British Lung Foundation
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Constant chest infections with asthma

I have been an asthmatic for more than 30 years. And the last couple of years I seem to be having back to back chest infections and I don't know why. I'm a 60 year old female non smoker. I keep been given amoxacillan, to which don't have much effect. Just finished another course of oral steroids and now on doxycycline until next Monday. Still very chesty , can't seem to shift it and chest hurts when I cough. How long does it take these antibiotics to work? I still feel quite weak and tired from last Wednesday

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Hello Linnet711 .

I know how you feel. I had a terrible infection a while ago. It seemed to go on forever. It must have taken at least a whole month before I began to feel even mediocre again. It really takes time. And takes a lot out of you. Plenty of rest and fluids, nourishing food. Not so much you can do but wait for it to pass.

My pulmonologist told me that once you get an infection , your lungs get weaker with each infection. His advice to me was to take extra care with washing my hands and not sharing hand towels, diligently keeping shared spaces disinfected and staying away from crowded areas. It has helped me so far.

I hope you feel better very soon. In the meantime take it easy.

Sending love.

Cas xx 🌿

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Thank you very much cas, it certainly does make you feel weak. I'll take your advice on board, thank you x

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Hi there, if you are getting back to back chest infections then it seems as though something is not working. For those with long term asthma it can happen that infected mucus gets trapped in the lungs, and then it can be very difficult to get rid of.

I would see if you can get referred to a specialist and also ask if your doctor can do sputum test to check if the antibiotics are actually treating the bugs in your lungs. It may be worth asking your doctor for a Macroglide antibiotic, as they have a recognized anti inflammatory effect, particularly Azithromycin.

Best

R

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It might be worth getting checked by the respiratory department at your local hospital to see whether you are suffering from Bronchiectasis. This could explain why you are getting the recurrent chest infections. I have Bronchiectasis and have had 28 chest infections in the last 38 months, each of which has required a course of antibiotics and/or steroids. I was also growing the Pseudamonas bug which required a course of nebulised Colomycin to get under control,

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Hi I should have been referred to that clinic last December after my doctor wanted me to be admitted to hospital and the hospital sent me home because of lack of beds. They never sent me a referral. I may have to go back to my doctors next week when I have finished this last course of antibiotics if I still have infection. I'm still coughing sticky "glue" up but not as much green or yellow now but still very wheezy. I have been loaned a nebulizer which I am using before work in a mornin and before adding that does help. But will ask the doctor for a referral. Thank you

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Hi linnet, this does sound like undiagnosed bronchiectasis. Amoxicillin is, on the whole as useless as taking smarties when it comes to the bugs in our lungs and GPs hardly ever give a high enough dose of anything for long enough unless instructed by a consultant. They know virtually nothing about bronch.

You need a proper diagnosis and then a programme of treatment from a bronchiectasis specialist, who will tell your GP what to give you.It 's no good waiting for medics and hospitals to come to you. They don't. We have to be pro active and our own advocates.

So, start again. Look on the internet for a bronch specialist in your area, not a general respiratory consultant because they do not know of the condition in all of its complexities. They are usually based at large teaching hospitals.

Go to your GP armed with the name and insist on a referral. Do not take no for an answer because the treatment overall which you have received so far has been ineffective on the GPs part and referrals resulting from a hospital admittance rarely happen.

My main relationship is with my consultant through her secretary. I just use my GP as a conduit to get the drugs which the consultant prescribes but I also get nebulised drugs direct from the hospital. For bronchs this relationship is very important and to be fair to my GPs, they are very cooperative and admit that they know very little about ongoing treatment.

Good luck, I hope that you can get this sorted out so that you can live a more comfortable life.

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I'll certainly do that and thank you all for your help x

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Hi

Feel for you. I too have back to back infections which seem to clear then two weeks later back to the antibiotics and steroids. I produce a great deal of sputum and l have never smoked either.

Have been under going tests for bronchiastasis but proved negative so my GP tells me he's stumped! Great.

I find that tetracycline of doxycycline work for me but each sputum sample done notes something new in it along with the usual H Influenza.

Keep bothering GP, l do!

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Thank you just off there to ask my gp for a referral, wish me luck x

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Don't let this slide, Linnet. I entirely agree with littlepom. It's so hard to be proactive when you feel unwell but this is your health and future, you must insist on the best treatment going.

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