British Lung Foundation

Should I take steroids?

Hi, I`ve caught a sore throat bug a couple of days ago but now have a broncitis cough so I started taking antib`s from my rescue pack yesterday. I`m not too sure whether to take the steriods as well, my sats are ok around the normal 95 mark but my breathing is more laboured and noisier than usual. Does anyone know the BLF helpline no? I was going to ring them to ask this question but I`ve looked round the site and can`t seem to find it.

9 Replies

I think a lot of us get confused, me equally, I would prefer to take my inhalers and steroids first to open my airways. Antibotics are my last resort as I fear they will have less affect in the future. From what I have been led to understand is that antibiotics are not going to help unless a secondary infection has set in.

Talk to your GP for the best advice.

xx Ros xx


And ask your GP for a sputum pot, so you can expectorate mucus and have it analysed. Ask as well that the microbiologist determines which medicine is effective against the bug.

Antibiotic will mask your sputum,so I would stop it and cough up in the pot after 24 hours, so there are more chances that the bug will show up. Good luck.


Hi SusieQ I can only tell you from my experience with my husband - he always needs steroids with the antibiotics and bitter experience has taught us better earlier than later. He has just started another course on Sunday but this time is trying 4x 5mg rather than. 6x 5mg for five days. If in doubt give a call to your doctor or even the blf helpline. Wishing you the speediest recovery TAD xx


Helpline no is 03000 030 555

They will be open in the morning

Is your gp' surgery still could ask them for advice or ring 111


I always take both Susie and let your nurse know you have. If I'm no better 3 or 4 days after finishing meds I get onto the nurse again. Don't take any chances. BTW, my sats are always pretty good even when I can barely breathe, I'm known as a "retainer".

Taken from


Encourage people at risk of having an exacerbation to respond quickly to the symptoms of an exacerbation by:

Starting oral corticosteroid therapy (unless contra-indicated) if increased breathlessness interferes with activities of daily living.

Starting antibiotic therapy if their sputum is purulent.

Adjusting bronchodilator therapy to control symptoms.

Give people at risk of exacerbations a course of antibiotic and corticosteroid tablets to keep at home. Monitor the use of these drugs and advise people to contact a healthcare professional if their symptoms do not improve.

Hope this helps! Libby x


Hi Susie, couple of previous posts which may help you:

Self Management information (see lothian respiratory link to PDF document from this post:

I think the management plan applies to anyone trying to identify a lung infection, always best to get first hand information from your own GP though.

BLF Contact details:

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Take good care BC

1 like

hi Suzie

Over the past few years I have toyed with some times just taking antibiotics and no steroids but I have found generally that it takes me longer to get better and I usually end up taking them within a few weeks any way. the trouble is we all react differently.


I have a heavy cold and bad cough, I go every 48 hours and have my chest listened to that's the best way to deal with it, DR's are always happy to give you 5 mins to check before taking AB's... I used an inhaler that helped but as a rule I go with the Dr's before I use my emergency AB's. Hope you feel better soon xx


hi if you click mouse over the red balloon you can get there number but l have been on steroids for this chest infections if lm put on antibiotics l automatically get steroids so not sure if this is gonna be right for everyone but l know if you have a chest infection that's what they normally do hope this helps


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