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How to tell when cold has gone to chest

I've had a cold for 11 days; main symptoms have passed but I still have a cough, shortness of breath, phlegm (variably clear/yellow). I'm breathing shallowly and sometimes hyperventilating. No chest pain though and my peak flow is 450 (on target). Is this just the tail end of a cold or the start of something lingering? I'd like to avoid antibiotics if I can as they always destroy my intestinal bacteria (I presume) and give me diarrhoea for weeks (TMI!)

4 Replies

Hi. If you are breathing shallowly you aren't breathing normally. That's you on auto to prevent the cough. I know I do it. You need to clear it, so up your reliever and open the airway so you can cough it up. If you continue shallow breathing it is very likely to get worse. I don't know what meds you are on. You should go to your asthma clinic (or GP ) and get checked. I'd love to get 450. I'm lucky if I make 350. Latest exacerbation saw me at 250. It's never too soon to check things out. With regard to the anti biotics. Tell them they upset your stomach this is a side effect with some and clearly the ones your are prescribed don't agree with you. There are many they can try. I have problems like this also . I can only be prescibed certain ones. Be firm about this as being on the loo for weeks is no good for you either. Sorry if I've gone on a bit. I hope this helps. Take care and keep deep breathing 😊Ros



I work in a school and just wanted to say this virus has gone round everyone. Everyone who has been to the doctors has been told the cough is just part of the virus and could take 6 weeks to go completely and no antibiotics given so when I ended up with it I just increased my reliever and seems to be doing the job. Hope this helps to put your mind at rest 😊


Sounds a bit like the one that was going round this time last year - ended up with a cough that went on for weeks. When I got last year's bug I did eventually end up at the doc's, but that was because I had started coughing up brown muck and my peak flow dropped to about 300 (down from around 390). Nothing could be heard on my chest but the GP decided not to take any chances - I ended up on antibiotics.

You could try using Vicks vapour rub on your chest at night, which I find helps with breathing and congestion. I also find a hot ginger and honey drink (one teaspoon grated root ginger and one teaspoon honey topped with hot water) very soothing. Otherwise I agree with Rosalind_23: if you do end up at the doc's explain the problems you have when you are put on antibiotics; I doubt you'll be the first they've encountered who's reacted that way.

Hope you feel better soon:-).


Take regular blue inhaler to keep your airways open..Up to 2 puffs 4 x day.. also have you been advised to increase your preventer when you have a cold or symptoms?


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