Asthma UK community forum

Never ending cough misery

I caught a virus early December, got treated for chest infection with antibiotics and steroids, got sick again with what was definitely flu (had blood test) - despite having had the flu jab) treated for chest infection, more pred and antibiotics, more time off work...

Been stepped up from Orange inhaler to Seretide 250 4 puffs a day - then added montelukast to help night time coughing.

Had clear chest x ray. Blood tests all fine apart from lymphocytes - dr says this is due to having actual flu...

But I have literally been coughing my guts up all day and all night for almost 2 months. Nothing is helping. I am maybe going to drive myself (and my family and my colleagues) mad with the coughing.

Dr says next step is to see asthma specialist - but is this just the world’s worst virus? No asthma medication seems to make any difference to it although Ventolin and terbutaline calm it down for a short while.

Has anyone else got this hideous virus? Is it a virus exacerbated by asthma? Should I be more patient? Should I insist on seeing the specialist?

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Have you had sputum samples taken?

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No. Should I ask for a sputum sample?

I ask because the chest x Ray was clear and I feel ok in myself apart from being tired from coughing all the time and not getting a full night’s sleep. I coughed so much today I was sick.

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If you are coughing up gunk then yes, I’d be tempted to ask. See what it is in your lungs that seems to be problematic. Chest x-rays only pick up certain problems & a sample can give additional important information to a doctor.

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I feel your pain. I had difficulty coughing the sputum up so asked my Gp for carbocysteine capsules. They thin the sputum. They only thing you have to watch for is a bit of loose tummy but then that could have been all the antibiotics I have also taken! I drink plenty of water too and limit my caffeine intake and trying to eat more healthy . This has been partly due to the fact my sleeping pattern is messed up since being ill on and off since December! I blaming this on the steroids although always take them in the morning. It is frustrating and you feel like you take 10 steps forward then 100 back. You will get there but allow your body to heal, its been through an awful lot!

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Ok thanks I’ll ask about that too.

My sleep is also messed up from the coughing steroids and the montelukast! That is probably why I am so bad tempered!!

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The temper issue is an interesting aspect of steroids. I'm generally a pretty calm sort of person, but I also have quite high blood pressure & am on a long course of steroids at the moment. I got in a real strop over nothing a few days ago & presumed it was the high BP, but reading that makes me think maybe steroids...

(I also don't sleep well)

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The first couple times I took them I had boundless energy. My house was hospital clean. About the third time I took them, they came with another person who was a total bitch and they've been including her ever since. It's horrible. I think it has gotten worse with each time I have to take them. My husband is not thrilled.

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It is a nasty long lived virus, after 3-4 weeks I’ve got over the worst but still feeling weak. At least you’ve had treatment, I’ve given up with our practice, they say it’s a virus and antibiotics will not work with a virus every time I go with a long lasting cough 😡

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I'll bet you have a new trigger that you don't know about or one that is exacerbated by the fact that you had the flu. See the specialist. The last time this happened to me like that I was down for four months.

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Maybe it is a new trigger or just the impact of the flu. Doesn’t feel like it’s getting any better :-(

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I have had it since November. 3 lots of antibiotics and 2 lots of pred. Ive now been told I have a viral wheeze. Maybe when the weather gets warmer we will all get better?

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I hope so Gary - on my way to out of hours as I can’t talk without coughing. Fingers crossed there’s a way to fix this as it’s horrible!

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So I went to out of hours on Wednesday night and I’m back on pred again. OOO GP didn’t think I have a chest infection because she couldn’t hear anything on my chest. I had to wait 3 hours to see her and by then I’d had a lot of salbutamol and had stopped wheezing.

Anyway, the cough is no better after 2 days of pred. I am coughing uncontrollably every time I walk, laugh or bend over, or even if I breathe out too quickly. Cough is really deep and I’ve been bringing up tiny bits of hard stuff, like it’s bedn there a while. Sorry if too much information.

I feel totally broken. I have the asthma nurse tomorrow but I don’t see the point in going. Doesn’t seem like anyone can help me.

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I know exactly how feel. I have been ill since November and every time I think I am recovering I go back down with a bang. I had been feeling a little better but over the last 2 days I have been coughing more and my peak flow has dropped yet again and the elephant is back(on my chest) and I have never really lost the breathlessness. Last night I had an attack which I controlled with ventolin but its back to the docs today, to be told, I suspect that my chest is clear and there is nothing they can do. I sometimes feel

like begging please just help me breathe, l am so sick of this, there must be something you can do but my doctor seems to have a very conservative approach to asthma. I feel your pain!

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I am sorry you feel this way too. I hope you feel better soon. I’m thinking the only way might be to go somewhere sunny for a few weeks.

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Just an update - I have already seen the consultant who was extremely thorough and a very nice man but it was still trial and error as to what would work.Given Fostair 100/6 as MART regime but in the month I have been using it I have had a chest infection and have never lost the breathlessness, was on seretide before. I will be going for more tests CT breathing tests etc as I contacted his secretary this morning and this is what he wants. However, saw the GP this morning not my usual he is on holiday again and she was very thorough. My chest is clear as I thought and stats good but this does not explain my attack and the tightness in my chest.She has changed my inhaler to Symbicort 400/12 which is a high as I can go apparently. Not sure the consultant will be too happy but I will try anything as I am so fed up. Hope this works and that you too feel better soon. I'm begining to think I may never be well again. The 'somewhere sunny' sounds great tho - the Canary Islands are quite close!

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I have had similar problems same time scale to but I had the problem of coughing and nothing coming up so I had physio who was amazing and I do breathing exercises hourly but it has helped me so maybe worth a try so I got told to take as deep a breath as I could hold for 2 seconds then cough and repeat twice an hour and try and make sure you get loads of water I nebuliser water to try and loosen it’s taken nearly 3 weeks but I have now started to cough sputum up which has been sent off to see if I still have infection o not good luck I feel for you everything hurts ribs chest breathing etc hope you feel better soon it’s a rotten bug this year

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Hi Lisa - that’s interesting. I’ll discuss this with the nurse. Thanks.

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This is not a virus it sounds how I was six years ago constantly being given antibiotics and steriods and inhalers. Steriods made bit of difference as soon as I stopped bark bark bark. Anyway I have got v c d which is also known as vocal cord dysfunction it makes you feel quite tight in throat so you cough it’s really unpleasant and can be made worse if you have reflux I’d ask for a camera down your throat they can see then you’ll know if it’s this condition as you don’t really feel it in chest apart from pain of coughing it’s all in throat area like someone’s got u round throat or yr choking

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Also if it’s v c d it should be worse if you spray lynx

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My asthma also hates Lynx! Spray deodorant is so annoying :(

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Thanks Hayley - I don’t think the symptoms are the same exactly but I’m being referred to a specialist so hopefully we will get to the bottom of it!

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Update... got more pred, a fresh Seretide inhaler and told to try antihistamines. Also being referred to respiratory specialist. Practice nurse reckons I’ll be better by the time I get an appointment!

Anyway, thanks for all your support. It’s been a tough week. I’m thinking I have to get out in the fresh air and try and get fit. I used to cycle a lot and never got this ill when I was doing that.

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