is not necessarily the case. From what you've said, you're not on the maximum possible medication, so there is still plenty of room for improvement. Please do keep going back to your GP or chest cons and asking what more can be done.

    As you've noticed from reading here, there is a link between asthma and reflux, with reflux potentially making asthma worse, and meds for asthma potentially making reflux worse. Have you had your reflux investigated or treated? The Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medications (lansoprazole, omeprazole etc) are very effective at eliminating reflux - far more effective than over the counter medications like antacids and Gaviscon - and are usually very safe and well tolerated with few side effects. It really is worth talking to your GP about this - some people find it makes a huge difference to their asthma control. There are tests that can be done for reflux, but they are all quite invasive, and many doctors prefer a trial of treatment to see if it works rather than doing lots of tests.

    There are lots of causes for recurrent chest infections, too. Have you been investigated to see why you are getting these infections so frequently? Basic tests would include a CT scan to look for bronchiectasis - thickening and scarring of the airways which predisposes to infection - and blood tests to look at your antibody levels to see if your immune system is working hard enough to fight off infection. These things have slightly different treatments to asthma, so it is important to try to discover if these are factors. If you haven't had these tests, it's worth raising the issue with your chest cons.

    The sputum culture should hopefully help them to try to work out what bugs are causing your recurrent infections, although if you had had some antibiotics before you gave the sample it may not grow anything. Sometimes the type of bug grown can give an idea of whether there is underlying lung disease like bronchiectasis. If they do manage to grow a bug from your sputum, this will also help them to know what antibiotic is most appropriate to treat you.

    Hope this helps a bit; as I say, do keep going back and asking what more can be done. You will have to be persistant, but hopefully you will get somewhere and get better control as a result.

    Take care,

    Em H

  • Thank you for replying Em, I am hoping to speak with my GP tomorrow about sputum and will mention the acid reflux I have had meds for it before. I had lots of bloods done back in Oct which showed very high white counts 21 I think and they took untill Feb to come back down to normal, I got no explanation as to why I did not fight the infection con and GP said its a mystery. I had lung function done in Feb and it showed normal lung functon no underlying illness. My peak flow at best is 420 and is currently 300 and drops slightly if I do anything e.g fill washing machine empty dshwasher etc. If I rest dont talk dont move about I am coping being at home. no life really. What is so depressing is how many weeks/months it goes on for and no one seems to understand the extent of the inpact on my family as well as me. I have no temp just yet but am hot/clammy chills and generally feel rundown tired etc which has literaly come on over night last fri/sat sun. I am havng headaches as well which is the same as last time and coughing day and night which is productive not dry. My GP said at the last bout I dont know what is going on Con said they would have a low threshold for taking me in this time if after a few weeks I dont get better, my GP seemed quite surprised at this she was a junior con not the top man ""sigh"" fed up regards elaine

  • Hi just a quick update. I cant sleep due to cough and acid reflux. I no longer have a temp but have sweats. I am still coughing up green yuk and my throat is still sore. I have quite alot of nasal back drop so I dont think that is helping at all. My GP did not phone friday so hopefully it will be monday. My family are fairly fed up of me being ill so ive spent some of yeserday now looking at the time crying due to them snapping at me. I hate feeling like this but am aware I am not as ill as many of you other fello asthmatics :( I really appreciate your support as its always been such a long lonely road and I really dont want this to go on for as long as my last bout Oct through to feb. I have arranged for my mother in law to fly here today for 2 weeks to help with the children. My peak flow has increased to 340 it was 310 can normaly get 420 so I know I am not great but better than I was. ( this am 300) bad night sleep Regards to you all from elaine

  • Update, I spoke with my GP this morning, I was given more prednisolone and more antibiotics plus he has given me some omeprazole to help with acid reflux he says sputom results did not grow anything but feels I must still have bugs flying around as I am still so unwell. I will go back to see him week tomorrow Tuesday. I have spent most of the day sleeping this evening I have a very upset stomach, fed up of feeling unwell regards from elaine

  • Hi Elaine,

    Sorry to hear that you're still struggling and that it's causing problems with your family. I hope the steroids, antibiotics and omeprazole make some difference to you soon. Do keep persisting going back to your doctor if your symptoms aren't resolving, won't you?

    Take care

    Em H

  • Hi Em I will keep going back my GP did sound more sympathetic yesterday all be it on the phone as I was unable to get an appointment but he made one for me for next tues. I think I have got so used to it dragging on that I dont rush back to the dr any more. I was starting to feel qiite guilty last winter and the winter before for going back each week and saying no I am not better :( I threw up big style last evening and had a very upset stomach so I am woundering if its the bodies way of getting shut of the infection? I am going to try to rest as much as I can today whilst the kids are in school. I found it very difficult when they were home noise etc Take care from elaine

  • the last two days I am short of breath when eating my evening meal this is new I get short of breath at the moment with doing anything even talking but this is new to be short of breath when eating?

  • Hi Elaine,

    If you are short of breath on eating and on talking, it sounds like you are really quite unwell. Please seek urgent medical advice from your out-of-hours GP service, NHS Direct or by dialling 999.

    We can't really advise you further on the boards when you are obviously pretty unwell - it's not safe for us to give you emergency medical advice when we can't see you to assess you properly or have access to your medical records. These boards are really for general advice and discussion, not for advice when you are acutely unwell.

    Hope this makes sense - please do get yourself sorted.

    Em H

  • Hi Em sorry if I caused concern. I spoke with the asthma helpline earlier in the day yesterday and she advised useing my ventolin to relieve symptoms and get medical advice if they did not subside. Once I was sitting calm they did subside and today I am slightly bettter still coughing and short of breath but OK if I am quiet. I will speak to out of hours of I get worse I suppose I am hanging on to see if this settles wit the antibiotics steroids. The one thing help line did sugest is a higher dose of steroids, my GP is resistant to this idea. I had 30mg daily last week and this week he felt that 20mg would be enough. I had a visitor from a friend who has sugested I speak with my con secretary and get his advice. I do appreciate the support here and will post accordingly. Regards Elaine

  • update

    Hi I thought I would write a short update. I really appreciate everyones thoughts etc. I was starting to feel better so on Tuesday my GP cut steroids to 15mg each day my GP says his concern is high steroids and weight gain and weight gain is not good for asthmatics to say I did not feel great at that coment is something else. What are peoples thoughts on this? I feel confused now as he would normaly give me 30mg untill I am well in past but I have gained weight :( I had finished antibiotics Mon, Tuesday/Wednesday I started to feel unwell again and am now on yet another course of antibiotics. I am fed up frustrated etc regards from elaine

  • Elaine, I am little confuse last week you said you were on 20mg of pred down from 30mg and you say were getting well so a reduction to 15mg does not seem that out of the way. If the problem is infection which since you seem to be on antibiotics it would appear to be, maybe you don't need the pred just the right antibiotic have to you asked your GP to send a sputum sample to make sure the antibs are the right ones?


  • Hi sorry to confuse you, he does not actualy know what is going on the problem is infection he did send a sputom sample away it did not show anything. The steroids help with the amount of coughing I do day and night although the night cough seems to have subsided My chest is still quite tight and am coughing most of the day especaly if I talk. I only ased becsause when I soke with the asthma help line she thought I should have a higher dosage to hit it hard rather than being on low dosage for several weeks. When I take the steroids I do of course feel better plus with the antibiotics it is when they are withdrawn it seems to come back. This evening I am feeling slightly better it is very confusing. Regards Elaine

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