self help for my son with chronic lung infection

my son had a spontaneous pneumothorax at 17 which left him with scar tissue on the lung - his physical weakness is always his lung. He is now 23. His student digs this year have been horrible - damp and dirty conditions and he has developed a chronic infection, that has been ongoing for months and no amount of antibiotics are helping. He has been referred to a consultant but presently we don't know if he has anything more worrying than a propensity for lung infections - however now he is coming home I am at a loss as to know what I might do, if anything, by way of home treatment - that can help him get stronger. I realise, rest and a clean house will be the surest things - but wondered if anyone had any tips for a worried a mother to offer the boy. Thank you in advance. Heather

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  • Hi There, I feel for you and your son. I take manuka honey, I think it helps with keeping infection at bay. Also he could take Echinacea herbal remedy to help with colds and chest infections. Obviously the worse thing he could have done was stay in a damp environment, but what's done is done and I suppose it is a hard lesson learnt. I hope you find find some help for your boy. M x

  • thank you for this. The house itself was clean enough to start with - his housemates alas were not. Unfortunately, it appeared that his bedroom is the only bedroom affected by mould and damp - we didn't know until the winter progressed and then he couldn't get out of the contract. We are paying for him to leave his diggs and get a new flat because he has been in a sad and deteriorating way and I worry for him. I will try your suggestion for the manuka honey and the echinacea while he is home.

  • The infections are awful...I seem to have had one every other month these past 15 months, so I am always on the lookout for things that might bring one on! Being around people that are sneezing, getting wet and not changing clothes quickly, ....the usual things one tries to stay clear of . I now find that humidity, feeling really cold, newly cut grass, anything with a chemical smell such as cleaners or hair spray,e tc., or even perfumes affect my lungs...I am not saying they all give me an infection, but they sure make my breathing more difficult! It's a learning curve and I have never been so aware of all these things before....I take vitamin C and Manuka honey......I am new to this group but I seem to talk a lot - just thought I would tell you what affects me. I do hope your son improves and try not to worry TOO much, but being a Mum I know that is a stupid thing to say to a Mum :)

  • I think my son have to do as you have done, and work out if there are any other triggers other than the obvious one of the flat. Stress is possibly a key one. I will worry though - it comes with the territory :))

  • Stress is definitely not good! Hope your son takes full advantage of being home and cosseted :)...and let's hope it will start to sort things out for him. Good luck to you both.

  • I really feel for you because this happened to my son 2 years ago. His second year at uni, his house looked lovely, his bedroom had been freshly painted.

    Unfortunately they had just covered up the problem and not done the necessary repairs. By the time he came home at xmas he was unwell. His gp had sent a sputum sample off which showed he had aspergillus - come's from black mould. They gave him an extended course of hard hitting antibiotics but it took him ages to get rid of it and he failed his semester exams. It must be especially difficult for your son with already compromised lungs.

    When we took him back we took a bleach cleaner (and a mask for me!) and cleaned all we could see. The best thing we did was buy a dehumidifier. We had taken damp readings in his room when we picked him up and they were very high. He used the dehumidifier and kept cleaning with bleach and things improved.

    He still had a niggling cough a year later but seems ok now. I do hope your son manages to throw this off. I'm sure being at home and having time for R&R will help greatly. My son still managed to burn the candle at both ends as often as he was able to so home comforts were definitely the best for him.

  • My son's room was perfectly painted and looked very nice - but it didn't take long for it to deteriorate. I am looking forward to him being home. There is a young man who shares the house and he has chronic eczema and mild asthma - both have deteriorated. These landlords aught to be held accountable for this - but I think I am rattling an empty cage.

  • I thought about tackling the landlord myself and complaining loud and long but my son didn't want me to get involved! In the end the landlord did fix the guttering which was causing the problem. The dehumidifier worked very well, even his housemates were sharing it as all rooms were damp. They wouldn't put the central heating on as it was expensive and they were drying their clothes in their bedrooms so the house would be damp. The amount of water the dehumidifier took out of the air in a day was amazing. He had a machine like a thermometer which took humidity readings. I read online it shouldnt read higher than, I think, 60ish his was 90!

    He will get better when he gets home but I would send him/take him (difficult when they are over 20!) to your gp and ask them to screen him for aspergullis - be sure to mention the black mould. Its a nasty bug when it takes hold in the lungs. Just say someone else got it in similar situation and you are worried.

  • You might find he improves once he is at home in a damp free environment. If not the best thing you can do for your son is get him to a doctors and insist on some action. Manuka honey is very expensive and not proven to work according to a recent tv programme. Some people swear by it though so it's up to you if you want to try it. x

  • I hope that he improves when he gets home. My son ended up with the coldest bedroom in winter and his health gradually deteriorated. I made him take vitamin C 1000mg every day and a good quality multi vitamin - because I figured that he probably hadn't been eating properly. I would personally go with the manuka honey, I have found that it works and the bottom line is - it wont do him any harm, Morrisons do a cheaper one which seems pretty good. We bought my son a fan heater for his room which he then gave to a housemate who came from Malaysia and was finding it very cold!!!!! I am sure a good summer at home will set him straight. TAD xx

  • My daughter went to university the first year she was in the halls her room was just breeze block walls not even painted and she had ice on the inside of the window we sent up some electric heaters the meters were spinning. Students tend to live on pasta I think when he comes home give him good food and after a few good nights sleep he will be back to normal, good luck

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