Help with a pseudo question

This is gonna be a bit of a long one so please bear with me.

In March I went to see the nurse for my 6 monthly copd review and we were going through the list of my medication and she told me she thought I was taking my antibiotics to often (about once every 2 months). I told her I was getting a lot of chest infections that weren't really going away. She then asked me what signs I look for to tell it's an infection and I told her whenever I started coughing up phlegm, as even though I have severe copd, I don't really produce much phlegm when I'm ok and hardly cough. She said the next time I start producing phlegm to bring it in for a sputum test and she would see whether it was an infection or not. So the next time it happened I did what she said. Anyway 2 days later I received a phone call from the doctors saying the doctor had written a prescription for some antibiotics for me and could I pick it up. I asked what they were for and she didn't know. I can't recall the name of them now, they began with a C. Turns out they were for chest infections (read leaflet) and so I took them and felt they worked better than my normal doxycycline. And that was that. Didn't think anymore about it. Yesterday I had an app at the hospital to see a pulmonary physiotherapist and we got to talking about my antibiotics and I told her all of the above, and that I hadn't heard back about my sputum result, so she looked them up and said I had pseudo something or other ( I can't remember the whole name) and that was why the doctor gave me the other antibiotics (I didn't realise that). I asked her what this pseudo was and she just said it can be hard to get rid of and will probably keep coming back. So I said should I get the doctor to change my antibiotics and she said no cause it might not always be that infection! So now I'm confused. Why didn't the doctors explain any of this to me. What is pseudo and does anyone that has it take different antibiotics? She said it might not be that infection every time so how will I know without taking a sputum test each time. Does it clear up or does it come back randomly. Any advice would be received gratefully. And that is the end of my mammoth 🐘 post.

12 Replies

A pseudomonas infection can be bacteria resistant. A sample has to be sent to a lab to confirm if it is, in fact, pseudomonas, and to determine which antibiotic(s) to prescribe.

I was having trouble pasting a link to an article but just seo a search for pseudomonas and articles will populate.

Off the top of my head and with no experience of it it sounds like Pseudomonas. Nasty infection that colonises lungs and other organs and can be the devil to get rid of. Others here have it and will fill you in properly.

All the best


Hi Hayley,

It is pseudomonas. This is a bacteria which loves to colonise the lungs of those with lung damage. I have bronchiectasis and have lived with pseudo since 1986. The aim is to get and keep the numbers so low that they don't show up on a lab test and don't cause you troubling symptoms. Unfortunately, although it doesn't always show up in the lab it rarely goes away altogether. The only front line oral antibiotic which is effective against it is ciproxin. If this doesn't work there are a few IV options and several of us bronchs nebulise different antibiotics on a more ore less permanent basis to try to keep the numbers down.

Unfortunately physios know a lot about physio ing but little about bug chasing. Once pseudo gets in it is odds on that if you are feeling unwell it will be due to this. If you are taking cipro it should mean that you shouldn't be needing antibiotics so often ( if you have been given a strong enough dose for long enough). Your consultant should write to your GP and tell them to supply you with a rescue pack so that you can start them as soon as you get symptoms. It would be a good idea to get a sample tested as soon as you feel ill also.

I hope that helped. Don't google it. There is a lot of misleading info about pseudo out there.

Thank you. Unfortunately I did google it and freaked out a bit when it started saying you could die within 24 hours of this infection and that if you had it there would be rapid deterioration of your lungs with this infection. That's why I thought I would ask on here. It's comforting to hear you have been coping with this for so long.

Just annoyed how if I hadn't asked about it I wouldn't have known. It was like it was just mentioned in passing. Sometimes the medical profession can be so blasé.

Unfortunately when they aren't ignorant they can be thoughtless. They didn't even explain about pseudomonas or the antibiotics which treated. Just left you in limbo to worry which is not good for your health either. Anyway I hope that you are reassured.

Can I ask you what antibiotics you take normally for a chest infection and do you get infections often with this problem? Some people are saying I should only take Cipro antibiotic when I have that infection, but how do you know without having to do a sputum test each time you get an infection?

Hi I was in hospital recently. This was put my discharge letter. She was treated with ciprofloxacin to cover potential infectious exacerbation having previously grown pseudomonas in the past. There was no posative micro during admission. My rescue antibiotic is usually doxycycline . And I didn't have an infection. I was not happy as I have to come off my arthritis Meds if I am put on antibiotics.

Yes, I think that is the antibiotic they gave me.

Sounds like you may have pseudomonas and were given ciprofloxacin which is about the only oral antibiotic that works with it. So that's why they don't want you take it more than you need to and want sputum tests first. However, it tends to colonise lungs and is very hard to shift. Many of us live with it and just take cip. when it pops up( taking other drugs if the main infection is something else). If that doesn't work it might mean IV drugs or just nebulised. Taking azithromycin three times a week stops many of us getting many infections in the first place so the pseud. lies low. This might be your best bet but I guess you need to find out more from your doc first. Do you see a consultant? If not, perhaps you've reached the point where you need to. Good luck anyway.

Thank you for your reply. I guess I need to speak to the doctor. It's just if I hadn't asked the pulmonary physio when I saw her it never would have been mentioned. Then I came home and looked it up and wondered why my doctors hadn't spoken to me about it, apart from a phone call from the receptionist telling me there was a prescription waiting for me to pick up. And that's it. It seemed serious on google.

Can I ask how do you know when it pops up without having to do a sputum test each time you get an infection? Do you get different symptoms?

You may also like...