British Lung Foundation
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How long does it take?

I have had this chest infection since the beginning of April. I am on my fourth set of antibiotics yet still I have this hacking productive cough. Usually worse at night.

The experts at the surgery keep giving me contradictive advice. The respiratory nurse tells me not to take antibiotics or use a neb. The doctor says yes do!

I turn to the experts on this site for help

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7 Replies

Why not give the BLF a ring on 03000 030 555 I am sure they will be able to help.

polly xx

Contact BLF helpline. Personally nebulisers do help in the case of hacking cough. Others find they need steroids to clear up a long term productive cough. I am sure you will get more suggestions later on this site

The sputum samples guide which antibiotics doctors use and when (always take the full course given) the bugs they fight can change though many are colonized and have the same one come back again.

My husband has just finished his third course of antibiotics - looks like we might be needing a fourth course! Firstly when he is so ill he can't go to the Doctors so we were using emergency meds., then he felt well enough to see the Doc and she prescribed a different antibiotic and suggested that if this doesn't work to take a sputum sample in.

I did call out the respiratory nurse and the advise she gave us was to use the antibiotics and steroids (do you have steroids as well - these sometimes help my husband). Always use the neb. with both salbutamol and saline. The saline seems to help sometimes. She also told us to use the nebuliser as much as he needed while he had very poor breathing usually caused by coughing. Also that he can take his inhalers more. AND suggested that he was prescribed carbocysteine to break down the mucous.

I also stumbled on manuka honey - one teaspoon in hot water as much as he liked and that seemed to help.

AND if this is any consolation the nurse was telling us that this year particularly they have seen a rise in chest infections and stubborn infections that are not clearing up. Good Luck. Talk to your Doctor again. AND please call the helpline they will be able to give you some good advise.

Take care. TAD xx

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You need the micro biology lab to tell them what's growing in a sputum sample, that's the only way of knowing which antibiotics are going to help. Some of these bugs are fighting back so you really need lab tests to know

The GP told me to increase my steroids to help clear the dreadful cough and neb with saline and salbutamol to free up the rubbish, seems to work for me.

He also mentioned a virus that has been around and antibiotics do nothing for.

As everyone says ask the experts at BLF

Oh dear, sounds familiar to me, I was like you since the new year through to 3 weeks ago, had 7 lots antibiotics and steriods, it was really getting me down but it was most to do with the bad winter we have had, I was on Amoxycillin and changed to Doxycillin , that seemed to work for me plus my nurse changed one of my inhalers, sometimes its a change of meds that is needed, hope you feel better soon, summer is coming too.

Ju x

All the comments have been extremely helpful and most importantly, supportive. I hope I am not tempting fate but I think the cough is not as bad today. The proof will be when my head hits the pillow. Sleep without sitting up straight would be heaven

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