British Lung Foundation

Prolonged Chest Infection

I’ve had a chest infection since the beginning of December, I saw the doctor on 20/12 who confirmed it was a chest infection and prescribed 2x 500mg amoxicillin 3x a day for five days, on 29/12 I went back to the doctor & she prescribed another antibiotic for 5 days, can’t remember the name, it never made the infection worse or better. Went back to the doctor on 2/1/18 the doctor confirmed I still had a chest infection and prescribed Clarithromycin 500mg

1 x 2 x a day for a week & Prednisolone 5mg 6 tabs daily for a week. I finished thevtanlets on Thursday. I’m still coughing and still can’t get rid of the phlegm, my chest feels a bit better but not 100%. Should I go back to the doctor if it’s not right on Monday as Im exhausted and want to get better. Tired and frustrated as it’s goingbinto its seventh week!

39 Replies
oldestnewest

Hello JERC . I would say go back and explain it's been seven weeks with no improvement. I'm so sorry you are poorly. I hope you feel a lot better soon.

Best wishes.

Cas xx 🌻

3 likes
Reply

Yes you need to go back for a check-up..

Good luck and take care..

1 like
Reply

Definitely go back. Has the dr tested a sputum sample? My last bad infection lasted almost five months even though I had been taking doxycycline as a prophylactic. The breakthrough came when my consultant changed this to azithromycin!

4 likes
Reply

Sorry to hear you have suffered for so long. MY OH and I have also had this "flu bug" and had chest infections which would not clear. In the end we added in support through herbal teas and nutritional support for the immune system and to help expel the phlegm.

We used Three Tulsi tea, immune support tea ( also aids in keeping the fluids up which is needed for the body to remove the microorganisms) took garlic and tumeric tablets as well as adding to every meal we ate. My OH has who has a brittle respiratory system has managed to get his peak flow back up and has now been off oral steroids for 10 days. I'm not feeling as tired and I am now at the 9 week mark and when I saw the gp on 20/12 she told me I would be over it by Christmas!.

Other than adding in more antibiotics, oral steroids and a chest xray there isn't much the gps can do. Do not try to do too much, the old adage allow yourself to rest is a definite with this bug.

5 likes
Reply

Hi l can't take Azithro as it's caused damage to my hearing. Ciprofloxin is my rescue antibiotic. 14 days x 750mg twice daily.

As a Royal Brompton patient sputum sample is tested (sometimes via post) for growth and correct antibiotic....

500mg never worked for me.

1 like
Reply

As has been said, back to the doctor. When your infection has cleared up ask the doctor about having a low dose (250mg) of Azithromycin 3x a week for the foreseeable future. I had infection after infection until they put me on continuous dose of Azithromycin. That was over 10 years ago and I have not had a major flare up since.

4 likes
Reply

Go back to your doctor's asap.you need an X ray to see if this is developing into PNEUMONIA. My wife keeps antibiotics & steroids as an emergency.As soon as she feels her chest tightening she is onto them.As I've said get an X ray done. Good luck.

4 likes
Reply

Hi some times I am like that if you think you still have infection keep going back to see your doctor

Hope it clears up soon

2 likes
Reply

I fully sympathise with you JERC I have had, what sounds like exactly the same infection(s). 2 x 7 days of amoxiclav & a few days of clarithromycin (stopped as thought symptoms might be re-action to this drug). My health centre lost my sputum sample, then most of my blood test results & chest x-ray results are with a doctor who wont return my calls. I wasn't given prednisolone as I have bronchiectasis as well as emphysema. My self diagnosis is that I have possibly caught a flu bug on top of the chest infection & this needs to run its course. Telephonejunkie is right, take it easy & rest as much as possible to allow your body to heal itself. Good Luck.

1 like
Reply

Hi I notice you say you weren’t given prednisone because you have bronchiectasis? Why is that please. Thanks xx

Reply

I don’t know, was what young locum said. I was going to check it out with Community Resp. Team when I am better. But I have never been prescribed steroids but my health Centre is pretty rubbish.

Reply

I have bronchiectasis and have prednisone as a standby and take it if I GET BREATHLESS It is a godsend but I i only take it when necessary

Reply

Interesting, thank you for sharing that. As I say my health centre is rubbish -impossible to see same GP & as mentioned they lose test results. I hope to be moving very soon.

Reply

Hi jessyjay, I too have bronchiectasis but they only give me steroids when I have an infection and with antibiotics, apparently steroids lower your immune system that’s why I wondered xx

Reply

Hi siouxbecket, I too have bronchiectasis but always have prednisolone when I get a flair and a nasty infection.

Reply

I’ve had a chest affection myself For three days what is the best thing to do

Reply

Unless your sputum is tested I can,t see how your Dr knows which antibiotic will do the trick. If it's viral just stick with it.

1 like
Reply

I would have thought a sputum sample should be sent off at this stage to see exactly what bacteria you are growing and what it is sensitive to. Hope you improve soon.

cx

2 likes
Reply

The usual rule of thumb is they start off with a broad spectrum antibiotic and send a autumnal sample and change where or if needed. Let’s not forget docs get good perks for recommending certain makes although I find they tend to stick to the same few .... this is only from my many years of infections and antibiotics by the way x

Reply

Not with me they don't. I always put a sample in and start an ab until the result comes back, in line with the bronchiectasis guidelines.

What evidence do you have that docs get perks for recommending certain makes?

cx

Reply

Did not say evidence said was my opinion I use to know a Med Rep this is not the point

Reply

Maybe I misinterpreted your comments. I didn't see opinion in your statement 'Let's not forget docs get good perks for recommending certain makes',

cx

Reply

The "freebees" for prescribing particular drugs depends upon the country. In the UK there are very few Pharmaceutical reps, compared with 10 years ago. Additionally, the law in the UK does not allow doctors to receive an enticement in return for prescribing a particular brand. In addition to that, in an attempt to control costs every area has a prescribing formulary. There used to be cash incentive from the government to keeping the practice prescribing within this list... whether the patient needs a drug on the list or not!

1 like
Reply

I am in Phoenix and suffering the same, our stories could be the same. I am allergic to Juniper which is from Dec - to March. It has never caused me the coughing and mucus issue for so long of a period. I also have tried 3 different antibiotics with no improvement, along with a sputum sample that turned up nothing. My biggest issue was coughing that was long and exhausting until I "moved" something then i will be fine for a while. Just exhausting. So I am just waiting for March. hang in there and like others have said I would go back to your Dr until you get a definitive answer on the cause.

1 like
Reply

Yes, I think another visit to your GP is a must. I had a long run of viruses/infections for a full three months before Christmas- seem to be a lot of these persistent infections about this winter. My husband too has been suffering, having antib’s after antib’s, steroids after steroids, sputum samples, X-ray, CT scan, which all just proved he had an infection. The final turning point came when it was discovered he had anaemia. Once the iron pills kicked in, his infection lifted. Still suffering from fatigue but chest infection finally, finally sorted. Good luck, hope you’ll feel better soon.

2 likes
Reply

I think everybody with chest problems has had this nasty infection ... I am on my 2nd lot of prednisolone 8 daily for 7 days and also carbosisteine and still rattling away !! I also have an arm in plaster but am trying to move about a bit more to produce a cough that will actually shift something and have to say it is improving ... these things take time so keep drinking liquids and do some 'huffing' to help shift it in the mornings ....

Reply

I hope your GP as sent a sputum specimen and taken bloods to measure inflammatory markers. There are a number of possibilities here. My first thought was that your course of antibiotics was not long enough or that the wrong one had been given my last thought was your chest infection viral in nature? Obviously you need to go back to your GP if your chest is not getting better you may need a combination of treatments.

1 like
Reply

Go and get yourself a Salt Pipe. Holland and Barratt have them. Costs £13 and will last a year. You breathe in via your mouth and out from your nose not into the pipe. Salt is in sealed container. Do it several times a day for about 5 minutes at a time. The phlegm will start going quite quickly. I have used one since I discovered them in March 2014. As an asthmatic I am always worried about colds etc. Since I have had Salt pipe have not had bronchitis either. Have several other stories about them. too. My grand-daughter arrived with me in December with a nasty cough, I encouraged her to use the pipe several times a day. Cough had gone in 2 days. Just Google Salt Pipe to find out more.

2 likes
Reply

JERC

Hi I've had a chest infection since 21st December and have had about as many antibiotics as you without any effect whatsoever, I still can't breath and if anything it is getting worse. The next step for you is probably a chest xray to see if more is going on inside. I'm at least in a sunnier clime but it hasn't changed a thing so it can't be all down to the British winter.

IKeith

1 like
Reply

Yes! Go back. I once went through exactly the same for 5 months. It's taken several years to rebuild my immune system. Never, ever again.

Good luck & keep going back, they must do a sputum test to see which bacteria you have & treat accordingly.

PS we aren't doctors here so no one can or should be giving members diagnosis. Please see your doctor again (or another one)! It is our right in the UK x

3 likes
Reply

You must go back and insist on a sputum test to ascertain which antibiotic is effective for the infection you have. Do not leave it as it can develop into something worse, this I know from experience,

2 likes
Reply

You MUST MUST go back to docs your bodies telling you there’s something wrong xxx

1 like
Reply

sorry you dont feel well,hope u get better soon.l feel much better today

1 like
Reply

Hi Jerc ... Sorry to hear your still suffering after such a long period of time. I went through December 2016 with similar symptoms to yourself, with 3 courses of antibiotics (Amoxicillin) and 2 courses of steroids (Prednisoline) and without, what seemed like an end to my suffering.

Yes you should go back to your Dr and make a fuss, asking them to send you for a chest X-ray.

Hope you get sorted soon :)

1 like
Reply

Hello there JERC, how awefull for you to be suffering for such a long time, that's not exceptable at all. If I were you I would go back a.s.a.p. Trouble is with all these winter bugs going around at the moment it could be one of them. Please don't delay. Hope you get well soon ✋️😊

1 like
Reply

Best bet wud be hospital as i have smilar probs

Reply

You need to go for a chest XRay and possible CT scan. I was like that the beginning of the year. My Doc. Sent me for XRays which resulted in getting calls for appt.for CT and specialist. Fortunately there is no Cancer but there are white specks in my Lungs.

This all happened from August 2017.

I have been continually having further HighRes.CTs.

It is looking like something I have breathed in. Like Spores. Still seeing Consultants and may still have to have a Bronchoscopy. Ordinary Anti-biotics alone wont clear it. There is however a "Heavy duty drug" that will clear out the infection. Hope this has been helpful.

1 like
Reply

The only antibiotic that I find effective is Co-Amoxiclav along with the usual course of prednislone.

A lot of doctors don't like to prescribe it due to some of the side effects which, touch wood I have never suffered from.

I too get horrendous chest infections that really sap your strength and your resolve, it's a horrible situation. My only saviour appears to be Co-Amoxiclav.

Keep pushing your doctor, they are there to help you, make a nuisance if necessary. I'm real lucky, my local GP clinic is fantastic and can't do enough for me. That's how it should be.

Don't give up, there is light on the horizon, you just need to climb over a few walls to see it.

All the best to you, keep us informed.

Phil.

(Long term Bronchiectasis sufferer.)

Reply

Sputum sample should of been done, 1st off. 2nd you need a chest x ray. 3rd once established and hopefully dealt with you need to be on azithroymycin 3 x weekly as discussed above, this will not stop infections though it merely helps you deal with them better in period of time, which is important to any lung patient to reduce further damage to our lungs. You might also want to negotiate anti's with them, depending on the condition and how 'severe you are' amoxicilian is very low grade and for someone like myself unusable (like a smarty) I use cirpofloxian have done for many years and I was informed off Consultant a 10 day course nothing less, I was sick pre Xmas and had recue pack of 5 days so had another 10 day course after they were reachable back at my surgery..you need stronger anti's..ask them and be sure they do the chest x ray, to rule out a lot of other stuff. good luck, get better and get the right medication in hand, it all helps but it does not stop anything ...however its needed for those who are compromised.

Reply

You may also like...