Remedies for constant chest infections which start asthma flare ups

Hi. I'm new to this site & just wondered if anyone has any advice & has been going through the same thing.

I'm 48 & have been asthmatic since the age of 8, although I only had a few flare ups & recovered quickly. The last 10 years I have had many flare ups, but has been particularly bad the last 4 years. It seems to start with a chest infection, for which I'm prescribed antibiotics & steroids. Amoxicilin doesn't seem to work for me & usually need a second antibiotic & further steroids.

When I have a chest infection I get very breathless on doing the slightest things, like walking upstairs & have to rest or use Ventolin.

When well my peak flow is 480-500 & I feel 100% & able to do moderate exercise - like running after the children I work with or walking, without any problems. But I feel about 90 when I struggle to even walk short distances, when I have these flare ups.

I've had 5 chest infections since October & just wondered if anyone can suggest something to prevent these?

Thanks for your help, Sam.

12 Replies

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  • Vitamin D helped me enormously xXx

  • Hi

    That's a lot of antibiotics are you taking any pre/probiotics? I was recommended BioCare Micro-FloraGuard which sorted me out and vitamin D, C and zinc.

  • I've not heard of those but will definitely check them out, thank you. I did start taking vitamin D as someone else suggested.

  • Just a check but have you had any further tests around the repeat infections? It may be worth asking for sputum samples to see what the infection is, & perhaps discuss with a GP or specialist practice nurse why you keep getting them (or indeed why you can't get rid of whatever you have). If it shows up, which it might, a variety of bugs then a consultant referral might be suggested.

    There are other possible complicating factors, especially with those of us who have had asthma for decades, which can cause 'wear & tear' type damage to your lungs, so no harm in asking the questions.

    Incidentally, I can only speak for myself, but my specialist has suggested Doxycycline (sometimes a double dose) is strong for getting rid of some of the bugs that take up residence in your lungs.

    If the tests show nothing to worry about, then as above, just start to think about building up your immune system, etc. Others may advise you better on that as I'm rubbish at doing it for myself!

  • Doxycycline - I've had that before when I've tried other antibiotics & Dr's refer to it as 'domestos' cos it kills all known germs! Think they leave that to the last resort as worse for your immunity apparently.

  • What inhalers are you using?

    Oral Steroids, kills your body immunity, hence you are susceptible for frequent infections. Worst part of steroids is it reduces bone density causing severe pain in your knees and other joints. Any day you take steroid you must take Calcium tablet with Vitamin D3.

    Go to chest physician, he will taper the steroid medicine over a period of 3 months and substitute with Inhaler. I am sure you will be alright.

  • Maybe it's something to do with the long protracted viral season, or maybe you have had a change in your condition! As ever, sputum samples are the way forward with chest infections if they are recurrent! Perhaps a sputum sample will determine the correct antibiotic for your particular infection rather than a broad spectrum one. But maybe a scan is a consideration! Vitamin d is excellent for building up your immunity as a dietary supplement. Also, what are you currently prescribed to control your asthma?

  • Thanks for replying. I'm on seretide inhaler, zafirlukast & uniphylin tablets. I was on spiriva respimat inhaler too but as I had been really well from June-Sept last year my consultant took me off it. I'm seeing him on the 24th March so going to ask if I should go back on it. I rang my asthma nurse at the hospital yesterday as so fed up with repeated infections & she said if it's a chest infection it's not asthma. What I can't make them understand is its the constant coughing that makes my chest go tight & wheezy & that's when I suffer an asthma attack. I have taken a sputum sample in, last 1 was clear tho. I've had a chest xray & they just say it's nothing to worry about. I will try vitamin D tho, thanks for that. I have had 2 bone density scans, the 1st one 2 years ago was fine & will get the results of 2nd tomorrow when I have my asthma review with the nurse. They said I don't need calcium daily unless bone density reduces. I have had alendronic tablets before tho when I was on 40mg steroids for 3-4 months constantly.

  • As you're probably aware, many Asthmatics get mucus on their chests without any infection so some of the time what you may be experiencing is a symptom of Asthma rather than a chest infection. At other times a mild infection can be more troublesome to an Asthmatic because of the tendency of Asthma to give rise to more Mucus.

    Using a reliever Inhaler (while essential) is also likely to produce more coughing because it can act like an expectorant and loosen the mucus and make you cough more to bring it up.

    If you're not getting a Temperature with your chest infections then what I've suggested above may be more likely.

    Most chest infections are viruses rather than bacteria - in which case antibiotics are of no or little use.

    As far as infections caused by bacteria are concerned, I've found that Clarithromycin has worked well for me and is one of the antibiotics sometimes recommended by Respiratory Consultants. However, it does depend on what kind of bacteria infection you have at the time.

  • My temp was normal so now not sure if it is an infection or just a symptom of asthma - it's so hard to know & the Dr listens to my chest & says its rattly & wheezy but always gives me steroids & antibiotics. I have found that clarithramycin does work for me tho - usually in about 3 days. Although it does have a strange side effect - I don't seem to sleep & have loads of energy, even getting up doing ironing etc at 4am! But as soon as the course has finished I feel like a zombie & could sleep for a week!!

  • Hi Sam I have very similar complaint to you - consultant di suggest vit d - but I am also going for a ct scan to rul out bronchiastasis (sp?!) not sure what they can do then - but I empathise with you all these infections are so draining. But when we'll enjoy your strength n fitness - take care

  • Good luck with your ct scan, hope you soon get sorted too. I started vitamin D tablets & will continue them to hopefully stop further infections - will try anything.

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