Antibiotics and Mucus: Hi again, Sorry... - British Lung Foun...

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Antibiotics and Mucus


Hi again,

Sorry I seem to keep asking questions all the time at the moment. I'm still trying to get my head round this world of Bronchiectasis. So I have a question about mucus and antibiotics. I've had Haemophilus Influenze 5 times since feb. The first 4 times I had amoxicillin (500mg 3 times a day). This time I'm on cefixime (200mg 2 times a day). From questions i've already asked i'm assuming that the reason I keep getting H.I is because we're not getting rid of it completely with each set of antibiotics however the first three times of antibiotics after about a week of taking them everything stopped, there was no cough, there was no mucus, if there was anything it was tiny and white and maybe once/twice a day. During the 4th lot of antibiotics the mucus was still there and I would maybe get 3 - 4 tsps up a day in a pale yellow colour all the way through. This time on cefixime, i'm coughing up stuff maybe 3 - 4 times a day. The first time its about a spoonful, fairly thick and yellowy and when I do the cough I get that unpleasant taste you sometimes get. As the day goes on it gets smaller and smaller to the point that it's just a teeny tiny pale yellow dot. I'm 9 days in to my antibiotics and i'm just a bit concerned that this is still going on, shouldn't it have either all gone or it be clear/white? As mentioned previously i've had antibiotics and everything has gone away, is this normal or is what i'm experiencing now normal? I saw the gp and she said that the antibiotics kill the bacteria not the mucus which I understand but then I don't get how 3 times previously it's all gone away and now it's not. I just don't get this illness!

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10 Replies

Hi, it is such a difficult illness to understand! Perhaps a call to the BLF helpline could help answer some of your questions. My husband suffers with severe COPD and I know this is very different to your own condition, but when he goes onto antibiotics he usually needs two or three even four courses to get over an infection. He always coughs up sputum and one way for him to know if he has an infection brewing is a change in colour. I hope you are able to get the answers you need. TAD xxx

Hi hollybobs Sometimes the virus over comes the antibiotic or one type of biotic !It might be worth trying a different type .Amoxicillin is the most common one used .See if a different type will help . all the best

Hi Holly,

It is hard to say what is normal: some have no mucus when well, some have always some mucus even when well. I think just keep with it for a while longer. It sounds like you are getting better, hopefully there will be less mucus every day now until it all stops as you have experienced previously. I have had the same experience as you (diagnosed April 14). Just finished my 5th lot of antibiotics 2 weeks and 1 day ago. All mucus and coughing gone since I stopped last antibiotics (touch wood). Last antibiotics was 14 day course. Do you do any physio to clear mucus?

Let us know how you go. Take care.

in reply to jenss

which particular antibiotic did u take?

Thanks everyone :-) Yes I think I will give them a call, it's so confusing! This is part of the problem I haven't had a stable period long enough to know what is normal. I literally end my 2 weeks of antibiotics and then 10 -12 days later go down hill again and then off we go with antibiotics again. What antibiotic did you have Jenss? Yes I do it for a good 20 mins of an evening, I try in the morning but with getting the children ready for school, getting them to school and then getting to work I don't have much time. I try and do one cycle of the active breathing cycle at home then do it again when I get to work. I have a salt pipe which I try and use daily too. x

in reply to hollybobs

Whats the active breathing you talk about and does the salt pipe work.

Bronchiectasis is a confusing beast. I've had it for 60 years and it still surprises me! With me - sputum is reduced about four/five days into a two week course of abs then when I finish the ab the sputum starts up in a florish for a few days before settling down. I am someone who continually produces sputum - so i tend not to worry until I have an active fever. I would need to be on permanent abs otherwise.

I would normally ask you, on your fourth ab, if you have sent a sample to check if this is still HI but you seem to have the tell tale taste. I once had 3 different bugs, one after the other, each needing a different ab.

Also, bugs are sneaky and hide away in the corners to avoid getting zapped. And they change their makeup too. It is so important to keep up your physio and not let it slip. Ok, I should admit here that I am no angel and have been known to miss a session. Well, life is busy and there is often no time to do it. When I was working it was the worst time - like you school run, work, shopping, cooking , cleaning .... Be warned though, 6 years ago I was 'too busy' rushing around. Too busy to see the doctor or take consultants advice to begin nebulising. Then I became colonised with the dreaded pseudamonas. Believe me you want to avoid that, if the consultant suggests anything new - ask why, don't ask, how can I fit it into my day.

It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things to keep on top of it. 5 times since Feb? - you probably don't want to hear this but, I would consider asking about trying an IV session in hospital to kill off the residue. A pre emptive strike before it gathers strength. I've never tried that with my gp but looking back, wished I had.

Good luck.

Hi Bronchiestictasis is something you have for ever, but can be managed once you get the right recipe so to speak, the mucus never goes away no matter what colour, getting the right antibiotic helps only when you get an infection, you will know this when you feel unwell. i am on qvar permanently as it helps reduce all that mucus, i also have a ventolin inhaler,but what suits one person can be different for another so it is trial and error. The main thing is try not to catch any infections as these can make you really ill. Still trying out different medications at my age 74 and have had Bronchiestictasis most of those years. good luck

This is just all so unfair. I have moderate COPD, no emphysema but I also have seasonal allergies. Spring and fall cause me much aggravation in the mucous department. I am taking a pill form expectorant for mucous and also a liquid form. It works well. If I find some more help I will take that too. Alot will come up and out, but not very often. What really gets me is that Dr's dont believe that seasonal allergies can contribute alot of misery. They can also affect your going up and down stairs, walking, high volume nasal drip, and not have a sign of COPD. Sometimes you have to be your own doctor and read and research and try try try. Good luck to all of us. Zelda

Hello I know it's been a very long time since you've posted but I was wondering how you are doing? And if anything worked out. I have been sick for the past few months with hib, finished a z pak, in the middle of Am0x-clav and now the coughing with nasty taste is back....afraid pseudomonas may have settled in! Hard to function when you feel like this!! Hope you will come across this post again !

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