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How long should I wait before taking antibiotics?

Hi. I'm new here.

I have a question about viral vs. bacterial chest infection. Last week I came down with a sort of mild head cold (sore throat but not the usual sneezing/runny nose). Now I've been coughing up green phlegm since Monday.

I spoke to my GP (but only over the phone) who has given me antibiotics (ammoxillin) and preds in case it gets worse when I'm away over the weekend. My question is, should I wait for it to get worse before taking the antibiotics?

I feel like my lungs are pretty good, but all the irritation/tightness is in my airway. This is really typical of the chest infections I get. Some docs I've seen in the past have totally missed the chest infection, thinking I just have a cold, until it's developed moved properly on to my lungs. Having a terrible chest infection about 6 years ago has led me to take antibiotics at the first sign of trouble. Is it likely that it will just clear up itself? This hasn't happened before.

FYI, I'm on Seretide 125, rarely take blue inhaler.

3 Replies

Listen to your body...

If you feel like you have a chest infection then take the antibiotics especially if you are having to use your blue inhaler more than usual.

I always have preds and antibiotics in my rescue back at home. I'm to take the antibiotics if I have increased sputum or it turns green(sorry!!).

Hope this helps!

1 like

You know your body and you know how it feels to have a chest infection. The longer it is before you start antibiotics, the longer it is before you recover. The presence of green phlegm I'd a good indication on infection. I think if you feel you need them, you're better off getting them started.


Hello Jamiepanic,

I've had asthma since I was six. Now I'm sixty-nine. If I don't take an anitbotic when I have an asthma attack, my asthma gets worse. Once my doctor refused to give me an antibiotic and I ended up in the hospital for three days with pneumonia. I got the antibiotic then. It took 2 months to recover from that episode. You know your own body. When your asthma is bad, if you think you need an antibiotic, demand it.

Yours for better breathing,

John Terry McConnell


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