RECURRENT CHEST INFECTIONS Hello. I'm not sure if anyone can help me?

I'm 28, I have asthma and allergies and have had these since I was in primary school. I've lived with these for years but for the last 10 years I've also had recurrent chest infections, some years more infections than others but always 3 or more. To be honest I'm never entirely sure if an infection has totally gone, I think I just get used to living with it. I cough all the time, mostly producing - my boyfriend always knows where I am in a supermarket because he can hear me coughing. The asthma/allergies/coughing can make me tired etc but the chest infections are really impacting on my life and getting me quite down. I think it sounds like bronchiectasis but the scans (xray/CT) are clear. I've been put on long term azithromycin to prevent infections, but I've just had to stop that to take doxycycline as I have a chest infection now. I take seretide 250 twice a day, montelukast, citirizine also. For the past year I have been struggling to get rid of Haemophilus Influenzae. It would be great to hear of any advice or if someone is going through a similar thing? Thankyou.

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8 Replies

  • Gem, I also take Azithromycin but do not stop taking it when I need to take my rescue medications.

    I was told to keep on taking Azithromycin.


  • Thanks Therese, oh I don't know but my immunologist told me this so I'll keep with it - perhaps it's the specific antibiotic that i'm on? It all gets quite complicated!


  • Haemophilus Influenzae does not look like a good thing to have as it appears a nasty one to get rid of. I used to be off school every term near on when I was at school. with bronchitis it was not until my twenties that they decided I was asthmatic (some GP's were still treating asthma sufferers with valium)

    I would keep onto your GP and see if there is anyone else in a specialist department that could help.

    I found I had worked with asbestos for 10 years and had RLD confirmed along with other problems but it was a fight to get to the point I am at now.

    Be Well

  • Hi your symptoms sound similar to me. Ive had exactly the same treated as asthmatic for twenty yrs (late onset when i was 30) im not allergic to normal things cold and dry heat ..rapeseed fields sprays and exercise seem to be my triggers . I was ok till five yrs ago and like you infections took hold always in my left lung (had pneumonia when i was 28 in it) been treated by gp then after three yrs missing xmas was referred to consultant got new inhaler to add to seritide ventilin montekulast atrovent same time i was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis so had steroid injections for pain which also helped my breathing. Then this winter came late in dec as opposed to oct but has been worst ever. Ive now been transferred to another consultant who says not asthma ...chronic bronchitis im back to see him in a week as im still not right my gp thinks it is still asthma so piggy in middle. My chest x rays ct all clear too and like your other half my hubby follows the cough!! Its draining ....exhausting my gp gave me some medicine to help sleep but all that happened was id cough far worse nxt day so stopped taking it. My peak flow always good around 450-500 but cant get above 300 now. Keep in touch hope you get some relief and answers love Judith xxxx

  • Thanks Offcut. Did treatment for asthma help the infections then? I'm glad you fought for your diagnosis and now get the medication that you need..

    I've finally got a doctor to listen to me, which was a mission in itself to find. I've been under specialists in the past but get discharged... I've moved house quite a lot too, which hasn't helped. Hopefully my current immunologist will have the answers, she seems pretty awesome to be honest and is looking into more possibilities. I wouldn't be where I am now under the immunologist if I hadn't fought to be referred. I'd like to see a chest specialist again too. I'll be opening the champagne when I one day know the reasons behind it all - hopefully before I turn 30!


  • Hi Judith - Sorry to hear that. I've also been told in the past that I don't have asthma due to good peak flow etc - who knows! I had tests for RA but they was clear. Sorry to hear you have RA; I appreciate it's a very painful and intrusive condition. Have you asked to be seen by an immunologist? I was coughing up a lot of blood due to an infection and requested to see an immunologist. My doctor wasn't quite sure why I asked but I was so scared and at the end of my tether. I wasn't referred so went again, this time with a family member who could get across what I was struggling too verbalise. I find you get so wrapped up in it and used to symptoms that you start to forget what's normal and what's not. Anyway, I was referred and I feel like I'm getting somewhere at least. It may be worth a shot, as apparently it looks like I haven't got immunity to encapsulated bugs - so if I can get this fixed it may reduce my number of chest infections. My worry is that there's damage to my lungs already , which a scan hasn't picked up on. Do you have any food allergies too? I cut down on gluten and it's really helped my chest being less sticky as well as energy levels. I'm also v.allergic to nuts. Also v.allergic to cats. That rapeseed has a lot to answer too, I swear the majority of people are allergic to it! Gemma

  • Your symptoms certainly sound like my diagnosed bronchiectasis (+ asthma and allergies). But even if you did have a bronch diagnosis likely treatment would be azithromycin anyway. Like Dangirl, my consultant says don't stop with the azithromycin when you are on other medicines. If your allergies are of the rhinitis kind this makes more mucus that sits in your lungs for the infections to breed in, so you need to be on top of these too. (for me the best anti-histamine is beconase). It can be a really viscious circle sometimes. You really do need a good chest (thoracic) consultant who is going to consider all your issues- get to the GP and insist on a new referral.

  • Hi Gemma no not seen immunolgist. I just cough rubbish no blood thankfully. Ive had all usual allergy tests including horse (as we have 2) all normal which i knew as dont react to anything other than what i said previous. My meds now include a steroid nose spray which is helping abit but i cant shake the cough at all or get peak flow up. I am exhausted but each time i say that dr s say oh its your rheumy !! Or im unfit ...which i am to extent as sat in chair since dec to march as so ill. Im normally very fit do fitness training with personal trainer once week but ive had to stop due to coughinv fits i ride my horse 4/5 times week as well she must be sick of me coughing on her!! Its degrading too as get stress incontinence through violent coughing fits. Ive never smoked im clear for alpha 1 . My youngest daughter has severe asthma. I asked for antibiotic long term but dr said no only emergency antibiotics . Im much better on antibiotic so will ask consultant when i see him. Just got to keep at them i suppose xxxx judith

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