Need some education: I am sorry to yet... - Asthma UK communi...

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Need some education

Wheezycat
Wheezycat

I am sorry to yet again do a posting. Well, not very sorry, just a bit.

Yesterday I realised I have more to learn. I was told I have no air going through the lowest part of my right lobe, so a chest infection. That caused me some possibly unnecessary concerns. At the time I was not thinking clearly enough to ask.

I realise I don’t know what can be meant by a chest infection. I know full well it is an umbrella term for things like bronchitis and pneumonia, and other stuff, but what more precisely is a chest infection? I do understand the words ‘chest’ and ‘infection’. I always like to understand what is going on with me, and don’t like this feeling of slight confusion. So if anyone can give me a bit more of an explanation I would be grateful.

10 Replies
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With a chest infection airways become inflamed irritated and can close off... meaning air doesn't get to some parts of your lung,usually the bottom where the infection has settled and turned nasty

I would say you have a bacterial infection and should be on antibiotics if that's what the doctor has said (and would be surprised if your not)... standard practice for asthmatics is some antibiotics and a "boost" of steroid tablet... although not all doctors will give the extra steroids the reason being that steroids weaken the immune system so they need to balance the infection and asthmatic symptoms and work out what they think is best

Thank you for you response. That makes sense. Yes, I got both the antibiotics and the steroids, though less than usual dose, and the GP seemed to have some doubt whether I needed it. I also doubled Symbicort when it all started (day before Christmas Eve).

Yes standard for an "asthma flare" is 40-50mg for 5-7 days or until

No longer symptomatic

However a lot of GPS try and give you 30mg for 5 days which will help most asthmatics enough to avoid hospital

Yes that is what I got....and then increased to 7 days if needed. It is less than I am used to.mI have an emergency pack of pred at at home, given to me after my one hospital admission. I would never use it without consulting first, but I do like to have it when I go abroad just in case I struggle to find medical support. I have never needed it, but I do keep it updated = take the equivalent from my old, in date, pack, and put it the new.

Do you get chest infections often?... a really good asthma nurse said to me that could mean you have excess mucus which *could* mean your asthma isn't well controlled

EmmaF91
EmmaF91Community Ambassador

To me chest infection means I’ve got a bug in my lungs that my bodies working overtime to kill, causing me to produce more mucus. Because of this my asthma gets triggered as the mucus is either stuck where it is so the airway is narrower and/or blocked (mucus plugs), or it’s shifting causes small intermittent blockages and making me to cough it up (and possibly trigger off my asthma that way). There’s a reason resp disease sufferers are actively encouraged to seek help as soon as a we get a chesty cold as it’s so easy for our airways to narrow to the point of no air getting through. This is quite common and is why so many of us end up visiting hospital when we have a chest infection.

It is used as an umbrella term for viral and bacterial, as well as things like pneumonia and bronchitis (tho my brain usually equates chest infection with bacteria 😅). Funnily enough for some reason I can usually tell when its a virus or a bacteria - 90% of the time I’m right cause to me my lungs feel completely different (don’t know why and can’t really explain it other than the usual ‘foul taste/greener sputum thing 😅).

To put it in perspective a bit... the reason my GP panicked so much Friday was cause I had no air reaching the base of my lungs, and little airflow at the top... I knew it now felt viral and my sats were fine and so self managed with ventolin etc to relax my airways a bit more and made my way to hosp when I was ready. If I had felt it was still bacterial or had low sats I would have gone in straight away cause would have needed the ABs (I tend to feel a lot worse with bacterial vs viral too).

I I hope that answer is sort of what you’re looking for 😅. Sorry for the ramble (and if I’ve gone of track! 😅)

Wheezycat
Wheezycat
in reply to EmmaF91

Please do ramble! I enjoy what you write as you clearly have so much experience. It is helpful - and I am glad I am not in your situation.

Our daughter collapsed a lobe when she was about 8, due to asthma, and it was thought to be a mucous plug, so I was aware of that one. I was told it was common, but never, ever met another child to who, it happened. We/she needed to see someone as she was in a lot of pain - her other lung over compensating. Once she was over it - as we think though - she then very fast developed a chest infection, quite a bad one, probably due to the asthma uncleared mucous becoming infected.

EmmaF91
EmmaF91Community Ambassador
in reply to Wheezycat

😅... I got thrown in the deep end with all this a few years ago, learnt through experience and now try to make it a little easier of the next person (when I’m not ranting/moaning/asking my own questions anyway 😂).

As a mum that must have been scary to hear (I have yet to see about that happening to anyone unless they were really bad and even then it seems really rare)! I do know mucus plugs can easily lead to bad bacterial infections as everything just sits there and festers 🤢 (it’s why people with bronchiectasis/COPD can get lots of chest infections as they can struggle to get it all up).

Hope that was the worse it ever got for her and that she ‘grew out’ of it as she got older! X

Wheezycat
Wheezycat
in reply to EmmaF91

Yes, it never happened again. She is now 35, still with asthma and is one of those who can ‘feel’ when it has triggered, unlike her mum.

We did back banging/tapping as instructed with head down until her plug went.

One scary moment was when the hospital people told me that they would normally admit such a child, but, as I was a sensible parent she could go home. Of course I agreed, but was also scared, and as she had a difficult night with loads of ventolin (warned against in those days), I rang the kids A&E, St Mary’s London, several times that night, but it all went OK in the end.

su-mo
su-mo
in reply to Wheezycat

My sympathy to you both: I used to suffer three or four times a year with chest infections& massive Asthma attacks but it is nearly 4 years since I first started taking Probiotic Capsules and a few selected supplements ( see my post 2016) and have not had a chest infection since nor any sort of Asthma episode. At 74 years of age I consider myself very lucky I did my own research after becoming Chronic Asthmatic at the age of 26 after near fatal Anaphylaxis.

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