British Lung Foundation
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Bronchiectasis monster

Hi everyone

Haven't been on-line with you for quite a while - too depressed... Anyhow, to top off my depression (or because of it) I have an exacerbation of my bronchiectasis symptoms and don't know what to do for the best. I cannot get up enough sputum to provide a sample for the lab to test so am taking a chance that any antibiotic treatment may not work. (Have tried using an inhaler, but that just makes me feel really jittery and weird - not helpful...)

Any ideas gratefully received.

Best regards


5 Replies

Hi swimmer, good to see you, although I am sorry to hear about your depression as well as you bronchie flare. I know that feeling all too well with the BE and GI stuff and do the same as you, rightly or wrongly I shut myself away and don't go online.

I am sorry to hear you are having difficulty getting up a sample. Do you not have saline, either isotonic or hypertonic to nebulise or take a mucolytic? I am just wondering how you manage your physio. Just wondering if inhaling the old fashioned but very effective way, of near boiling water with a drop of menthol, eucolyptus or Olbas oil in may help to loosen up and gunk lurking. Towel over the head.

Would you normally wait until your sample comes back before you start abs. I know some GPs won't give out abs until they get the sample back but that is not in line with the current guidelines for bronchiectasis. The guidelines state to get in a sample (easier said than done for you) and then to start on an ab and review when the sample comes back. Going on what you have previously grown and what they have been sensitive to, the ab woukd be a best guess for you or your GP.

Not sure where you are but I hope you have a good proactive consultant/pulmonologist.

You could always go over a few pillows hips to the top and head on the bed as gravity may help or take a hot bath or shower.

Sounds a bit like I am clutching at straws here but you never know a blob might appear with a bit of huffing.

Good luck hun and I hope you feel in a better space very soon.

love cx

ps Do you have a flutter or acapella as that may assist you.


Hi cofdrop

A thousand thank yous for your swift and detailed reply. I have tried some draining exercises with very little success. I can bring a small blob of green gunge up but this is at the end of the day and after I have had a meal. It then becomes impossible to get the sample (such as it is) to the lab - some 15 miles away in Dorchester during the lab's working hours. My GP has given me a prescription of 'just in case abs' - doxycycline 100mg, which has helped before, and I am waiting to get a call back from him to see if he thinks it might be a bug or just a viral infection...

I do have a flutter device, but don't find it does anything. Perhaps some carbocysteine might help but it does have stomach upset problems so am reluctant to use it as I have a sensitive gut... Yeah - take me out and shoot me...

I will give the eucalyptus inhalation a go, though, and maybe email my resp consultant again - although she is waiting on the results of some tests on my thyroid/endocrine consult.

Will keep you posted.

Once again, many thanks



Hi swimmer, I was just wondering if you have had a blood test to see if you have an infection as you have difficulty getting a sputum sample.

Best wishes


Ooh thanks knitter...I didn't even know you could do that as I thought any infection was area specific and wouldn't cross into the blood stream. I will definitely ask my GP/consultant about it.

Thanks again



Like you I really struggle to get a sample and I've tried all the suggestions. If you feel really unwell start your abs, it's the only thing that helps me. Hope you're feeling better soon x

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