British Lung Foundation
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Hi all, I have COPD which I believe in early stages though of late getting worse as I have had one virus after another

the first one was a very bad bout of Sinusitis which also ended with a cough so had some antibiotics which appeared to clear things up a lot then wham, within a few days went down with another virus this one very nasty as it has given me conjunctivitis for starters which the doctor said is viral, bad sore throat but worst of all is the coughing, it feels as though there is a load of stuff to be shifted but will not budge, my head and body hurt through coughing so much, when I saw the doctor he confirmed it to be a virus but gave me a prescription for prednisolone 5mg to use if no improvement. Well I think that point has come as I don't really want to end up in hospital which the doctor mentioned briefly. So my question is having used prednisolone in the past for joint problems and vowed never to take any more I am now desperate so can anyone explain how the steroid can help my cough and breathing as I will have to take it if I know it will help.

By the way I am 76 so no chicken and only using ventolin inhaler as others I have tried have such awful side effects and I believe the last one Spiriva triggered my sinusitis.

I will phone the help line later on but thought I would ask you all first as you really do seem to have experienced just about everything that can be thrown at you and you are all so helpful.

6 Replies

If it is any consolation my husband seems to have just jumped from one illness to another this year. Last count five courses of antibiotics and three courses of steroids. The steroids definitely help him when he has an exacerbation. They appear to reduce the inflammation in the airways and make it easier to breath. The downside of course is the side effects - for him last time he got pretty cross and very hungry! The upside is they seem to be a necessary evil for his recovery.

My husband finds that the ventolin gives him very bad cramps at night so the Doctor prescribed him Bricanyl as a reliever and a combined inhaler called symbicort.

I would suggest you do get advise from the helpline - You can call the helpline on 03000 030 555 Lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. As it is Friday it might also be an idea to see your Doctor again or talk to him/her on the phone. Wishing you a very speedy recovery. xxx


Hi, I hate taking steroids too they make me feel so ill and I get no sleep so I avoid them if at all possible. I have the same hacking cough, cough so hard I see stars have had it for at least 5 weeks, doc gave me some antibiotics last week and I am taking carbocisteine tablets and although I feel better in myself I still have the cough, waiting on her phone call today, I hope she does not suggest steroids.

I am sure the BLF will be able to help.


Hi, I'm sorry you haven't had many replies of support.

As I understand it, the pred helps with the inflammation therefore opening your airways a little.

I too cannot bear to take it, however, if I was suffering as you are then I would be very tempted and take them very early in the morning in the hope I wouldn't get the palpitations at night. I (personally) might reduce the dose.

Normally I would just use my inhalers more. I'm allowed to double my Seretide dose instead of taking Pred at times of need

I'm wondering if your worsening coughing is down to the present air quality?

If I were you, I'd be working on my immune system to help combat all these things you're getting.

Anyway, good luck, I hope you get some relief soon.


This may be shutting the stable door too late, but rose hip tea has been found by research to help improve immune function, and should not interfere with meds. I tried it and couldn't stand the taste (even with sweeteners in), so instead I take a teaspoon of rosehip syrup every morning - not proven by research but it seems to have helped cut down the infections I've had since taking it to one in the past 2 years instead of 3 a year. Since EU legislation about health supplements the product is hard to get hold of but I bulk buy from Lakeland.


Hi there

I have had the same virus - and am now on my third dose of it. I have had to use prednisolone twice now - a five day course, then a seven day course. It did help my breathing a bit, I was struggling to walk 15 paces without gasping. I use salbutamol in between. I am still coughing, but it seems to be tailing off again!! I have COPD so am

used to things going to my chest, but this bug has been really bad. I hope you feel better soon 👍🏻



First, are you sure it's viral and if not, why didn't you have antibiotics prescribed? A standard procedure is ABs plus 30 mg pred daily for 5 days. You really want to knock it on the head ASAP as these infections take us progressively down. I have to confess to being pred dependent (10 months now), usually 5 - 10 mg a day, the devil's tic tacs as someone referred to them. But the point is this, that if they are used when necessary, they actually work in keeping the airways freer and reducing sob. Take them as per doc's orders and if you have a negative reaction then you can always stop.

Oh, and can I also recommend Echinacea and Elderberry tincture to keep the immune system strong? I add to that 2 teaspoons of Manuka honey plus the usual supplements (Calcium, Vit E, magnesium/potassium, High strength Vit C). Neals Yard do the Ech/Eld tincture and they will do it over the phone and post. It's not cheap, but what price a strong immune system? All the best, Bob


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