Green Phlegm but no Chest Infection - Asthma UK communi...

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Green Phlegm but no Chest Infection

DenBoy70
DenBoy70

I having been coughing up green phlegm for a fortnight now and are now on my second 5 day course of Amoxicillin.

My doctor says that my chest is clear so I do not have a chest infection.

I asked her if green phlegm was something asthma sufferers had to live with and she said that whilst asthma can cause a lot of sputum it should be clear and not green which indicates a problem. I asked this as I have seen a number of posts which have said green phlegm is normal for asthma sufferers.

Any ideas for going forward would be welcome as I am not confident that Amoxicillin is going to resolve this.

43 Replies
oldestnewest

Okay so I'm with late onset non allergic asthma. I do cough up yellow phlegm mainly in the morning which actually clears my airways. I think it's my asthma only been doing this in Spring and my asthma is well controlled. I live in a dusty city so my airways are probably irritated. I have never coughed up green phlegm only in the past when I have been really really sick with a bad chest infection. Sounds like you have a bacterial infection it would be better if they tested your sputum I know a lot to ask of a GP but if they know what they are fighting they can prescribe a different antibiotic most GP's just prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic like Amoxicillin but when I saw my private consultant last year he gave me Clarithromycin and said I could dispose of my prescription from my GP. I would definitely go back with a Sputum sample you can collect a vial from the Surgery then they know what they are fighting in your body.

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Woody49

Hi Woody, I have a doctors appointment booked and will be asking to have a sputum sample checked if I still have a problem.

Green phlegm can be normal in asthma and it doesn't always mean infection - according to my respiratory consultant and asthma nurse team at the hospital.

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to twinkly29

Hi twinkly, your comment is interesting.

I’m not sure what chance any of us have if the professionals cannot agree amongst themselves.

I just get asked ‘what’s normal for you?’ For me if my lungs are twitchy I get yellow gunk. If I go green and ‘feel ill’ I usually have a chest infection.

You may have ‘asthmatic bronchitis’ which is what I get when uncontrolled... which really is just bringing up mucus for no real reason... get on the right set of meds and your asthma controlled and it should clear up.

Equally if you’re getting over a chest infection did you get given a course of steroids to help calm your lungs? Steroids reduce the inflammation which is usually what causes the mucus production. It’s common for asthmatics to take longer to return to normal and recover from infections. And if your producing your ‘usual’ colour then it’s nothing to be concerned about just it’s taking things a while to calm down.

Hope this helps 😅

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to EmmaF91

Hi Emma, my asthma is not properly controlled at the moment so you may well be right about asthmatic bronchitis, I will have to google it.

No chest infection since mid December and the doctor said my chest is clear. I normally don’t bring up any mucus at all.

I quite often suffer from a tight chest but not at the moment but my lungs feel congested. Have to see where things are at the end of the week once I have finished my antibiotics and then I imagine another trip to the doctors.

Hi Denboy

get them to do a phlegm sample. I have had/still have haemophilus influenzae for the last 2 yrs , which i bring up thick green several times day . again all my chest xrays came back clear and wheeze with it intermittently.

I did have other symptoms to start with that looked like I had a chest infection but it changed to just the green phlegm and wheeze in the end. The reason I still had it is the doctors never took a sample to check so didnt know what i had. Ive had 7 lots of antibiotics the last one being 1000mg of amoxcilian 3 times a day. its certain antibiotics that work on this if you have it but amoxcilain they have given might not be strong enough so worth a phlegm sample check (wish i had done maybe would have got rid of it by now.

I hope you get it sorted soon tc

Polly

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Hi Polly, thank you for your reply.

I was prescribed 5 days of 500mg of Amoxicillin which didn’t resolve the issue, went back straight away and saw another doctor who said 5 days was too short and prescribed a further 5 days of the same.

I finish the 2nd course Friday pm and if not resolved will be straight back to get a phlegm sample taken as you say.

I do hope things improve with yourself.

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

fingers crossed this course does its job for you, thank you, well just got my results back today, ive still got it :-/ . so they have given me co-Amoxiclav 500mg this time (one week course ), maybe 8th course of antibiotics will finally work eh.

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Hi Polly, unfortunately green phlegm is back although only a very small amount.

I had a one off appointment today with a private specialist in London to discuss my asthma as I was getting fed up getting nowhere with my doctor and so took the opportunity to discuss the issue with him about the phlegm.

He said that Amoxicillin is always the one prescribed by doctors but is a general antibiotic that often doesn’t work, (which you know well from your experience).

He has prescribed 500mg of Azithromycin for 6 days, although he says it may resolve in 3 days.

I will finish my Amoxicillin tomorrow as I only have one day left and if the problem is not resolved I will then start on the Azithromycin. I will let you know if it works.

The above of course assumes that I have a bacterial infection, unfortunately I cannot get a doctors appointment until Monday week to get a sputum sample taken. I could ask for an emergency appointment but I can’t really justify that.

Interestingly in a different post poobah and also WrenJen have also been prescribed Azithromycin for a number of months, I have asked poobah what strength medication was prescribed.

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

I hope this one works for you if you think you end up needing them (definitely let me know how you get on with it and what strength the others have had will bear that in mind for my next lot if i need them ha ha).

I have had 6 lots of doxycycline antibiotics 3 x 2 week courses , before the last lot of amoxicillin. I seems this latest antibiotic is amoxicilin mixed with clavulanic acid.

The clavulanic acid stops bacteria from breaking down amoxicillin, allowing the antibiotic to work better (what google says anyway ha ha). but if this lot does not work I think ask can they not refer me somewhere. surely all these antibiotics is really not a good thing.

I would love to know if this is so deep rooted in my lungs because I have had it so long without being discovered so to speak. or whether it would have been as stubborn to get rid of regardless.

with mine it does seem to get better (or feels as tho it does) while on the antibiotics but the minute i stop them it creeps back in and gets worse again, but like you said about your phlegm, mine did the same after antibiotics I only brought up little bits ,but it never went completely and as the month went by after finishing latest course of antibiotics so did the bacteria/phlegm come back.

talk to you soon and hopefully we will both will be saying mines gone soon enough :)

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Hi Polly,

Feedback on the use of Azithromycin.

The last time I coughed up green phlegm which was only one small piece was the morning of the 21st Feb.

I started the course of Azithromycin later that day which consisted of one 500 mg tablet for 3 days. I took the last tablet yesterday.

No green phlegm today and none since I took the first tablet. Fingers crossed it doesn’t return.

Prior to starting on these antibiotics I had finished 2 courses of 500 mg of Amoxicillin barring one day so cannot say for definite what stopped the green phlegm although my monies on the Azithromycin.

Hope this helps.

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

Hi Denboy

Ahh that’s brilliant news :-D

Well I am on day 5 of my amoxiclav ( including today I’ve got 3 days left to take ).

Phlegm is minimal compared to what it has been and getting clearer . So fingers crossed, if this doesn’t work I’m definitely asking for the Azithromycin.

I’m so happy for you that it’s nipped yours in the bud :-)

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Thanks Polly, I do hope all goes well, the phlegm changing colour is an excellent sign.

All the best.

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Hi Polly, that was short lived, green phlegm is back.

Plan B is now to take my other course of Azithromycin. (I did think about taking both courses back to back at the time, perhaps I should have done so). If that doesn’t work then back to the doctors to do a sputum sample.

Let me know how you get on and maybe co-Amoxiclav will be my Plan C.

Good luck.

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

Hi ya

Ahh no that sucks, I have had the same thing before seems like its gone, then soon as antibiotics stop its there creeping back in like hey surprise im still here. very annoying. Im defo not bring as much up still but got the urge to cough still like its inflamed. Ive only got 2 more tablets today, 3 tomorrow and one last tablet Thursday morning so suppose we will see soon enough eh. Hopefully we will beat this soon. talk to you soon.

BP135
BP135
in reply to Polly44

Hi polly44

I am in the same boat as you! Currently sat in the waiting room of my respiratory consultant hoping to be refferd for tests as Ive had god knows how many antibiotics over the last 2.5 years. Its constant all autumn and winter. Only just found out yesterday which bacteria it is. GP says I need a CT scan to start ruling things out.

Please let me know how you get on. I finished my 3rd lot of co amoxiclav last week and am still coughing up dark green phleghm. The joys! X

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to BP135

I hope they refer you for them tests soon, it just never ends eh :-/.

my doctors don't even want to refer me anywhere you would think after having 9 lots of antibiotics they would eh. I asked what happens next if this latest meds don't work. his reply was we just keep on treating you until they do.

The know what both my bacteria is since july/aug and then add on the second bacteria now, but they just seem to want to keep chucking antibiotics at it hoping this time it will work.

Will do will let you know if this latest lot work, hope your consultant is helpful this visit even with a plan of what they can do.

tc talk to you soon x

BP135
BP135
in reply to Polly44

Good news. I told her how fed up I am after having this infection since September and she is sending me for a CT scan and lung function test. She has given me tablets to loosen phlegm, 6 weeks of doxycycline, revlar inhaler to replace my fostair, Spiriva inhaler, told me to start using my salbutamol again and continue with my Montelukast tablets. So I do feel like she is throwing everything at me now to try and clear it. She is supposedly seeing me again in 6 weeks with the results of the ct scan and to see how I got on with new meds. So I am feeling positive today.

I hope the co amoxiclav clears it for you. Let me know how you get on x

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to BP135

hi ya

Ive had the doxycycline before I had to eat with it (can make you feel sick but eating with it defo helped me) and assuming they told you to not stay out in direct sun light for too long eg hours (not that its the weather to sit out in it for hours lol). I had 3 x 2 week courses of that one one but with a month break in between them all. fingers crossed 6 weeks in one go does the job finally eh. Also you cant lay down after taking this (sorry if you have been told all this just telling you incase)

I have had the lung function test also last year, my doctors did not tell my receptionist to tell me the correct information before having it. They tell you not to have your medication on the day but Im on long acting steroid inhaler and the montelukast too which are longer lasting meds and i don't think i should have had either the night before my nurse said. (so i would ask about whether best not to have the monteluask the day before. It interfered with my results in the way it showed I had mild asthma (I have never had mild asthma ha ha) so because my breathing into it showed better than would have been without the medication on my system if you get me.

I really hope this 6 weeks worth gets rid of it finally for you.

I m definitely noticing a massive decrease in bringing stuff up and its gone from green to yellow and clear. so fingers crossed but i` also know this bacteria has a way of fooling you into thinking its gone then i finish the course and its still there slightly and creeps back in more and more til Im back to square one grrr.

We have to get rid of this sometime eh, glad you are feeling more postiive about things, we are going to beat this rotten bacteria x

BP135
BP135
in reply to Polly44

Thank you so much for all of those tips. She didn't tell me any of that information!

I am being sent a letter with the date for the lung function test so was hoping they would send information with that because I don't know anything about it. My asthma was well controlled from about 16 years old until 2.5 years ago (I'm 32 now) it hasn't been bad since childhood so I can't remember the tests I had.

I just looked at one of your posts and saw we have the same bacteria. I also have streptococcus pneumoniae. I'm told this is the joy of having 2 children under 5. Maybe your grandson passed it to you?

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to BP135

Its funny because my asthma has been well controlled since I was 20 and went on the monteluask (im 46 now). My bacteria started 2 and half yrs ago too, other than the no air feeling and wheeze (which i think the wheeze is the phelgm not my asthma as it clears after bringing the phelgm up.

I don't think mine was from my grandson, I mainly only see him twice a month for weekend as he lives in manchester and me london. The hi is something we get apparentently people with copd or lung conditions more vulnerable to it (every time i get the latest result the doctor keeps saying its common in asthmatics etc and I can tell you exactly when mine started june 2016 I took him away to blackpool for few days and I had this already could feel something was coming on before i left but went docts after my trip away. after 2 lots of antibotics them thinking i had chest infection, then predislone, they said if still not anybetter needed a chest xray had that all clear, by the december i was put on long acting steriod which helped with no air feeling I had.

by the march following yr lung funtion test, several xrays later, docs eventually said next step is copd drug. then i went back one final time i thought and begged can they send me to chest clinic or something. trainee doc said have the ever taken a sample and it came back as hi i cried thinking least i know what this is now and can get it sorted. (if i only i knew lol) then 9 lots of antibotics later one lot each month pretty much add on one more infection month before last that started probably because weakened cos hi already.

my asthma was horrendous before going on the monteluask at 20 and weirdly i thnk still being controlled by it, i honestly think my symptons all cos these infections. I wonder if i would still have this is a doctor had bothered to do a sample check earlier (errm only been telling them for god knows how long about green phelgm) but I think this seems just stubborn to get rid of regardless by the sounds of it.

but we have it so just gotta keep hitting it with antibotics and gotta get rid of it sooner or later eh :) positive thoughts , bloody bacteria lol xx

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Hi Polly,

‘Bloody bacteria’ sums it up well.

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

Hi DenBoy

Yes I hear you :-/

Im keeping my fingers crossed this second course of Azithromycin does the trick and finally gets rid of it for you. (we have heard good things about it eh ).

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

HI Denboy

well an update I finished the course yesterday and I feel like its nearly gone, barely any phlegm , the little i do bring up is either clear or cream colour. barely a wheeze.

The doctor said wait a few days before coming back after the course, but i thought hell no, they have been having me wait the month see how i go (they don't want to give me more antibiotics before then) then I feel as tho Im back to square one. so I saw an other doctor who listened to my chest and agreed. she said there is still a crackle there which is the infection and she has given me another week of the amoxiclav. The doctors words were amoxiclav is the domestos of antibotics ha ha. so fingers crossed this lot finally finishes it off. (im quietly hopeful this time :)

I hope your doing well

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Hi Polly,

I think the colour change is important because it shows the antibiotics have done something.

I agree completely about going back to the doctors straight away, don’t give the pesky bacteria a chance.

I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to jinx it, fingers crossed.

Let me know how it goes.

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

will do and will keep my fingers crossed to for us both :D

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

Im keeping my fingers crossed hope your still doing good eg getting rid of the bloody bacteria ;)

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Polly44

Hi Polly, sorry I missed your post.

I’m hoping that what you are saying is you’ve got rid of that pesky bacteria.

I still can’t get rid of it but saw a different asthma nurse today who was very proactive.

Told me to provide a sputum sample to establish what’s causing the green phlegm and knew all about using Azithromycin 3 times a week over a number of months, which is what Poobah said he had. Also told me to return in 4 weeks time.

May not have solved anything today but at last someone who’s moving things forward.

Polly44
Polly44
in reply to DenBoy70

Hi Denboy I hope results come back soon so they can start you on the Azithromycin and hopefully get rid of it finally.

I honestly don't know if im kidding myself or whether im still in same boat to be honest. I finished the second course of amoxiclav last thurs and still got a wheeze on and off and still bringing stuff up. colour not as green as it was and varies in colour, still sometimes clear with hint of colour sometimes cream other times looks very pale green (so no clue ha ha) .

I spoke to doctor on the phone 4 days ago he said lets try 8 a day predislone steriods for 7 days, said change of colour is good and would still get phlegm and a wheeze. so im keeping everything crossed could be gone, but after 2 and half yrs of this (3 yrs in june) well im in a way thinking i will belive it when I see it (when it all stops).

I have 3 days left of steroids to take lets see where i am, or whether back up docs for another sample tested. Doctor didnt know anything about my case initially said something like u don't normally suffer with copd or asthma do you, which didn't fill me with hope straight off lol. I think he was more thinking was my wheeze corona virus symptoms .

Also the same doctor who has given me the results over the phone the last 2 times :-/ so when i had to remind him ive had the lung bacteria for over 2 yrs and yes i am asthmatic. wished i had pushed for him to do another sample then rather than wait and just longer for bacteria to grow back if is still there eh.

anyway hope your results come back soon, and with me its wait and see few more days how steroid does, says on in box leaflet they start to work by 4 days, so 3 to go. fingers crossed eh.

Please speak to your GP surgery and ask for a sputum pot, this can be sent to the lab and they can identify if there is any bacterial infection and if there is you can be treated for it. Amoxicillin is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is often prescribed first.

Hi Smoggy, thank you for your reply. Yes doctors always seem to prescribe Amoxicillin first of all.

I have just replied to Polly who gave the same advice as yourself and I will be going back to ask to have a phlegm sample taken if issue is not resolved when I have finished my antibiotics on Friday.

Could be coming from sinuses. Try neti pot. Take all natural antibiotics like olive leaf, oregano oil, garlic, propolis, grapefruit seed extract etc. Up your vitamin C and take probiotics .

Hi Marydoll, thanks for your reply. Not familiar with some of the products, I will need to google them.

I would also phone Asthma UK nurses who are excellent. If that's not an option send an email, message on here I think they do whats app too.

Hi Smoggy, I have spoken to the nurses many times and as you say they are excellent and really helpful. I did speak to one yesterday and the view was it is most likely some kind of infection.

Didn’t bring up any green phlegm today so fingers crossed that antibiotics have worked, will know tomorrow morning.

Please put a sample in ask your GP surgery for a sputum pot.

What are you breathing in that could be causing this type of reaction? Are you living or working in a water damaged building?

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Saassii

Hi Saasii, No damp or anything licked that, must be some type of infection, hopefully antibiotics will sort it out.

Saassii
Saassii
in reply to DenBoy70

If infection then think about where there are large bacterial sources in your environment. If you're hypersensitive all routes of exposure need to be considered and avoided. Old carpets. Dirty window tracks. Clutter. DRAINS. Operating theatres cannot contain a sink or patients die of bacterial infection. The beds closest to sinks on wards have the highest rate of bacterial infection. Water sources outside the home. Plumbing issues allowing sewer off-gassing. Rivers. Swamps. Garden mulch. There's all types of triggers. You'll be super sensitive to some stuff and once your immune system gets hypersensitized to bacteria it'll react to molds too and vise versa. The cell is different but the proteins in the outside are the same so the immune system will react to both....

Green for me has always meant an infection. Amoxillin I can't have as I had a bad reaction to it 25 years ago. Clarithromycin (Klacid) resolved my many many chest infections over 20 years and now I take Taravid which also is very effective. Keep going back if the green cobtinues. In addition I have honey, loads of grated ginger and lemon in warm water, it's amaxing for anything respiratory. It helps keep airways clear.

DenBoy70
DenBoy70
in reply to Emer1000

Hi Emer, thanks for the reply.

I have had clarithromycin before which was prescribed by a doctor at my hospital when I had a really bad chest infection. If the phlegm is still a problem when I’ve finished my antibiotics I will most certainly be back to the doctors.

I do take honey and lemon which is very soothing but have never added grated ginger, I’ll give it a try.

Emer1000
Emer1000
in reply to DenBoy70

Ginger is the magic ingredient ... I only found out about it through this forum recently, it really makes a difference for me.

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