British Lung Foundation
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Chest infection recovery

Hi. I'm 16 years old and for around 5 weeks I have had a tight chest and breathing difficulties, so bad that we once called the ambulance however, I was re assured I wasn't having a heart attack so we decided that I should ride it out. I have visited the doctors many times, because it hadn't improved, and I have had a chest x ray (which was clear) the doctors seemed to think I had asthma, as I had it as a child so it might've returned, so I was given an inhaler and put on a course of antibiotics and 1 set of steroids. I did start to get better but still not perfect so I went back to the doctors where he checked again to see if my chest was clear (it was clear the first time) and he said that I have a chest infection and that is why I feel like it's hard to breathe, therefore he put me on another course of antibiotics and told me to use my inhaler when needed. The doctor did say it would take up to 3 months to feel better. I have improved very well in the last week and I am even getting back to college now, however the cold weather has been making it hard for me to get a full deep breath and I have been having a tight chest and sometimes a sharp pain on my left side. I think I will be visiting the doctor again if the feelings don't stop next week.

I was just wondering if anyone has experienced the same thing or if they have any advice on how to get better? I really need some reassurance!!

Thanks xx

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The cold weather certainly doesnt help. I wear a scarf or a snood round mouth and nose if i have to go out. Breathing in very cold air just aggravates chest. It takes a long time to get well. Drink plenty of fluids. Hot lemon and honey drinks are very good. See doctor again if you are worried. I wish you well. Take care.🙂

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Thanks for the advice, I will have to try wearing my snood around my mouth next time I go out! I will have a go at the lemon and honey drink tonight 😉😀

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Yes I'd go back to your dr if I were you and maybe ask for another x Ray, to check for infection and pleurisy as that can be painful too.

Keep warm drink fluids and take paracetamol. Chest infections can take a while I'm afraid.

Also I'd ask your GP about having a lung function test when your feeling little better as really that's how they should test for asthma, they shouldn't just assume or guess. It really does need to involve a proper test. It's not painful at all you just breathe into a mouth piece and they hook it up to a computer. Think mine took about 45 minutes, had to do lots of different breathing and puffing etc.

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Thanks so much, I will make sure to ask my doctor about the function test and x ray. 😀

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Good sounds unpleasant for you hope your feeling better soon x

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I picked up a chest infection before Christmas, I'm still having significant difficulties breathing and with pain. I've had 5 courses of antibiotics, 3 courses of steroids, ventolin by the bucket load, blood tests, x-rays, sputum tests, seen my consultants and physios as well my being in my GPs regularly. They are struggling to decide how to treat me and only last week did someone finally put an action plan together to try and tackle the problem. I've heard just about everything they could say as regards a diagnosis from flu to asthma and re-home the cat (there has been a cat and at times two living here for over 20 years) over the past three months and I'm pretty fed up :-( You are certainly not alone with this. Hope you get well much sooner than me.

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I'm glad I am not alone! I hope you get better soon too! 😀

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Hi Elaine

I’m sorry you’re so poorly - I, too, have had a chest infection since Jan 3rd & am in a similar position. Several courses of antibiotics & steroids, still struggling with my breathing & full of congestion. Went to the respiratory clinic last week & they said if this two week course of Augmentin doesn’t work (I’m halfway through it), I will need to go in for IV antibiotics. I know it’s irrational but I’m terrified of going into hospital & want to avoid it at all costs. Can I ask what your action plan involves please? Is it hospitalisation? I’m on 30mg of Prednisolone a day, using a nebuliser, doing breathing exercises, using a flutter device. I’m nearly at my wit’s end & feel like I’m never going to get better.

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I've seen many, many people over the past 3 months who have brushed my symptoms aside as just the virus everyone has had and told me to inhale steam / increase inhalers etc ~ none of which made any difference to me and they are all better now ! I finally saw a consultant that listened on Friday, have been asked to re-home my cat of 9 years (I lived constantly with a cat for over 20 years), having a number of tests done (various sputum and bloods) as we speak, started a long term course of steroids (40mg a day and slow wean off) to try and calm things (ABs and steroids over past 3 months have all been a week and barely impacting before I finish them), if steroids alone are shown to be insufficient then a long course of antibiotics all be given (hope in tablet form). Need to try and capture really dark horrible sputum that comes off occasionally ~ easier said than done ! I do chest clearance and use a flutter also. I try to exercise/walk often ~ weather permitting. Have discussed neb saline in recent months but have been too unstable to move to this after changing inhaler late last year and just before this episode started. I happen to live adjoining a house that is having major renovations and have noticed there is a lot of brick/plaster dust coming through to my house, just wondering if this is also contributing to me not getting better … and they haven't started building the extension yet ~ so best part of a year to come of building works.

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Hi Helena

When you said in your post about building work, I recalled a time back in 1999 when I was in a similar situation & had a chest infection which took over three months to go. Have also had similar problems with new carpets being laid. I have two cats, one I’ve had for 19 years & the other for 15 years. I’m sure it’s far more likely to be the dust from building work than the cats, particularly as you’ve had one or two for so long. There’s absolutely no way that I would consider rehoming mine as a part of a plan without concrete evidence that it was them causing the problem. A simple allergy test would prove one way or another. I do hope you feel better soon & are able to keep your pet.

Regards

Annette

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Just a thought - have you been tested for ABPA?

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I think so at my initial diagnosis, they are repeating a lot of stuff currently so hope for a clearer picture soon.

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Well I wouldn't have rehomed any of my animals I loved them too much. Sadly I haven't got any now and recently I had to have an Ige blood test and was told that I'm allergic to aspergillis but not to cats and dogs. So I'm glad I took no notice of them years ago. I'm not trying to be flippant and I know some people have no choice but to rehome pets because they're really badly affected by them. I just feel it's lazy doctoring to blame one thing or another without trying to find out if they're actually the cause. I hope you get sorted soon and feel better. Sheila x

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Hello Helena,

Sorry you have had such a difficult time. Winter hasn’t helped for sure.

As you describe a tight chest and a sharp pain on the left side, I would strongly recommend you go back to see the doctor asap.

Unfortunately chest infections take time to clear in winter.

If you feel you are getting short of breath and have been diagnosed with probable asthma I wouldn’t hesitate to call emergency services again.

I don’t mean to alarm you in anyway it is just that I am also asthmatic and it is better to play it safe.

Do you have an action plan? A peakflow?

On the Asthma UK website you will have advice on how to use your reliever in case of breathlessness.

Take good care x

Fran

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Hi Fran thanks for you advice. I don't have an action plan at the moment but I will be getting one soon if I get referred to the asthma nurses (I haven't been referred yet, for some reason). I will be seeing my doctor very soon so hopefully it all gets sorted out!

Helena xx

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Great! Good luck Helena, let us know how you are getting on x

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Thank you and I will! xx

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Hi when I was younger I use to get the same problems I was told I had asthma and bronchitis . Which meant it took much longer to feel better. I have learnt that after the antibiotics I now take a course of immune tablets to help build my system back up as the antibiotics weaken it whilst healing the infection. Gentle exercise and plenty of sleep should start to make you stronger. Take care as the cold weather can really be a nightmare .

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Thank you so much, I'm glad that someone else has had the same thing, I think worry too much and that might be making me worse too! I will have to try some immune tablets to speed up recovery 😀

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If you are taking a lot of antibiotics go and get yourself some really good probiotics. I use acidophillus pro and prebiotic. If you can't get them then those that need to be stored in the fridge are better than those stored at room temp.

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Thank you!

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I really think you need a referral to asthma nurse or specialist! You shouldn't be struggling like this without clarity.

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I know! I will be asking my doctor to refer me 😀

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