How do I cure ongoing chest infections?

Hi there, I have had asthma since I was three years old and my biggest problem is chest infections.

These happen in winter mainly, seasonally, and I'd say on a bad year I can have up to 5 or 6 chest infections/upper respiratory infections a year, though these have worsened in recent years. It normally takes Co-amoxicillin and steroids to cure them. I've had a chest X ray which brought nothing up and am waiting to have a spirometry. I manage my asthma on a daily basis with Seretide, Ventolin and Montelukast.

I graduated in the summer and am now working full time so it is now having a bigger effect on my day-to-day life. I also find it has a major effect on my mood and makes me depressed.

I wondered if anyone has had a similar problem or has any slightly more unusual cures to help me fix/prevent my chest infections.

Thanks

Emily

15 Replies

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  • Asthmatics can be prone to extra infections, but there might also be additional issues if you struggle to shift them. If you haven't already, maybe see first if you can have some sputum samples taken to see what the infections are, then, depending on the results, your GP might make a referral for CT or Resp. Consultant to check out if anything else is going on.

    Or, perhaps, as in my case, you suffer from a severe work allergy. It's been ruining my life for decades :D

  • Thank you! Fingers crossed for a referral!

    Oh dear - I love my work but I'm sure the stress contributes somewhat!

  • I suffered with the similar problems and was referred to a excellent respiratory consultant who did some blood tests and found I had low immunity and so I had an additional vaccine and I also have preventative antibiotics over the winter. He also identified fully my triggers so they could be managed as much as possible. I would make an appointment with GP to discuss being referred .

  • That sounds great! Fantastic advice - thank you!

  • I think firstly your gp should be requesting sputum samples for culture to ensure your receiving the antibiotics that are correct for your particular infection. Then, if necessary, they should request further tests if the sputum samples don't reveal anything conclusive. Sometimes we have underlying infections that aren't dealt with fully and therefore we relapse when we come off additionally prescribed medications.

  • Thank you - that sounds like it could definitely be a possibility!

  • Hi Emily I would recommend you go back to your GP and tell him just what you wrote. Now you can ask Asthma UK helpline how to go about it they are very good at discerning and explaining what to tell the GP.

    Unfortunately we are all prone to chest infections and antibiotics and steroids are a vicious spiral because it weakens our immune response so we go on and on..

    Yes as our friends said ask for a referral, full blood work etc..

    Good luck xx

  • Thank you - yes I might well ask Asthma UK for advice on how to say this to my GP because I often feel myself repeating the same thing without being heard!

  • Hi Emily,

    As others have said ask to be referred to a respiratory specialist. I have similar issues with recurrent chest infections. As well as preventative antibiotics I also have hypertonic saline via a nebuliser to try to help keep my chest clear of phlegm.

    It took a while to get to the stage where I was with the right specialists. I am under the North West Lung Centre at Wythenshawe.

    Hope you get the help you need,

    Karen

  • Hi Karen - thank you for this advice! I am really hoping to be referred as I think I may well need preventative antibiotics too. Fingers crossed for finding the right specialist sooner rather than later! Thank you again.

  • Hi there I am new on here and I saw your post and I am in yr 11 and have had asthma since year 2 could be younger but I'm not sure

    I have had a similar problem to you last winter I had at least 5 chest infections and it is difficult idk what advice I could give you but keep on top of your medication that use normally even when you don't have a chest infection and maybe when asthma is bad or you have a chest infection up the amount of puffs of your inhalers you take

    I'm guessing you have a preventer I have to take 4 puffs in morning 4 at night and 4 puffs of blue when I need it I tend to up my preventer to 5 or 6 puffs when my peak flow is low or if I don't feel well with my asthma

    Is that any help? I hope you find a way to cope with asthma and chest infections

    Good luck 👍

  • Hi Erin,

    Really sorry to hear you have been suffering too! I've had a real battle with it all through school and education and had a lot of time off for it. Luckily it's never affected my grades but I'm sure it has still been a hindrance.

    I am very good at keeping on top of my medication - sometimes I think I could use my ventolin sooner. I also take a strong dose of preventer and have more recently started taking montelukast (tablets for allergies which work wonders for some people - may be worth you looking into it?)

    Thank you for your help and advice, and your situation sounds really similar to mine. Make sure you look after yourself, and please don't wait as long as I have to be asked to be referred because you're at a really important time in your life and it would be a shame for chest infections to get in the way.

    All the best

    Emily

  • Thx this year for some reason my asthma has been controlled

    And I am on montekulast thx anyway

    As we have similar problems maybe we should talk more often

    You may become my go to person for advise because having someone with similar problems is a good way of helping each other

    Have u considered upping your inhaler dose when you get bad asthma problems?

  • Hi everyone

    Thank you all very much for your advice! I went to the doctor in October when I had my first chest infection of the year and asked to be referred then (after suffering for roughly 20 years, since I was two). However, she said I couldn't be referred yet and that I had to try all possible options.

    It has taken my current chest infection this week - which has knocked me out for six - and a second round of steroids in two months for the doctors to finally start to accept I need a referral. I am pretty sure that there is something underlying, and needs to be dealt with because if I am taking 250 seretide, montelukast and at present, multidosing on my ventolin four times a day - then there is clearly something now quite right.

    I will also ask for sputum samples, as bizarrely, I have not been asked for these yet. Tend to find these days that it is difficult as you never see the same doctor as resources are so stretched and you find yourself repeatedly telling the same story to lots of different doctors.

    I also try my best to eat really well and exercise when I feel up to it - the last six months this has only consisted of walking because my chest has been so bad. I wondered if anyone has found any herbal remedies that help? Or eating particular foods? Or things as simple as steaming daily?

    I am literally willing to try anything these days!

    Thanks again to all of you for your advice! It's really good to talk to people in a similar situation.

  • I am wondering if montelukast isthe culprit. Since starting this,I am now on my fourth chest infection.

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