My GP wants me to have a Spirometry test as had too many chest infections!

Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum, only joined last weekend. Anyway, been suffering from another chest infection, so doc put me on steroids for 5 days (first time ever) as my oxygen levels were extremely low, also Amoxicillin 500mg and told me to use blue inhaler up to four times a day. My breathing is much much better but still have the cough. I do smoke, but am desperately trying to cut them out altogether. Tried Champrax last year, but to no avail. They made me feel constantly sick, spaced out, nightmares and depressed. My doctor told me that I can't have the test until my chest is clear, but I'm still coughing and have finished steroids and only one more day on Amoxicillin left. My question is, should I return to doctor for my antibiotics if cough doesn't clear, or just book the Spirometry test with the nurse?

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25 Replies

  • if your no better after abs have finished, book in with your gp asap,and having an infection you might not get a spiro test till its completely cleared up,xxx

  • Thanks twiceshy3 , thought that might be the case.

  • Spirometry should not be carried out until 6 weeks after chest infection has cleared I have been told please check with doctor that is still the method used.

  • Good Morning and Welcome! I care for my husband who has severe COPD. My advise would be to go back to the doctor. We have always been told if not completely better at the end of the antibiotics to go back. It may just be the tail end of the infection, it can take my husband a couple of weeks to return to his "normal" health. Having said that one thing I have learnt - is that it is better to air on the cautious side. As I understand it you are supposed to be clear of antibiotics for a couple of weeks before having a spirometry test - but the BLF helpline would be able to give you better advise on that one (click on the red balloon in the corner). I know you have heard it before - but you need to give up the fags! Good Luck TAD xxx

  • Hi... Have you tried an e cig ? I gave up smoking 7 months ago with one, I was a heavy smoker for 40 years.. I never thought i would be able to give up, I loved my fags too much lol ..Jan xx

  • Hi lilysausage, I have one at home which I bought from the supermarket but not getting along to well with it. Perhaps you can give me the name of the one you are using, as there are so many on the market to choose from. Must admit, a couple of friends I know have done really well on them too. Will power is what I need!

  • Hi London64 I think you should have the spirometry test. There are lots of people who are undiagnosed with COPD. If you do have it the sooner you start treatment the better. Too many with it left it late to get a diagnosis and end up severe. You don't want to be one of those do you? With a cough I generally find if your mucus is clear then the treatment is working. Not always so if you still feel sob (short of breath) and wheezy it is best to go back to your doctor.

  • I gave up smoking 3 yrs ago after smoking 20 a day for 50 yrs,so if I did it so can you,I weaned myself off the dreaded weed with an e ciggy have another go with yours you will get there, you just have to have your mind set on doing it, good luck. My breathing is so much better and I have had no infections,fingers crossed lol


  • Hello London, from my experience my COPD nurse will not attempt any tests until a month from the end of meds to treat an infection. As for ceasing to inhale the output of the evil weed please ask your GP for help. It is hard to quit, I know, I was an expert puffer for 40 years. Good luck !

  • A spirometry test is not going to help the cough, you might need a sputum test to see which antibiotic will kill the particular bug you have. Don't waste. time as some of these bacteria once they get established seem to be almost impossible to get rid of

    I am one of the lucky ones with a great GP service and a marvellous consultant who take the time to talk to each other even out of hours .

    So I can phone in to my surgery and get good, proper advice from an expert. Yesterday I woke up with a really bad back, not good when breathing is hard already, I spoke to the duty doctor and explained my problem, 'Don't try to get here' he said 'we will come to you' within an hour a charming lady doctor arrived, she was brilliant, took the time to do a proper examination and to discuss the best painkillers and how best to use them, plus which of my normal meds I should change slightly to get the most benefit.

    When I read some of the posts on this site it really makes me cringe, the last thing we need is a medical service who don't seem to care, with the attitudes we read about I would imagine the hospital wards in those areas must be full to overflowing with people who, if their GP had had the time to see them could be safe and well at home.

    I am really glad we moved to Devon where I can honestly say the service given by the NHS is the standard the rest of UK should strive to attain.

  • Thanks for that,I'm thinking of moving. So the standard is higher.although once in the hospital they are brilliant ,but if there was better care outside we may be able to stay out.

  • Glad that you're getting the help and support you need when you're unwell. Can't say I've ever experienced anything approaching the service you've had - how can one practice manage it whilst others are so inept? Perhaps Devon will have a sudden influx of us!!

  • An excellent post Moneal. My GP and Consultant are the very best. Before I retired I had Company BUPA, the same consultant who I now see in NHS role. I get exactly the same brilliant help!

    I am now recovering from a broken hip. The NHS Ambulance crews, the Doctors, Nurses,Physiotherapists AND the Tea Lady were absolutely marvellous even with major staff shortages! If only all our NHS trusts were so good.

  • Hi london64, sorry to hear you feel so rough still, I find that Amoxicillin is no good for me, need some thing stronger when I get infections, the ciggys don't help, I know its tough but you would feel better if you could get rid of them, I gave up 6 years ago after 20-25 a day and my cough has gone unless I'm poorly, I have severe emphysema and do get infections in winter months and out of breath when active, you don't say what stage you are at with copd, go back to gp and ask for another antibiotic, hopefully you will feel better soon, take care.

    Best wishes Jude x

  • Just stop the tobacco ,it is killing you. When I stopped my whole life opened up,I began to live again,amazing the benefits there are.,just to breathe again.

  • Thanks for all your replies, but as I've said, I haven't been diagnosed with copd as yet until I have the test done. But due to the amount of chest infections I've had over the last couple of years, my GP suspects I may have it. I'm back at work now after three days off sick and unfortunately work in a classroom, so prone to all the germs that kids bring in. After work each day I walk my dog for about a mile, so obviously no where near so bad as some of you sufferers on this forum. If my cough continues, I will ask for different antibiotics as Amoxicillin is all I ever been prescribed and going by some of your replies, they don't get a good report. Monel, you're very lucky to live in a part of the country where you're not over populated. I live in London and my surgery is a group practise, so very rarely get to see the same doctor.

  • vicks 1 st defence spray from boots,spray each nostril 2 ,3 times it will stop the cold before it starts also if your in a classroom with kids,amoxillan is rubbish,xxx

  • Amoxicillin treats bacterial infection a cold is a virus a poster in the doctors said not to use for the wrong thing or they will not work when you need them.

  • Never give up wanting to give up,always hope !

  • hi london, just like to welcome you to the site, most questions have been answered in the above posts.

    i have been on amox and steroids this last week,im slightly better, but room for improvement, but if no better by the weekend i shall ask my g,p to take a sputum sample, then get the proper ant-biotic for the exact infection,,, anyway, hope your feeling better, and hope you get things sorted out,, kindest regards,,jimmy

  • in reply both to your own post london, and my previous post, i have been on amox, and 40mg steroids since last sunday, my carer phoned my g,p again this morning as i was slightly worse, its quite amazing when your not quite yourself in forgetting your own advise,especially when there were other health issues to be resolved at the same time.

    my g.p called [unfortunately not my own one] although very nice and helpful, has now put me on another 5 days of amox, and more steroids, dropping from 8 to two in the next 8 days.. my thoughts are now, to leave this to monday, see how i am, and if no better, shall call her out again [hopefully this would be my own g.p.] and have a sputum sample ready for her to test, i feel the amox are just not doing the job after being on them for nearly a week. i would suggest you are right in what you say, london, if your cough gets no better, see your g.,p again, ask for different anti-biotics and maybe delve a little deeper,,, i think it does make a difference when you can see the same doctor each time ,one that you can trust, but off course this is not always possible,, i do hope that cough is somewhat better, and hopefully your g,p has given you a different treatment, that works for you,, regards,,,,jimmy

  • Hi, New here too. Had asthma most of my life, one attack nearly ended it. Stopped smoking 12yrs ago & felt the benefits straight away, easier to breath & food tastes better too. The asthma turned to COPD with a super cough when excercising & plenty of infections. I can not take a spirometry test until a minimum of 5 weeks after bios & steroids are finished. Like a lot of folk I have emergency meds if an infection strikes, just need to inform surgery when using them. If you WANT to give up smoking you will. Nothing is easy. I got by saying '' Today I am Not having a fag''. Good luck

  • I have said it before, giving up smoking is easy, and I had done it dozens of times before. Then one morning while driving in to work, I was coughing my heart up and trying to light my pipe at the same time. 'This is just b------y stupid' I thought; and chucked the pipe and the lighter into the door pocket. It was not easy, I won’t pretend it was but because I had decided in my mind and was not doing it to please someone else, somehow it increased my will power to stop. It took my family ages before they noticed, having nagged me for months. In the twenty years that followed I have lit one cigar, took a couple of puffs and stubbed it out. Hypnotism can help, but only if you really want to stop. I did not use patches or electric cigs (I don’t think they had been invented in those days) but like controlling panic attacks it just needs anything to take your mind off it. I did notice that a workmate had put a sign on my office door saying ‘Grumpy bear lives in here don’t feed him cigarettes.’

  • Hi London

    My copd was diagnosed last October. Symptoms were a very bad cough and frequent chest infections for 2/3 years. Didn't go to docs as I wanted to avoid the smoking lectures. Clever or what .?

    Cough got so bad .... was having coughing spasms, spluttering and wheezing 24 hrs a day.

    Diagnosed mod./severe copd and put on spiriva inhaler ....did not seem to have much effect on cough.

    HOWEVER quit smoking 3 weeks later and guess what. ? COUGH disappeared in 2 days !

    Had smoked for 48 years up wasn't that easy . The biggest incentive was not wanting a return of the cough .As well as feeling ill it was becoming embarrassing and I wasn't wanting to go out.

    Though I am now 63 I feel fitter than I have for years .

    I quit with Champix (only mild side effects ) and the Allen Carr ..".Easy way to stop smoking " .

    ' Other people seem to be finding e cigarettes the answer. It has to be your decision .

    Whatever you decide Good luck.

    Cheers Coastal

  • Hi welcome to the site.

    Your doc is probably right that you have copd. If you do have it you will deteriorate relatively quickly unless you stop smoking ASAP. If you don't have it, you will soon unless you quit. Hopefully you can read here how awful it can be.

    Those e-cigs come in different strengths so you can taper down to zero nicotine.

    People say changing you routine and habits around smoking helps. Good luck with it.

    Re infections, not many here will accept amoxicillin because it simply doesn't work. GPs have to give it as their 'first line of defence' so just tell them that as a smoker trying to quit you need something stronger and specific to your infection. They should give you a pot to put your sputum into to get tested.

    We have all learnt to be proactive with our various conditions. For ie, you don't wait for appointments, you make an emergency one, when the receptionist asks "is it an emergency"? you say "yes, I need my chest checked urgently". They must see you, you could end up with pneumonia.

    One thing about smoking is that it lowers your immune system so you need to do everything in you power to rebuild it.

    Good luck, I'm in London too. P

    ps. If your GP is crap ask around for recommendations for a good practice

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