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Recovery time after flu triggered asthma exacerbation

Bridie108 profile image

Hello folks, wondering if anyone has any experience of this?

I am 43 and have had asthma since I was a child. As an adult it has been largely well controlled and mild ( with periods of no inhalers, and others needed to take a preventative steroid inhaler). In December 2019 I caught flu, and ended up hospitalised for 10 days with an asthma exacerbation. I was on nebulizers several times a day, plus oral steroids. I wasn't in ICU.

When I was discharged I was told it might take 3 months for my lungs to recover. It has been over that now and they still feel no better ( I had slight improvement, but it has got worse again as I recently had a cough and chest infection).

I am on high dose meds ( just started Relvar 124 and Montelukast, after being on Fostair 200) and am having phone consults with out patient respiratory team. They seem perplexed as to why it is taking me so long to recover ( as am i). I am usually fit and healthy, am active, do lots of yoga/ breathing exercises etc.

My lungs still feel very inflamed and I often cough up mucus ( clear). The consultant is talking about me going in to the clinic for another x ray, bloods etc, but obvs I'm v reluctant to do this atm as the idea of being in a hospital in a city during the Covid outbreak seems unwise, given how my asthma is now. But I also really want to know why it's taking so long......

Has any one had any experience of recovery taking this long?

Thanks very much in advance for reading and any replies

5 Replies

What a difficult situation for you. Do you have a community hospital you could go to for the x-rays and bloods? I only ask as my husband is having to self-isolate but can go to a small community hospital nearby to have his blood taken (he needs to have it monitored every month) rather than the main hospital which has acute beds, intensive care etc. Or can they be done elsewhere?

I had flu a couple of years ago and it did take me several months to improve. I don't recall my cough getting worse. Although it does vary over the year because of pollens and the birch pollen has been high recently on sunny days.

If it is getting worse not better then you may need to be checked. Hospitals are still having to see people with other acute conditions when absolutely necessary and are taking all the precautions they can. Hope you feel better soon.

I've been in and out of hospital now for about two months with my asthma. Needing g nebs and iv antibiotics etc. My consultant has told me it could take a bit longer to get better now because I was on steroids too.

Also the change in temperature hasn't helped. It's gone from very cold to very mild here and temperature can also be a factor in asthma I was told.

If you have what's app or can call the asthma uk helpline they may be able to help with your worries they are very good nurses who have helped me a lot.

After a chest infection that I would normally recover well from, I just couldn't shake off the symptoms. I was very phlegmy, wheezy and breathless for months. I just got used to it as I was working and the doctor's tests showed no infection.

Out of the blue my hospital respiratory team phoned me asking if I would take part in research as I had a specific asthma. I said I was too poorly and the research nurse asked me to come in so they could see if they could help.

Long story short - they prescribed Azithromycin for four months. They ran tests before and after. No infection but I responded very well to the antibiotics. My chest cleared right up.

The consultant explained that the treatment was developed in Japan and taken up by Australia and then the UK. For some reason some asthmatics respond well to this treatment even if they no longer have a chest infection. I now can have a course each winter, if necessary. I haven't had to have any antibiotics since then, two years on.

Hope this helps.

How are you getting on Birdie108? My story is similar to yours. It's been unsettling to not be able to shake something off & return to my usual morning cardio etc. Not a scenario I'm used to with my usually mild & well controlled asthma.

I've had a change of meds ( to Montelukast and Relvar 184, plus spiriva respimat, which I was already on), and these seem to be really helping. My r3covery was slowed by a chest infection/bad cough/sinusitis) but now that has cleared my breathing is feeling a lot easier. My peak flow is still low (350, compared to 450/500 before), which is strange as my chest feels better than this indicates.....the respiratory nurse I spoke to couldn't explain this, but I'm going to monitor over the next few weeks and see what happens.

How long since your exacerbation?

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