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British Lung Foundation
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Morning cough which won’t go away!

Some of you may remember I posted several times back in June and July about an acute chest infection. Nasty rattly chest, etc. After 2 rounds of antibiotics and a lot of time (around 6-8 weeks) I got to a stage where I was just coughing up some white phlegm in the morning and then largely fine for the rest of the day. My chest X-ray and bloods were clear.

Well I’m now around 3.5 months since initial infection, and probably nearly 2 months since it got better but I’m still left in the same state. About 10 minutes after I get up I will cough for around 10 minutes. It’s productive but then it will stop for most of the day. Occasionally (once or twice) I’ll cough in the daytime - which is probably normal. And sometimes I need to clear my throat a few times.

I went back to the GP last week since although this isn’t a huge concern - I wasn’t like this before the infection. He suspected post nasal drip so now I’m on a steroid nasal spray. It doesn’t seem to be helping... yet.

Does anyone have any suggestions or similar experiences? 3.5 months is such a long time, and it still does get me down from time to time. Is there a chance I still have infection? It’s definitely not getting worse and the doc said my chest sounds clear.

Any advice would be appreciated.

13 Replies

Hi, I too have a cough that won't go away I cough productively nearly all day I have had mine for over a year, it seems it is related to copd which I have and GP says nothing will improve it, bad days and good days cough more some days than others. I haven't smoked for twenty years so no other reason than copd. Have tried anti biotics and steroids but it still hasn't gone away just trying to carry on but it gets me down bi time there is just no answers out there


Hi I too suffer from prolonged coughs after an infection. Coughs can take a long time to clear. Mine isn't too bad now- like yourself I sometimes bring up a clear sputum- but I am happy with mine as its no way like it was where I was coughing violently for half an hour at a time . Have you tried taking Manuka honey with lemon in hot water ?

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Thank you I will try and get some as I've never heard of it


Was this your first chest infection ever? How old are you? Are you still smoking? Have you worked in any dusty/toxic environments? Were you prescribed anything as well as the ABs?


Yes this was my first chest infection I can recall. I’m 29 years old and a non smoker. I work a desk job.

The only things on top of ABs were bronchodilator inhaler and now this nasal spray. The AB courses were only a week long each (amoxicillin then clarithromycin).


OK, unlikely to be COPD.

Having experienced the mare that is PND I'd doubt anyone could not be aware of it, but you never know.

Are you very overweight? Unfit?

Any asthma in the family?

I suspect this'll clear of its own accord; chest infections have a surprisingly long period of clear sputum which 'washes' the lungs out and so can appear to cling on for quite a while after the initial symptoms subside.

Your doing the right thing following up with your GP.

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Thanks. I am probably unfit, but not much overweight. We don’t really have asthma in the family, although my sister was recently given a rescue inhaler after some wheezing so who knows.

I worry I still have an infection lingering but the doctor said my chest sounded clear. I can only assume I’m still recovering as it was quite a severe infection.


Hi. I have suffered this many times. My problem was acute bronchitis. It would last for 3-4 months. Long doses antibiotics etc. Every morning cough up lot of white flem. It seems like after a good nights sleep your broncil tubes loosen the flem. If you are a smoker this will make you cough it all up and will replace itself through the day.


Oh how I know the feeling constant chest infection. Just feel so drained as always feel not good. Consultant is next to useless said do a sputum test back in June and we will see you in 6 months but will b in touch with sputum results, well I’m still waiting. Did a sputum test at the docs came back with two different antibiotics had both but still didn’t work. I have always been told that COPD means one big chest infection all the time. My breathing is just awful and my back is bad as well which they tell me is years of using steroids. I do hope you feel better soon do take care.


I had the morning cough long before I was diagnosed with COPD. It stopped when I started taking the Seretide inhaler, and comes back when I should have replaced an old inhaler with a new one.


I haven't smoked for twenty years all places years ago were always dirty dusty place I am 78 yrs old


Sorry for dragging this thread up from the dead but I wanted to follow up. This did fully clear up around November time - so I have been clear for over 6 months now. I like to think I’m thankful for every clear day I’ve had since, it really was a scarring experience.

Thank you all for the support. I hope I don’t have to go through anything like this again (ever?!) for a while. I still have some PND and now even have some ear trouble, but I’d take it all over that cough.

1 like

Hiya, I just stumbled across this from googling my symptoms (as we do in this day and age!)

I had what I suspect was a chest infection about 3-4 months ago.. coughing heavily.. I'm not one for doctors unless desperate so I just took cough syrup for a couple of weeks and it eventually went away on it's own..

However for the past few months I having a coughing fit every morning without fail.. bring up clear phlegm.. sometimes slightly bloody but not a lot and I suspect this is just from where it's such a violent cough it's caused a little bleed

I also get a coughing fit after eating (especially if I eat a little too much).. this never used to happen and I've not upped by portion sizes.. is this something you experienced at all?.. I will literally cough so forcefully that I'm sick

Also find I am short of breath quite quickly.. even just going up and down the stairs.. I'm only 32.. not in the best shape but been this way for a long time with little change so it's certainly unusual for me to be getting short of breath just going up the stairs

Does this all sound familiar or do you think it's something else?

I know I need to see the doctor and will do that soon, but I'd like an idea in my head about what it is, even if just to put my mind at rest.. My googling keep bringing up the same things: COPD, Lung Cancer, GERD


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