COPD sufferer with very weak immune system

COPD sufferer with very weak immune system

Hi, my name is Jean, I'm 64 years old and have COPD. I seem to catch every single bug going around and it always goes straight to my weakest point, my chest. I'm desperate to keep well, I'm doing everything I'm told yet still every three months yet another chest infection!! How can I keep well, any idea anyone would be gratefully received and implemented to the letter. I'm very low at the moment, can't plan anything, relationship difficult because of my condition, please help someone. Thanks for reading this. This photo was taken yesterday afternoon, it's me at the back.

45 Replies

  • Hi Cheddar52, My doctor told me that one of the side effects of C.O.P.D. is the build up of phelgm on the Lungs, This is like paradise to bacteria, giving the ideal breeding conditions. So I'm afraid there's probably not a lot you can do, its part of having C.O.P.D. you just have to live with it. I've had C.O.P.D. 15 years. things like this worried the life out of me in the early days, but now I just accept it. "Keep Calm & Carry On". Love the bike by the way

  • Just Thought. My Doctor prescribed me "Carbocistene" It thins the phelgm and makes it easier to clear. Might be worth a try.

  • Hi, I'm already taking that, and it does work, just not so well when I have a full blown excaserbation!! Xx

  • Thanks but I take Carbocistine to help with the phlegm, and it does help, I just need to build myself up some how - I need a holiday desperately, but insurance just keeps going up and up with the number of infections I keep getting! I know it's all part and parcel of it, it just gets me down so.

    The bike is wonderful, I really enjoy it - long May that continue!! I can even breathe on it as I'm not excreting any energy, just enjoying the ride and reliving my youth, well, you have to dream don't you!! Keep well x

  • Hi I know how you are feeling I was getting infection after infection and none of my inhalers would help as soon as I came of steroids and abntibiotics I would get another infection I was referred to the consultant at my chest clinic. He did tests and found out I had a low immune system. He has now referred me to an immunologist to see why it is so low

  • Hi, thanks for that, I'm actually seeing my first consultant next month, this immunity thing is first on my list of questions!! Surely if we could all improve our immune system we might all stand a chance of keeping well xx good luck with your tests, keep me updated please. Keep well, fingers crossed for you.

  • Might be worth checking your immune system, as Not-to-Bad suggests. Just bought myself a new bike (well mobility scooter) I used to walk 50 yards...Now I can ride 12miles..Great

  • Good for you, keeping active is good for you xx

  • Hi Cheddar52,

    Look I don't know whether it works or not but hubby takes the following daily.

    Coenzyme q10


    Oregano oil caps (mountain oregano)

    Omega 3. Cap

    Apart from exercising, med diet, and taking vit d during the winter, and of course having yearly flu jab and the one off pneumonia jab.

    Whether it has a placebo effect I do t know.

    Regards JP

    NB he was recently diagnosed with very mild copd one year ago. His fev1 of predicted was 2.89 , recently tested and 3.3. He is 65

  • I take the q10 and the omega 3 but I also add in vitamin d3. My partner caught a stinking cold recently, and I haven't caught it yet, so maybe something is working.

  • That's good. I really can't suggest anything else apart from anti bac gel you can buy from any supermarket to give your hands a wipe over.

    It is difficult - oh I remember that someone takes apple cider vinegar (with mother) and honey every morning. This also a good natural antibiotic. You could also try garlic capsules. Good grief I'll be getting out the cauldron soon!!!


  • I think I will wait and see what the immunologist says. You have to watch what suplaments you take incase they interact with other medication. And over cleaning can cause infections. I was taught that when I worked in a hospital .

  • I agree, you can kill too many bugs then never get to build your immunity, it's hard isn't it.

  • Good idea, the consultant should be able to get to the bottom of it for you.

    Regards JP

  • I will ask if I can take these as well as my normal stuff then, anything is worth a try. Thanks x

  • I have never been told by my consultant to take suplaments. If you eat healthly you shouldn't need to take them. Something that confuses me is I have recently been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis . That is an autoimmune disorder. And they are caused by an overactive immune system.

  • I am also the anti bac queen. I clean everything at work in case others have germs and take it with me where ever I go as a lot of folks have not heard about washing their hands after visiting the loo. It has cut down on the bugs I get :)

  • Yep I do that too xx

  • Thanks everyone, I'm eating loads of natural yogurt, have prebiotic drinks in the morning and loads of juice with extra vitamins in for vitality and immune system, plus I'm eating a more Mediterranean diet, very colourful by the way, looks pretty! I will wait and see what else the consultant says xx good luck everyone with staying well & healthy.

  • Hi Cheddar52 Welcome to our forum where I'm sure you will find information, support and new friends.

    From reading the replies to your post I can see that you have been given some good information/advice so I don't want to repeat anything said already.

    My wife who is a long term COPD sufferer was getting repeated infections and about 18 months ago had Pneumonia really bad. After recovery her Consultant prescribed Azithromycin 250mg capsules which is a Broad Spectrum Antibiotic that can be taken long term. She takes it 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and in the 18 months she's taken it she has only had one infection which was recently.

    If you are getting repeated infections it maybe worthwhile asking your Consultant about it. Both my wife and myself are of the opinion that it has helped her stop getting constant infections.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards. John

  • Thanks John, I've written that down and will ask the question when I see the consultant. I wonder how preventative antibiotics will count with holiday insurance premiums though? Everything seems such a huge mountain to climb at the moment, I'm sure once I see the consultant it might all make sense😏

  • Hi Cheddar52 don't forget to update us all on how you get on.

    Take care.


  • I will, thanks, everyone is so kind and give good basic advice from their experiences, it's much appreciated.

  • I am on this too. It suppresses the infection present in your lungs - its worked great for me but it won't stop you getting infections - I don't think.

  • Pills pills pills. Try fresh veggies from the garden fresh fruit prefer organic fresh fish prefer the one caught on your own line,open brandy or Whisky bottle . I have no more time for pills and potions,just get down to basics,it seems to work, Yes I have stage 4 Copd , I walk four kilometres every day and eat at home ,can't Rember last takeaway , Our lives are so full of chemicals today,but not to worry Have another pill that will sort it out. Have a good day. Bob

  • Hiya, I'm eating more veg & salad than I ever have, I hate all the pills & potions. I go out once a week for a meal which I enjoy. It just takes me ages after an infection to get my breathing ok again, then I have a good month to six weeks and am off again, it's so depressing!! Still I will keep active and smile more, smiling helps you feel good xx take care.

  • @ Seaforth I agree eat plenty of oxygen giving green growing things like watercress, spinach, collared greens, fresh gard

  • @Seaforth cont...& Garlic, onions, new potatoes, carrots etc. Make these organic as far as you can. Organic bananas have many vitamins & minerals not found elsewhere. Also nature's own anti biotic local honey every day & as suggested by Jp1954 ACV with honey & lemon first thing. Also I'm trying a pinch of Himalayan salt in a spoonful of honey at bedtime, which also helps with a good sleep. Pills may be necessary in an emergency, but they have side effects. Some Drs. would just recommend another pill to counteract that, but where does that end? whereas, good food can prevent that emergency. I would never recommend anyone to stop medication, but diet is paramount- what we get out of our body depends on what we put into our body. It is interesting to look up the diet of 114yr old Bernardo Lapallo. Good luck & good love with it all & keep smiling☺Clara

  • A blood test earlier this year showed I was very low in Vitamin D. I took a prescribed high dose for two months and now taking over the counter Vit D. I'm still getting monthly infections but they are not dragging me down any more. I used to have a completely useless week, followed by a slightly better week, then a week off the antibiotics and steroids, then a 'going down hill' week. Since taking the Vit D, the last two infections I've had have almost passed unnoticed. In fact, I saw the consultant yesterday who told me I should be on the antibiotics and steroids right now and I hadn't even realised I had an infection that warranted them!

    My friend has been banging on for ages about Vit D and now I'm a new recruit to the 'spread the word' gang. Ask your GP to test you for it - you might be surprised at the result.

  • That's very helpful, thanks I will do that.

  • That is because the steroids & anti biotics stop our body from metabolising vitamin D properly & they also suppress our immune system to make the strong drugs work. Whereas good nutrition helps to build a good immune system. Although we are all grateful enough for emergency medication, I really wished Drs would pay proper attention to doctoring by suggesting other helpful healthy tactics instead of just scribbling away (it's not even that anymore, but keying into a computer) on their prescription pads for yet another pharmaceutical. Good health is not just about pharmaceuticals.

  • My immune system is suppressed by tablets so I know how you feel. I have found eating as healthily as I can, making sure I always wash my hands after going to the loo, being in public places etc helps. that hand gel is great. However I do think the best thing I do and I know its difficult is that I try and exercise as much as I can, usually swimming or walking the dog. I think it really helps. I know that not everyone can exercise but trying to stay as active as possible is a real bonus when it comes to staying both physically and mentally well.

  • Hi, I walk my dogs for 4km daily, on the sand dunes where I live, I t's hard but I manage it but heck my breathing is bad afterwards, and sometimes I have to sit once or twice, but after I finish i sit back in the car and it steadies quite quickly. I also do all my own gardening housework etc - again with rests. I'm also eating far more healthily with loads more veg and salads. I just wish I could enjoy the walks more with easier breathing. It will come once I'm over this latest do I'm sure it's just getting me down now, I'm impatient!!

  • Do you know what stage of COPD you are at?

  • No not yet, hope to find out when I see the consultant on 5/9/16.

  • If you are walking 4 kms a day hopefully you are only mild or at worst moderate. Good luck with your tests and pray for a positive result.

    Let us know how you make out.

  • Yet another course of antibiotics given today with yet more steroids as infection not cleared in bottom of lung! Did I cry, yes lots, feel very low, fed up by all of this, staying in to avoid people except for dog walks, even my partner is giving me space to get well when all I want is to be cuddled and reassured! He's had a throat infection this last week, passed on by me, so is frantic not to return it with a kiss! I will bounce back I know eventually but this is making me so very low. I can't even console myself with food as I really have no appetite, just got to keep telling myself I will get better and then I can enjoy my life again, I have to stop feeling so very sorry for myself, I feel weak cos I'm not fighting it, but it's hard. Do others feel like this?

  • Hi my name is Teresa, yes I feel like this and get chest infections all the time but low mood all the time , I just want to stay in bed all the time.

  • Oh no Teresa555 you must not stay in bed it's the worst thing you can do you must get up and walk about I know it's hard but we have to do it, I also sit in the garden most days when it's dry, even if I need to wrap up cos the fresh air is good for us. I gave myself a severe talking to the other night after writing that post and told myself to cheer up and smile then others would smile with me - I refuse to be beaten by this disease I know it's very hard - I've lost over a stone in weight in three weeks just trying to breathe - in a funny sort of way it cheered me up cos know I only have about 10lb to lose!!! Not a good way to lose it though😕 Feel free to write again, I hate thinking about you being so low it's the worst thing. Xx get your friends and family to take you out for a car ride at least that will cheer you up just being out of your home - I know mine feels like a prison some days when I'm poorly - especially when friends and family don't come to visit cos they think I need to rest, but we need company when we are unwell too, sometimes they forget that xx try to smile and the world will smile with you xx hugs xx get better soon xx

  • Thank you so much.

  • Thank you xx

  • Hi Cheddar, have you been having your sputum tested? Your doc should be identifying which bacteria is infecting you. It could be that all these anti biotics you are taking are not the right ones for the bug you have. Or the course is not long enough or the dose is not strong enough. Some GPs just keep dishing out broad spectrum anti biotics in the hope they will get lucky. It is very likely/possible that you are not getting lots of different infections. It could be the same one, the anti biotics are knocking it down so you think it has gone while unknown to you it is regathering its troops ready to multiply and attack you again. I am glad you are seeing a Consultant, I hope they are good and will do all the proper tests. Hopefully you will have a CT scan included which is the only way to diagnose some lung diseases, like bronchiectasis which otherwise will be missed. Bronchiectasis acts much as you describe your symptoms and needs proper management. Meanwhile as well as following all tbe good advice on here you must do all you can to get any mucous up and out of your lungs, everyday. You must drink large amounts of water, you must exercise , I think you already do?

    Good luck, I hope your consultation goes well.

  • Hi, thanks for that, I did wonder because of the recurrences whether it was the same infection every time! They did a sputum test last week but results weren't back yesterday! Indent drink enough water I think that could be half the problem note to self, must try harder. Roll on September for some deeper discussions with someone who specialises in this condition.

  • Sputum test results came back nfa!! Mad!

  • Well I see the consultant on Monday afternoon , just want to know what if anything will keep me clear of infections so I can start re-living my life with my partner, holidays away etc. I re-homed one of my dogs this week as I can't cope with her so feel very low at the moment, she's not settling which doesn't help, she's a very loving beagle - 16 months old that I love to bits but I'm not able physically to give her what she needs, agility trying etc as I can't run!! I feel I've failed her and am now having to move her as the new owner can't cope!! I'm so very sad at the moment, doesn't help partner away but that couldn't be helped - pre booked absence, roll on 14/9 when he returns .

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