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British Lung Foundation
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Hospitalization for COPD exacerbations?

It would be really useful to hear from members who have been to hospital for COPD exacerbations as to exactly what the hospital did and the drugs used, the length of stay and at what stage you were discharged.

If you would rather not share private details openly, I would welcome private messages :)

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Hi scrobbitty hope alls well with you? Im afraid the last time I had a stay in 5* was 10years ago now luckily for me. Ive had a few A&E visits where ive stayed for a few hours and been nebulised a few times and although they have wanted me to stay have always fought to come back home,and considered myself lucky that all has been well.So Im not much help to you really but there are loads here who have been in Im sure they will be here soon. Hope your ok :) Janexx

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Every experience helps Jane, bless you for answering :) xx

Not too fabby dabby at the moment but still alive and that's what counts! xxx

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Sorry to hear your not well are you in the 5* at the moment scrobbitty?Please take care and get well soon, these ruddy lungs of ours! :) Janexx

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LOL not yet but ........... weighing up pros and cons of whether to make the call or not. :) x

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So feeling quite bliddy rough then,difficult init you know yourself better than anyone! Maybe a short visit might help with iv abs etc to give you a kick start back to recovery especially if this is going on a bit and your getting weary with it?Dont be to brave sometimes we have to accept a little outside intervention?If you do dont forget to take choccy supplies with you :p Janexx

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Bless ya Jane will see how I go since I can actually breathe again - Saturday/Sunday not so good but that was then and this is now LOL xxx

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hello just wondering how you are feeling today,xx

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Awww thanks for asking junespoon, kind of you :) Today is much, much better; still got the cough but the gunk almost done, no aches, kidneys fine and even more importantly I had a cup of coffee and enjoyed it! xx

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Hi

Having had a exacerbation whilst visiting my daughter, I was rushed to local hospital, where there administered two doses of nebs via oxygen at 2 litres and 4 litres also three injections of steroids. they worked on me for twenty minutes before I was back to normal. this was followed by ABG arterial blood gases test, followed by x- rays. I was the moved to the AMU acute medical unit, which in this hospital is a three day monitoring unit, where you are monitored 24 hours checking sats and blood pressure every 2 hours. Day two I had my second ABG. As my own medication was not available I had nebs at 10am and 5pm I declined at 10pm.. On the third day I was discharged with a course of Prednisolone 4 tablets for five days. Wait five days then see own GP.

reason for admission "non infection exacerbation"

The time spent in AMU may vary my own local hospital as reduced the time to 8 hours. at which time you will be admitted to a ward or sent home. ...

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Stone, you are an absolute star and many, many thanks for your reply; it was exactly the sort of information I was after. Much appreciated. x

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hi ya . I was in hospital about 3 weeks ago .kept me in in 8 days in total . had few problems cause I have ipf and asthma and copd they started me on nebuliser for the first few days then rest of time was taken up with tests .must say they really do look after you . but some times you have to ask what they are doing and why . I had to have anti biotics by a drip and new pills . was told to have a travel bag as it could happen again . I think you shouldn't worry every body is different .im just happy to still be here still plodding along . I am now going to rehab twice aweek to try and get me more mobile . lots of luck and keep on breathing

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Tobydoo, thank you also very much for your reply, it seems about how I figured it might be but it is so helpful to actually hear of someone's personal experience. Again, much appreciated x

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Hi scrobbitty, Pete was last in hospital with a copd exacerbation in Jan. 2012. He used his own drugs plus had antibiotics via iv. He had an 8 day stay. Hope that helps and hope you are ok. Take care. Thinking of you. xx

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Cheers Sassy, have been hit by a virus that went absolutely loop the loop in my entire body and left the lungs for last (should be grateful for small mercies!) I think it has done it's worst - at least I can actually breathe now instead of gulping for air - the steroids and my usual antibiotics reacted violently and made me very very bad which is why I was asking about what they gave/did to you when in hospital. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer. x

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Gawd, I really hope you're on the side of on the mend Scrobbity. xxx not well myself but it's nothing compared to this bout of yours :( it sounds awful. Get well soon. Peeg

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Thanks Peeg, I am on the right side of repairing I think. Rotten that you are feeling not well too - it's not great fun being a member of the Poorly Club is it. x

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Hope you are on the mend now scrobbitty. Thinking of you and wishing you well. xxxx

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I'm winning sassy, well I think so, still breathing so that's definitely winning LOL x

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My doctor and community nurses know I'll do anything to stay out of hospital! But the last time, it was IV anti'bs, nebbed and back home in under 24 hours, and that's when I had pneumonia. I also got injections, but couldn't really tell you what they were for, as I was a bit poorly, and the notes I got sent home with, were soon whisked away by the community nurses, back to the surgery.

My advice is don't wait, give them a call, best to be safe than sorry. They won't keep you in longer than they have to, as beds are a bit of a premium these days. Take care x

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Hi usually you should have emergency medication steroids antibiotics once you have signs & symptoms take them as keeps you out off the hospital. The only time you start exacerbating & you have taken all your meds & have shivery temp is when you need hospital & if on top off that your emergency home meds did not have an affect . At least you know absent temp shiver flu signs you have no infection . Excerbrarion absent without a temp you need to ensure you are taking inhalers regularly . I myself have managed all above without admission to hospital. However I did have a temp came on unexpected plus with emergency medication not kicked in & because off excerbrations & short off breath unable to breath in my inhaler example I could not suck in water out off a straw . Couldn't breath speak a sentence was when I knew I needed to go hospital & out off hours Gp sent ambulance. Anyway that's just one off my experience . That was New Year's Eve 2016 . On admission received Iv antibiotics nebulisers via mask . Hope it helps Bernadette

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Thanks Initial for your reply; having heard from a few people who have gone through the hospital process and how I am now reacting to drugs and inhalers, I think on balance a call and a home visit from the GP is the best course of action at the moment especially since the critical moment has passed. x

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Always difficult to decide, isn't it. My last stay was for three days, when I took my own meds and had my sats monitored, because they had dropped very low for no apparent reason. Discharged when they stabilised, three days later. Apart from the ABGs there was nothing I could not have done at home and there were so many really ill people on the ward I despaired of getting out without picking something up! Still, my family felt reassured, lol.

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Toci, thanks for your reply and your take on it. Even when I got so bad I actually thought that this is 'it' my sats stayed at 93/94! My worry was that they would put me on steroids and antibiotics which I am having a severe reaction to at the moment and it seems my worries were correct! I suppose if nothing else, it shows my immune system still has some fight in it - so not all doom and gloom LOL. x

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When I was admitted I told them I didn't take steroids as I have a seriously bad reaction to them. Nevertheless, once on the ward they brought me some tablets to take. I asked what they were (good job!) and was told they were steroids. I said I was allergic and they took them away. I was brought them again 4 hours later and again the following day. I asked that they make a note somewhere as I did not want to take them unknowingly. You just need to tell them what you will not take, but be prepared to have to keep repeating it!

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Excellent point, Toci, thanks for the heads up - I need to get the issue of the steroids and antibiotics sorted out sooner rather than later I think for future problems, which no doubt will occur, so I'll start with the thoracic GP and see where I get to. x

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On the other hand, sometimes a hospital ward is the only place to be and I was certainly not trying to discourage you from seeking medical help when you need it. One breath at a time, scrobs. xx

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Bless you, I didn't think you were trying to discourage me. I think the danger zone has passed, possibly temporarily, so one breath at a time and make forward plans I think. Your comments have been very helpful x

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I had similar experience Toci. Am allergic to penicillan and told drs this but one gave me some but fortunately i checked it first. Took me a while to get them to put it on my notes. Make sure you tell your doctors and insist it is on. It would be dangerous for you to take them. Glad it was ok in the end.

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Last consultants appointment I had an exacerbation when she tried to examine me,they decided to admit me.Had to wait all day for a bed to be available,all they did was put me back on steroids which I,m now having trouble getting off,only in for two days.Next time I,ll stay at home .

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Hi FarmerD, thanks for your reply too. Fascinating how it varies from hospital to hospital. Hospital for you obviously not the best experience and you're right, they didn't do anything for you that you couldn't have done at home. x

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Hi Scrobbitty my experience has been more or less like the others above.......BUT I have the feeling that unless I am critical, they would next time like to give me 1v ab's by me going to the hospital every day and not being an in patient

You may not be able to do that if you re-act badly to anti-biotics...but it is also possible to have a nurse come and give you the iv at home

Its good your sats are ok ish..keep an eye on them and don't mess about if they fall down to say 88/90 you will need to call them in then I think

I do hope you feel better soon...but even though you don't want to, if you NEED the hospital...then that is it YOU NEED the hospital

Please look after yourself

Love Sohara

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Thanks Sohara, the one thing I was scrupulous about the whole time was sticking the oximeter on my finger and checking, especially during a not breathing attack and two minutes after. The sats were remarkably high considering the state of my breathing. I think a telephone consult with one of the two GP's who understand my condition would be a very good idea and failing that, the good ole BLF nurses. x

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Hi scrobbity, I think one of the advantages of being in hospital is that your SATS, blood pressure and temperature are monitored, and if there are any problems they can be dealt with quickly.

I have been admitted dozens of times now. Can you discuss your worries about your medication with your respiratory practioner. My SATS can be ok and I still have problems breathing which can be misleading. Take care and I agree with sohara.

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Hi knitter, thanks so much for your comments. Definitely come to the conclusion that the very least I must do is discuss the meds problems with my GP and as I said to Sohara, if that is not successful, the BLF nurses will help me further no doubt. x

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had a few exaberations in this last year, the last one being a few weeks ago, my breathing got worse, could barely talk, pressed my alarm button i wear around my neck, the helpline alarm folks coudnt make out what i was trying to say, ambulance called within minutes, given oxygen and nebulisers in the ambulance,they gave an ecg, taken to a, and e, given injection of frusemide ,steroids and anti-biotics [i think it was] took artelial blood gases injection, oxygen, nebs and steroids given , then found out had bladder retention, catheter bag fitted, kept under observation with oxygen, then spent 9 days in the ward, sputum sample taken, positive for infection, antibiotics given.they gave me sleep tests/studies found my oxygen levels dipped badly when sleeping or at rest, came home with catheter bag on, oxygen was in the house when i got home [neighbour was in for this being delivered],,,,,,,hate hospitals, but had no option there, and was really thankful for it,,,,jimmy

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Yikes Jimmy, you went through the mill there didn't you. I think this scare has now made me think seriously about putting 'plans' into place in case I get to that stage again. It was a bit dodgy for me over the weekend but I did manage to get through it after the initial panic I had to force myself to get some breath. I wasn't able to call the ambulance at that time, the phone was nowhere near and like you, I couldn't speak. Because I was on my own at the time, I had no option but to use every single trick I had been taught and have learnt through experience. However, I'm not daft enough to realise this is never going to happen again but I will be prepared for it this time. Thanks for your reply, really appreciated. Best wishes and hope you are mending too :) x

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hi scrobs, hope your feeling much better, :) but i was like you, the day previous i knew "something was wrong" and even although i hated hospitals, i packed a hospital bag "just in case", but the following night,,,, bang, i knew i was in trouble,, but all,s well that ends well,,, im still here :)

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I'm so very glad you are still here, life would be much duller without your fabulous attitude to life. That's a tonic in itself! Alive and nearly kicking today LOL :) x

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hi scrobs, i am kinda glad im still here myself :) ;)

but i can imagine how you felt, just like me, you feel lousy , yet hate the hospital :) but glad you "dodged :)" it anyway, hope your improving day by day,,i,ll need some tips from you,how to dodge the hospital lol :) there,s nowt to beat your own kip:) and to be able to put the kettle on whenever you want:) ,,, but just keep a bag handy to be on the safe side,, you keep improving now, scrobbitty, all the best,,jimmy xx

liked the NEARLY:) kicking bit ha ha,, just like me,, ...anyway at least were STILL:) kicking lol,,jimmy :)

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At the moment Jimmy, it's sheer will power keeping me out of there plus the need to sort out why the steroids are reacting this badly otherwise it's pointless going there LOL. Go us for still kicking and laughing eh :) :D xxx

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dont know where my post went to?? posted it a minute ago:) maybe it was me,,.. nearly seeing double now,,,dead tired :),, not much sleep last night,,,,,,,,,,,,,anyway scrobitty ...yes its best if you can laugh, shout,and kick,:) :), but dont do it in the street :) :) or it wont be hospital,, it,ll be the "other place" :) :) but you might meet me there:) :),,

but seriously you do need to get this sorted out, as im sure you will know,, wonder if the blf could help, maybe worth phoning 03000 030 555,, worth a try, but you will need to do something,,is your gp any good? ,,,,,,,,i have just read trough the posts and see that this has been mentioned,, but best do something my friend or you will finish up in hospital, i dont mean to sound morbid, i really admire your determination, but sometimes enough is enough,,, foods a lot better now though:) :) look after yourself,,, best regards,,jimmy xxx,

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Jimmy, you really are a love :) x Thanks for thinking of me, you have no idea how much that is appreciated! My GP is excellent but I think a call to the BLF would also be a great idea, after all two heads are better than one. :) xxx

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hi scrobbitty, that was really nice of you, :) but i think we all know how you feel, i hope the symbicort helps you,,,,and you recover soon,,,,,the tea is lousy in the hospial lol :)....jimmy xxx,

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Sorry to hear you are ill scrobs. Havent been in hosp with exacerbation ever so far so cant help. Hope you are feeling better very soon. x

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Thanks coughalot, I've managed to escape hospital too so far! Seem to be repairing (hopefully) x

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Morning Scrobbitty, I hope you are starting to feel better. My husband has only been hospitalised once (so far!) and last April he had a dreadful infection but I managed to keep him out of hospital - which apparently was due to our care. (She says blowing her own trumpet!!) The hospital visit was an absolute must at the time, he had had a severe allergic reaction to a drug given by a locom which increased his cough, increased his SOB and gave him hallucinations!! The hospital were fantastic put him straight on oxygen, arterial blood gas test, straight on the neb and used that back to back for an hour or so. Monitored him - out the next day.

What did I learn - that we had to have a plan. The good thing was we were given a loan nebuliser by the hospital (one of the conditions of him coming home so quickly). We have the emergency abs and steroids - first sign of an infection they are started. If it is getting close to the weekend and he is at the end of courses of tablets - I ring the doctor and get either a new prescription or an appointment. We use the nebuliser with saline as well as salbutamol which seems to help and use the oximeter. As long as his sats are staying above 88/89 when resting - then I think its ok. I also adopted a system of writing down every time he takes any medication including Sats results, SOB, and symptoms including time and date - for two reasons - the doctor and for my peace of mind or not. I can work out if he is getting worse or marginally better!

Recovery is very slow for him when he is ill. I believe that you have to listen to your body but also be realistic - none of us want to go to hospital (especially my husband) but armed with written details you will know if you are getting worse.

Take care, wishing the speediest recovery TAD xxx

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Oh wow Tad, what a comprehensive reply, thanks so much. Yes, a woman with a plan is a force to be reckoned with! Under normal circumstances my plan works perfectly, I still do down but it is under control. This time was radically different in that the emergency steroids and antibiotics made me a hundred times worse. Panic would be an understatement I think but when I was at my worst I was incapable of even phoning for an ambulance, never mind speaking. Time now for making Plan B and possibly a Plan C - to cover all eventualities. Off to try and speak to the doctor to get those plans into operation. Your help above is invaluable :) x

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3 days to 3 weeks (depending on severity and other factors such as flu). Blood gasses taken, sats etc. IV steroids, antibiotics, paracetamol, amonophyllin. Oxygen and nebulised inhalers (if you see what I mean!) and saline solution. Think that's about the lot!!! Hope you feel better soon!

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Thanks Struggle for your kind reply; it seems as though pretty much everyone has had similar experiences, which in all honesty I pretty much knew anyway but needed to hear from people who had actually gone through the process. Personally, I can handle things far better if I know in advance what is going to happen. x

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Oh dear Scrobbs you have been through the mill,do hope things are looking up now.

Yes,if you can be prepared,it does take some of the panic out of it,I found!

As for having an allergy,over here,,you wear a red band on your wrist in hospital,so staff are aware of an allergy.Also all your med records have big red warning signs on each page,so no excuse for mistakes!

Anyway,you take care,& get yourself fit as you can again,love & hugs Wendells xxx

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Cheers Wendells, just waiting for the doctor to phone to see if we can pull a plan together. The allergy band is an excellent idea - I think I need to get back to level normal and then maybe try a dose of steroids to see if it has the same effect cos if it does, gulp, that impacts hugely on future treatment. Am I downhearted? I was, but I'm all okay now LOL x

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I have had several trips to hospital with really bad exacerbations, the admissions department are very careful and run lots of tests, depending on what they find depends on what happens next. Usually a short stay in a AMU ward to keep a close eye on you. By then a consultant is usually on your case, he / she will ask for all sorts of tests and examinations, the sputum test results will tell them which antibiotic to use. My consultant likes to keep me in for five or ten days depending on the antibiotic. You can expect visits to x-ray and a cat scan these just help the diagnosis. They will take a blood sample nearly every day to check infection level. Luckily all the tests and checks have enabled them to give me better medication and treatment. It's not the most exciting place to spend a couple of weeks, but at least in my case they have made life so much better.

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Thank you so much Moneal for this great insight. All of the answers above are helping me to formulate Plan B, and C for when things get so bad I need to get to the hospital.

I have just spoken with my GP who has confirmed there is a Grade A awful virus going round at the moment; in fact she had it and she can't walk up and down the surgery corridor to collect patients due to wheezing so badly! She confirmed I did the best thing I could do which was to take Symbicort as a reliever and confirmed that up to 12 doses is fine (that's Symbicort 200/6) which is just as well because for the moment that is the only option I've got drugs and inhaler wise. I've got an appointment with the respiratory nurse in April and she will help sort out what to do in a panic LOL. x

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I forgot to say that forward planning is very important, I have to take quite a few different medications, my daughter who is a nurse and suggested we use a medication chart like the hospital, a simple list of what you take, what size, and what time. Then add a box to tick and say what time you took it. This includes pain killers.

Next keep a box or bag with some of each your medications in it, they must be in their original packing so they have date and batch number on them, in an emergency the ambulance crew can grab them and the list, saves a lot of time and worry as the crew then know what it is safe to give you. Put a note on the list of anything that you have had a reaction too. The team that assess you on arrival at hospital will be over the moon it saves them hours of work. Visiting out of hours doctors find it invaluable as they can see at a glance what you have taken that day. Once you are admitted the pharmacist who visit the wards will be very impressed as it saves them a lot of work.

I use excel on the computer to make the list and print off a new one each week.

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Another excellent suggestion - I think after the fright of me just not being able to say a word that would be the ideal thing to have. The horrid realisation that things would typically go horribly wrong when I was on my own has made me sit up and take notice but it's like everything else in life, until you experience a thing you wouldn't contemplate a plan just in case. x

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Although not diagnosed with COPD, i do have Bronchiectasis and have FEV of 47% so I suppose I have a type of COPD.

For what it is worth when I get an infection I usually need a hospital stay of approx 3 weeks and use nebuliser with Ventolin 4 times per day plus IV of Meropenan 1,000 mg three times per day plus physiotherapy.

Over the last five years this has happened each year although I did get a break of two years without infection, hence no hospitalisation!

Hope this is of use to you.

Stay well. PS my favourite bird is the Puffin!

Tamara

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Thanks Tamara, in all honesty any experience helps - now, more than ever I think I need to find out whether the very bad reaction to steroids was just due to the virus or if it may be ongoing because that is obviously one of the main treatments in hospital. Will discuss with the respiratory nurse at the beginning of April and just keep fingers crossed I can stay on an even keel until then. x

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Forgot to mention, I get steroids as well starting off with 40 mg for five days, reducing each day by 5 mg and then stopping.

Tamara

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In the US I have gone to the ER and they took blood for test, chest x-ray, always 02 (I'm on 24/7) and this really good inhaler (through the mouth) that works wonderful. When I'm better, an hour or so, they send me home. Sometimes they put me on prednisone. I now take that 5 mg every day. It helps, but not a real answer. I think I am at the stage of no return and there is nothing much they can do...

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Sorry to hear that Salis, keep on smiling though, it's not the cure but it helps :) There is a real need now for better research to provide far better management or dare we even say it, a cure. Everything is possible :) x

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