Non stop this my future?

Hello again - I have recently been told by a locum GP that following my xray which showed hyperinflated lungs that I have COPD - no spirometer test given. Since then I have had a non stop chest infection, my heart is racing and my body aches with so much coughing. Is this how it is? Will I ever be able to stop coughing like this? Is this what it is like to live with COPD every day? I feel as if I got really ill ever since the shock of diagnosis. I had no idea that I had this condition as I have never been breathless and I am fairly fit. I am drinking lots of lemon juice in hot water with ginger added plus I am continuing to swim every day but nothing is shifting this horrible chesty cough. Any advice would be most welcome. Still coming to terms with what I can look forward to in the future. :-(

26 Replies

  • Hi Alison. Maybe you need a different antibiotic.

    Everyone is different, but I was diagnosed with COPD 8 years ago and I never cough, only when I get a chest infection and I've only had 2 in 8 years, so don't despair. If you can get on top of your chest infection things should improve.

    Take care.

    Pam XXX

  • Thanks Pam - that is reassuring, I was not given any information about what I should expect from COPD on a day to day basis.

    Ann xx

  • Sorry Ann. Don't know where I got Alison from. Predictive text, lol. XXX

  • I never even noticed haha! x

  • Hello Ann, I totally agree with you that when I was diagnosed with COPDi was given literally NO information. I've learnt everything that's worth knowing from this site!! I even asked my local doctors to put up BLF leaflets for others to read. They did do a display but sort of under duress! It would be good if we were able to be sat down and told what's what at the time of diagnosis wouldn't you think. Take care.

  • Hubby diagnosed 3years ago ,our surgery has a copd nurse who only job is to do yearly face to face appointments ,and give support through the year ie he had a inhaler that caused him to cough left message at surgery had call back same day from copd nurse and we shorted it out. So my advice would be back to surgery in person if possible ask about copd clinic .

  • I don't know if they have a respiratory nurse at the surgery or not - no one has even explained about the different inhalers. First I was given a blue one but didn;t know how to use it. Then the 'surly' doctor gave me a brown one saying I had to use it for life until I needed oxygen. Don't know if I have to use one or both?? Overwhelmed with it all. Lots of good advice on her though. Thanks for your message.

  • Hello Ann

    Go back to your GP and explain everything to him.

    He should be able to sort you out with the correct meds to overcome your infection, and also various inhalers for every day use, to ease your symptoms.

    I have Copd and Asthma, l have to cough every now and then to clear the mucous, but once that's done l am ok .

    My GP also gives me emergency packs of antibiotics and steroids to keep at home.

    You don't have to live your life like that...there is so much to help you.

    Get back and see him asap.

    Good luck


  • He was such a surly GP that I don't relish the idea of going back to him. I am in a surgery where you have to phone by 8.30 to get a telephone consultation with a GP later on in the day. As I work in a clinic myself, I can't phone at 8.30 easily nor can I answer my phone as I will be with patients all day. I know this sounds really silly as I work for the NHS but I still feel very vulnerable as a patient. I feel a tad overwhelmed with everything at the minute.

  • Sorry to hear you are feeling overwhelmed, there will be a lot of support and advice on here, but, I am afraid if you want to get the right Meds and treatment, you have to make time to see a GP, if need be take a day off work.

    You will feel much better, there is so much that can be done for you.


  • I agree with everyone else go back to the doctors and take a sputum sample so they know which bacteria they are treating as it does sound like you still have an infection

    In all honesty i would hold back on the swimming till you feel better im not sure thats the best place to be when your immune system is a bit low with being ill ...

    Ps no , it will not always be like this you will feel lots better when the infection is gone

  • Thanks for your encouraging message. It is very reassuring that the cough will not be with me forever.

  • Hi getting a diagnosis like this is always shocking but you will learn to deal with it in time as we all do. You need a spirometry test to determine how advanced your copd is and this will give you, among other things, your lung function. Are you on any ab's? Maybe you need steroids as well to clear it. Go back to your doctor or respiratory nurse and get the information you need. Let us know how you get on. x

  • I hope so, I'm still reeling a bit with the news. My GP has pretty much left me to my own devises. I have no idea if there is a respiratory nurse there or not. Other than the spirometer test on the 14th Dec there have been no further appointments offered. Thank goodness I found this site though as there has been a lot of good sound advice.

  • H Ann, as might have been mentioned before, it is very unusual to diagnose copd without a spirometry test. Hyperinflated lungs can come from asthma as well as copd. Try to get a sputum sample done as everyone says, and Id endorse Mandy's point about swimming just now - your body needs to rest to clear the infection.

    There are standard "pathways" set out which indicate how to treat copd and they are slightly different as copd progresses. This is one reason why the spirometry test is so vital. If your current GP won't refer you for one, please ask for a second opinion, you're entitled to this. You could call the blf helpline on 03000 030 555 and talk it through with them, then you'd have that back-up to give you confidence to ask for the second opinion.

    Im severe (stage 3) and also have asthma and bronchiectasis. I only cough stuff up from my throat due to reflux, not copd, unless Im ill of course. You probably know that copd covers both emphysema and chronic bronchitis and most people have mainly one or the other. With chronic bronchitis I think you would be likely to cough more - I have mainly emphysema so not sure - but you really need the right tests to understand what is going on. Keep in touch and let us know . . . :)

  • Many Thanks for your message - giving up swimming is like giving up eating :-( I do think it makes sense though so I will cut back from the pool for now. I have a spirometer test booked for 14th Dec but I may cancel until after Christmas as I can't seem to get rid of this infection. GP would not give me antibiotics - he just announced that I had COPD and said later on I would be able to have oxygen therapy - pretty much ended the appointment.

  • Your GP sounds awful no wonder your so upset....Its not true that everyone with COPD uses oxygen he is wrong about that ...There are many many members on here that do not use it.

    If you do have COPD and you still have an infection you probably need another course of antibiotics so i really would go back with a sputum sample

    You really should try to go for your spirometry ...its important for your diagnosis

    Please ring the BLF helpline they will let you know all this .....03000 030 555

  • Mandy is right, Ann, that many with copd never need oxygen, it's very individual. Yes, you'll get it if you need it in the future. Does your GP not believe you have an infection? There is pressure on them not to over-prescribe ABs and he may be taking this a bit too far. Is your sputum discoloured? That would be an indication that it's a bacterial infection, in which case you definitely need ABs.

    Above you say you've had no advice about what the inhalers do. If Im repeating what others have said, then apologies.

    The blue one will be a bronchodilator to take when you are breathless - and the brown one is likely to be a preventer which will be made up of a combination of corticosteroid and a long acting bronchodilator. That one should be taken regularly and when you've taken it for a few weeks you should notice an improvement in your breathlessness - it takes a while to build up in your system. Also your inhaler technique should be checked - everyone needs this to see that they are taking them correctly. Also please gargle after taking them, especially the brown one, as they can cause mouth thrush which can be very painful.

    I completely agree with the others about the swimming - the chlorine could well be irritating your airways. At least try a few days off just to see if it makes any difference.

    We have all felt overwhelmed, shocked, all that, when we got diagnosed. This will pass I promise you. Just keep in touch and ask anything you want, and next time you see your GP, see if there's anyone who can go with you - that can work wonders for your confidence, and will show the GP that his surliness will be witnessed - they don't like that. :)

  • Hi Ann, others have given you lots of good advice and I can't add to it but I just wanted to say I hope you get it sorted and are feeling better soon :) x

  • Thank you x

  • Hi Ann, I had a very bad cough, for around eight weeks, after my infection had cleared up Probably because I used to be a smoker and had to clear the tobacco gunk out first, but now I hardly ever cough at all, I just have to do a little growl to clear my throat occasionally.

    Take the advice others have given, return to your GP and ask for a spirometry test. You cannot receive the right treatment until you have had this.

    Swimming? I would be inclined to say stop. The chlorine fumes may be irritating your lungs causing excess mucus to be produced. Keep exercising, just walking would do the job for now until your condition has stabilised.

  • Thank you for your message - it does make sense not to continue with swimming but I would find that next to impossible to do, I am addicted to the pool and have been a keen swimmer for most of my life. At the moment I find it helps me with the stress of work, looking after my 90 yr old Father etc. You make a valid point though - I shall ease off a bit with the swimming and see if it helps.

  • I have Asthma and COPD, my airways have got more and more sensitive to " Triggers " which make me cough.....the smell in Chemists, change in temperatures, air fresheners, candles, a really bad one for shopaholic me the fibres in the air in Clothes Shops 😂 to name a few, but what really starts me off is the Chlorine smell in swimming pools....l am a keen swimmer, but l know it will start me off.

    Addict or not 😂 l really would recommend giving it a miss for a while, until you get your infection under control.


  • Hi Ann, There are non-chlorine swimming pools, maybe you could do a google search and see if there's one near to you (don't know where you live). I'd be very reluctant to give up something that I really enjoyed, part of dealing with lung disease is continuing to do what makes you happy. I continue to do gardening, albeit slowly but I get the required result in the end. I hope you get your cough sorted and begin to feel better. Joy.

  • Hi Ann. You have had lots of good advice and you are prolly a bit overwhelmed. But just one more - when you go Bach to the GP (hopefully you can see a different doctor in the practice) take someone with you. Even if they don't say anything, I find a friend or relative a great support when faced with the bullying type of doctor. And try to write everything down so you don't forget. Best wishes, monkey

  • I agree with everything said already. I don't have COPD (I have sarcoidosis which is different) but I produce mucus in my lungs all the time. Your mucus production may stop if you get the right antibiotics, but if not (and in the meantime) you could do active cycle of breathing technique to help cough up the mucus. I was taught it by a physiotherapist and I do ACBT in the morning and evening. It has completely changed my life as now I don't cough during the day. There is lots on the internet about ACBT; this is a good site v=XvorhwGZGm8

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