7 week cough : I’ve had shortness of... - British Lung Foun...

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7 week cough

TripleTea
TripleTea

I’ve had shortness of breath, chest tightness and a cough for just over seven weeks. At first I was diagnosed with a viral upper respiratory tract infection and sent on my way with an inhaler (that doesn’t help). It got worse and then I was diagnosed with a bacterial chest infection and given a weeks worth of amoxicillin for it. By this time I was experiencing a temperature of 39.7... anyway the antibiotics cleared up the infection but I’m still left with a cough, chest tightness and breathlessness. This breathlessness and chest tightness can be present when I’m sitting relaxing or when I do anything; even something that takes minimal effort; like walking to the toilet from the sofa.

Now I’ve tried the inhaler and I’ve tried antihistamines and neither seem to do anything. I did have five days worth of steroids which seemed to help but now I’m back to where I started more or less. My GP sent me for a chest X-ray which was clear and they did an ECG which I assume was fine as it wasn’t mentioned at all. I suffer with iron deficiency anaemia (three years and counting), but I’m on iron supplements (ferrous sulphate) for that.

I’ve also found that my oxygen levels drop quite a bit when I move about; like to 83% instead of the normal 98% that I usually have...

So in short I’m at a loss as to what might be the problem. I have another appointment with my doctor this coming Thursday (19/7/18) so we shall see what they say. Until then I was wondering if anyone here has had a similar issue?

It’s really starting to affect me in life as doing anything that involves walking has become more difficult and I work in a care home; I work 12 hour shifts and I’ve been off sick for three weeks with this stuff already so... yes... any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

21 Replies
oldestnewest

TripleT, if your oxygen is dropping to 83 your brain and organs are not getting adequate oxygenation. Any level of 88 or lower puts you at risk. You need to see a pulmonologist or respiratoy specialist and go through all the respiratory tests with them. While I am not a Doctor, it sure seems you require supplemental oxygen, definitely with any activity , and probably also at night due to shallow nighttime breathing. All the best wishes to you, but please see a specialist as quickly as possible. judg69

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to judg69

Thanks for the super quick response! The hospital has sort of said to my GP to do further tests so I just have to wait for that I suppose. The hospital actually diagnosed me with obstructive sleep apnea (without using any sleep apnea tests), but I don’t really think that’s the answer. I’ll see what my GP says. Thank you again!

Good morning just want to tell you when I had a bacterial lung infection I was just like you and it lasted for weeks . Do you smoke if so I would stop if you can I never realised how much a so called chest infection can have a effect on your body never had one before way after lungs clear your airways are still effected so try not to worry your X-ray clear x

Hi there. No I don’t smoke and never have. I guess it could still be a viral infection but my temperature is pretty normal and I’ve never had such a long lasting one before either. I’m not worried just annoyed, as it’s affecting my work and such. Thanks for your response. (:

sammysmum
sammysmum
in reply to TripleTea

I had a cough for nearly a year during which I had 3 different diagnoses, 2 x virus, asthma and whooping cough, nothing helped. Breathing got worse by May so saw best GP in our surgery, newer than than the others. He took one look as I entered the room and sent me to A&E, said I have pulmonary embolisms. Turned out there were numerous embolisms. Warfarin for 5 months. Then several bouts chronic bronchitis over 4 years. In July last year subjected to 2nd hand smoke on a river boat (no way to avoid) and ended up with a chest infection. Last Nov started another cough after being subjected to 15 mins of 2nd hand smoke at a neighbours house (she is a chain smoker and her husband had just died so had to offer condolences). In Dec saw Chest Physician at Hospital who could not care less. He suggested a nebuliser which can cause heart problems so I learnt later! Went private in February and in March he suspected blood clots again and he was right! Said if I had continued without treatment I would be dead. On Apixaban for life. That Chest Physician has moved my folliw up appointment from March to July to September with no reasons. Feel much safer with the private Clinician. I would ask then for CT scan as clots do not show on x-rays but not saying you have them. I continued as normal looking back, working in a charity shop and going on holiday but felt embarrassed by coughing so much. This time I spent weeks propped up on the sofa as could not lie down, coughing was horrendous, affected several muscles and bladder it was so severe. Felt it was worse than before but thankfully I was treated earlier and someone took an interest. Fight for more tests and hope you find a solution on Thurs.

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to sammysmum

My GP sent me to the hospital under concerns of clots in my lungs but they did an X-ray and said it was clear.

sammysmum
sammysmum
in reply to TripleTea

I had several xrays but was told blood clots dont show up CT scan with dye needed to confirm whether or not clots are there.

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to sammysmum

Oh I had no idea about that! I’ll have to bring it up with my doctor. Thanks for your input! Greatly appreciated!

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to sammysmum

I had a special blood test and it confirms that I don’t have PE.

sammysmum
sammysmum
in reply to TripleTea

I am so relieved to hear the news, thank you for posting. Have they identified what is causing your symptoms?

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to sammysmum

No not yet. I have to wait to be seen by the specialists now.

The heat won't be helping you I have COPD and have struggled with this heat. Just getting to the kitchen and I have oxygen but not they can do except to wait for things to cool down. It often feels like asthma. Have they tested you for that at your surgery ask the nurse about having a check.

I also suffer and retain c02 which means I have to wear a mask with a machine to help me otherwise next day I would be struggling and probably end up in hospital. I have oxygen during day in and out of house I do check my sat levels used to be 83-85. But since the mask my levels stay up to about 92 which for me is good and consultant happy.

Ask to be referred to a pulmonary specialist and don't take no for an answer. Good luck hope your better soon.

Sometimes these antibiotics can cause this tightness. Tell about this with the next appt. Use a very high pillow and do the breathing exercises you can find on this site. A specialist may have the answer to your problem too. Good luck.

Dan

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to donut43

The tightness was an issue before I took any antibiotics. I’m seeing my doctor again this week so with luck we can figure something out.

Hidden
Hidden

Ask for a CT scan, many lung conditions don't show up on x rays, mine didn't.

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to Hidden

I’m being referred to lung people so we shall see what transpires.

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to TripleTea

Good luck, keep on trying to get a CT scan, don't know where you are, I know here that I got one easily but in UK that is almost the last thing offered, stupid cos in the end it costs the system more by not doing one early enough. I have Emphysema, already knew about that from 5 years ago, and Pulmonary Fibrosis and neither showed up on the 2 x rays. I have been coughing for 6 months and it is my fault that it took so long to get the CT scan as the x rays were *clear* thought I was just taking forever to get over a virus, but the inability to breathe took me back to the doctor, was referred to a pulmonologist and I had a CT scan with 2 weeks and then was referred to the top man in lung problems here, all so speedy. Holidays are the only thing atm that are slowing everything down.

TripleTea
TripleTea
in reply to Hidden

I am in the UK too. I just feel like I’m being silly and such yknow..? I’ll try my best to get some answers. Thank you (:

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