recurring chest infections

recurring chest infections

I have suffered with asthma for 20 years now, but about 4 years ago I started to develop regular chest infections. At first they were once in 8 weeks, and now I am lucky if a get a week after a course of antibiotics ends before I have another one. I am really worried, because I know what happens in you take too many antibiotics. I also had a broncoscopy about 6 weeks ago, which said I had strep aureus. I have to take 2000 mls per day of penecillan for 2 weeks. But that is all they found. I just don't know what to do. I have never smoked, I don't drink, so why do I keep having them infections? I hoped by joining this group I might be able to get some answers, or at the very least find people who are going through the same as I am, and then we could support each other.


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19 Replies

  • Hi Judith, I too used to have many chest infections and carry my emergency antibiotics and steroids at home. I also take turmeric for arthritis which helps enormously and as a side benefit I haven't had a chest infection this year. Check out turmeric users group on Facebook it might be worth a try. Good luck.

  • We have turmeric at home and it didn't really help my arthritis as maybe I didn't take it long enough. What form are you taking it? I will have another go

  • I make a paste of tureric coconut oil and black pepper the recipe can be found on Turmeric support group on FB.

  • Hi Judith. Did you really mean strep aureus? I haven't heard of that species of strep & can't find it listed. Or did you mean staph aureus? That can cause a very nasty lung infection and it could be that this has been plaguing you for a long time. Hopefully the antibiotics will see it off. I've never smoked either but I still have lung problems, which started with asthma & progressed to constant chest infections so that, like you, I was living on antibiotics. A few years later I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis but this proved a good thing as I then got the correct treatment. I hope you have a good consultant who'll get to the bottom of it all, but fingers crossed two weeks of antibiotics at a decent dose will do the trick.

  • Hello Judith we are all here to support each other, not sure how to answer your question. But I am quite Sure someone on here can. Please keep posting and let us know how you are. Take care 😊 xx Bernadette

  • Welcome Judith 1959, sorry to hear your having repeat infections. Maybe your lungs are a little weak from years of asthma. Hope you are feeling better soon. I have Asthma but also COPD don't know what to say, maybe a little extra vitamin C . Do you take a preventative inhaler, if not maybe that's what you need. Best Wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • hi Judith and welcome I too have had recurring chest infections however mainly through the winter. I have slight bronchiectasis and have been diagnosed as asthmatic. I have found that changing inhalers helps me even if only through one winter. I am now on Fostairnexthaler which I began in November As the particles are fine , they go deeper into the lungs. I have been well through this winter after an extremely nasty chest infection September through to the end of October. We are all different and respond in different ways. I hope you are well soon.

  • Good morning Judith, I often wonder that myself how I get so many infections as I hardly go out the door , due to health , I think once you're immune system is low it's harder to fight of even the slightest of infections , my family don't even visit if they are slightly unwell, there doesn't seem to be any rim or reason ,

    I hope that you are feeling better soon,

    Loraine x

  • Hi Judith,

    Have you looked into vitamin D? The majority of the population has vitamin D levels that are too low. Vitamin D deficiency is closely linked with asthma and other obstructive lung conditions. If you raise your levels of vitamin D, this could help you reduce asthma symptoms, fend off infections and it's great for overall health.

    The Vitamin D Council recommends supplementing with 5000 International Units (IU) a day for adults in Western countries. Different experts have different opinions on the ideal blood level of vitamin D, but between 50 and 60 ng/ml seems to be a decent level. Some people push it up further to 80-100 ng/ml. Most experts advise not to go above 100 ng/ml.

    It is good to get your blood levels of vitamin D checked (25-hydroxy vitamin D test; abbreviated 25(OH)D), so you know your current status and can work towards a target level that you set for yourself. The Vitamin D Council has this convenient webpage where you can check how much you should supplement given your current level and your target level:

    Progress towards the target is easy to monitor with said blood test. It takes a while to build one's vitamin D levels up so no need to worry about building them up too high very fast. Patience is needed and results may only become apparent in the longer term, though many people already notice improvements in the short/medium term. If you don't feel like having blood tests done, you can just go with the general recommendation of 5000 IU/day. Personally, I am taking 4000 IU/day in order to take my levels into the 50-60 ng/ml zone and I would not go higher than 8000 IU/day, but some people take much more and claim to have great results.

    IMPORTANT: The human body needs vitamin D3 (readily available over the counter), not D2. If you take vitamin D, you should also take magnesium (400mg/day) and vitamin K2 (MK-7 type, between 50 and 200mcg/day depending on whom you ask). See links below for more details.

    I find it a disgrace that most pulmonologists do not inform lung patients of this; it should be basic treatment.

    Don't take my word for it. There's a whealth of information out there, both scientific studies (often contradictory) and patients' stories. The links below are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Some more links that may be of interest:

  • Hi , like you I have repeated infections, hopefully the medication will clear your infection and you will begin to feel better. I have been told to avoid people with coughs and colds - not that easy!!

  • hi all,

    aint it nice to meet a few folk who have the same conditions as yourself and all trying to help each other

    I too suffer with the same conditions but cos I only retired in the last two years I just thought it was me getting old

    regular chest infections are a real bummer as wen you go to the docs its antibiotics and steroids for a week or two but I feel that the antibiotics aint strong enough as when you are just stating to feel a bit better the course runs out

    Hope you get better soon Judith

    And thanks to all for the different ideas

    best wishes to all !!!!

  • Regarding vitamin D, there are already several stand-alone posts about it on the forum, e.g.:

    If you talk to a doctor/nurse about it, be prepared to find blatant ignorance, as several fellow board users (e.g. Bumley, SeasideSusie; see below) have experienced first hand, just like me.

    Note that different measurements are used to talk about vitamin D (ng/ml or nmol/L). Important to be aware of this when interpreting test results.



    I first started to take Vitamin D3 after I had read an article that said research had shown that it was likely that people with COPD tended to have low levels of Vitamin D. My GP at the time (I have sacked him and move on now) was not interested and told me I shouldn't get to excited about what you read on the internet. I had a test done by an NHS Hospital which does a home finger-prick test for £25

    Mine came back showing I was severely deficient with a reading of 10. Adequate is greater than 50. I went back to my GP and he huffed and puffed and eventually gave in and had me tested by the NHS and this confirmed it. He started me off with a 6000 iu daily for a month and then 1000 iu a day as a maintenance dose. My level went up to insufficient 42.

    He would not do any more so I took over and since last July have been taking 2500 iu per day. I have just had another test and this showed insufficient. I now plan to increase my dose to 3500 iu daily.

    At least now I have not been severely deficient and I have felt better. During the summer I was sunbathing without sunscreen for 20 minutes a day, obviously that's not possible in winter. I am retired btw so have the time.

    I have multiple health problems such as COPD, Diabetic on insulin, a recent by pass with continuing unstable angina and Hypothyroid. There seems to be an abundance of evidence that Vitamin D is essential

    One of best sites I have found is

    Hope this helps





    kimmy59 Too much Vit D can lead to too much calcium in the blood (hypercalcaemia) which can weaken bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.

    I keep a check on my Vit D level by private testing (along with other Vits and mins for my thyroid health) and the lab I use says toxicity can happen at levels greater than 220nmol/L. Recommended is 100-150nmol/L.

    We're you told, when first supplementing, that you should also take K2-MK7. Vit D aids absorption of calcium from food and K2 directs the calcium to bones and teeth where it's needed rather than arteries and soft tissues. Magnesium is another co-factor when taking Vit D so we should also take that. Doctors don't seem to know much about nutrition so it's doubtful whether you would have been given that advice. Hopefully the supplement you were given didn't contain calcium (eg Adcal).

  • Such good advice on Vitamins. If I may add my comment on Turmeric. Ignoring the Asthma for a moment, I also have the ravages of Arthritis. Mine is caused by wear and tear, years of sports, running and their concomitant injuries.

    I developed Hallux Influxes (Big Toe joint pain) that put paid to Hill Walking may life long passion. My research led me to Turmeric and a drink called Golden Milk - Google it. I make a stiff mixture of Turmeric, heated gently in a pan with water, after it thickens into a paste (about 4 mins) add a good splash of Olive Oil and ground black pepper. Both aid the absorption of Turmeric. I also add a dash of ground Cumin. Both herbs claimed to be good for Arthritis. At night a take a teaspoon of paste mixed with a dash of Soya Milk, heated for 20 secs in microwave.

    All I can say my knees (smashed up in multiple skiing accidents) and my big toe whilst painful if I knock or squeeze - I can walk without pain. For me I also add chopped root ginger as I read somewhere it does all help with breathing.

    For me I do believe it works. Cheap as chips to make especially if you live anywhere near Indian market stalls. Don't buy the tablets or capsules.

  • Thank you, Tryfan. I have been trying curcumin caps (standardized 95% curcuminoids) with black peper, 1g dose once or twice a day, but I think I will try to make me some of that golden paste and see how it goes. May help to fend off/fight infection too, Judith:

  • Azithromycin 250mg three times a week. I spent over 6 months getting at least three exacerbations/infection a month, continuous and then I started taking antibiotics regularly. Haven/t had one since - and that's for over 10 years!

  • Hi Judith

    You didn't say what asthma medication you were on. A minority of people who take Seratide can be affected by recurring chest infections it states this in the leaflet in the box. Bit rough if your one of the minority like I was. Don't get me wrong Seratide works as an asthma preventative but I had a bad time with repeated infections until I discovered this by someone posting this on this site last year. A consultant changed me to fostair and immediately I went 85 days between finishing anti bios & needing to start some more whereas previously I struggled to do 20 days.

  • i am struggling with the same problem, had bronchoscopy and also have asthma. keep getting lung infections, somebody just has to cough and i have whatever is going around. constant coughing is hard work, constricts your life so i know exactly how your feeling. have u seen hospital specialists? problem is whilst were trying different medication like inhalers etc.. your still fighting off the next infection thats going around so its like going around in circles. i know exactly how you feel, speak to gp and even asthma nurse to see what else they can try. ive tried bowl of water in the room, bcos someone told me it puts moisture in the air as u sleep, i have a vicks warm humidifier from argos £40 althou it does help me a little to breathe it might not be good for some it just depends on what u have tried etc.. will try to think but speak to gp again and nurse.

  • Sorry that you have been having so many chest infections Judith. Do try vitamin D3. as that has helped me, try taking 400mg a day. It has been on our main news.

  • Why does the Vitamin D Council recommend 5,000 IU/day?

    Posted on: December 10, 2013 by John Cannell, MD

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