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British Lung Foundation
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Dilemma! Should I have started the antibiotics and now that I have, should I finish the course?

I've not long been diagnosed with Bronchiectasis and to coincide with that my symptoms changed as well which I'm still trying to figure out. Last Friday, I began to feel really quite unwell again, I had night fevers, being sick when doing physio breathing exercises, pain in my right lung and displaced pain in my shoulder and just generally unwell. As I'd only finished my AB's on the previous Sunday, I was thinking 'oh no, here we go again' and of course it was Friday evening. I knew I was going to have my 3 year old all weekend, so there was no chance that I'd be able to take him to the walk-in centre and survive (my other half was working); so I started the antibiotics that I have at home. Having been taking them since Friday, I'm feeling much better and practically no fever last night, however now I'm worried that I shouldn't have started the AB's and am feeling like a naughty school child! I know I have to make an appointment with my doctor but that will take a few days as I won't be asking for an emergency one, so I'm not sure what to do in the meantime - any ideas?

Sorry to waffle!

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20 Replies

Keep taking the antibiotics, they certainly wont do you any harm, whereas stopping them may have an adverse effect if any infection is still present.

It's often the case that you will feel much better after a few days, that's why the instructions are always to complete the course :)

Thanks toonamp. I guess I'm just worried that the doctor will tell me off!

If you felt the need to take them, and you're now feeling better, on what grounds could he tell you off ?

Don't worry yourself over it. You did the the right thing :)

UNwelcome to the life of Bronchs', one min you're well the next you're poorly, this happened to me (again) on Tues nice day out, very,very,very well, went to bed woke up breathing probs, just getting over it. As for the abs yes you'll learn to recognise when is the right time to take them. More often than not if your GP prescribes a 2 week course and you're no better they extend it, so there is no harm doing what you have done. One thing though is see your GP as soon as poss because you may need an xray.

This is all part of the learning curve and belive me I'm still learning ;-)

Take care, hope you feel better soon and hope you had a lovely time with your little lad.



Thanks Karen. Sorry to hear you're not well either, hope you're getting better. I have made an appointment to see my doctor; I will ask about an xray although I'm not convinced they seem to show much - it took my consultant 3 years to diagnose me after a scan and lots of xrays.

Didn't have too bad a time with my little lad, a lot better than if I'd gone to the walk-in centre!

Take care


Always finnish the course of antibiotics otherwise you will do more harm than good. If you feel no better see your GP to get checked out & don't forget to get prescription for replacement of antibiotics. You have done the right thing in starting them .

Hope you feel much better soon

Best wishes

Jo :-)

Thanks Jo. I'm still taking them and will get replacements from the doctor on Thursday.

Take care


Hi I have always been told to finish a course of antibiotics once started because that's how you become resistant to them. Also if you don't finish them the infection can come back, sometimes twice as badly.

So finish the course. Can't you get them on repeat prescription?

Bev x

Thanks Bev.

I had no idea that stopping a course of AB's part way through could make you resistant to them. Definitely haven't stopped taking them and will get replacements from the doctor. I haven't got a repeat prescription, I noticed that the other day - I'll need to ask on Thursday.

Take care


Always, always, always finish the course once started. Otherwise your body can become immune to them, then where would you be!!

Hi Cusbarb

I hope you are feeling better, just to echo other responses i think you did the right thing by taking your antibiotics. They have done the job by making you feel better, if you hadn't of taken them you could be feeling an awful lot worse now.

Try not to worry about talking to your GP about this, trust your instincts about your health - you know yourself better than anyone else.

Continue to take them though, one of the reasons behind the growing immunity to antibiotics is people stop taking them when they feel better.

Keep well


Oh thanks Jo. It's all a bit strange finally having a name for my condition and the fact my symptoms keep changing isn't helping either. I'm still taking the AB's.

Take care


Hi cusbarb,

Please take everyones advice defo carry on taking the abs. It sounds as though you did absolutely the right thing as you are feeling a bit better after a few days on them. Please never stop half way through unless you have an intolerence to them and then see the doc. If you do, as said by your other friends although you feel a bit better bronch needs high dose and lengthy treatment, and it is also true the bugs you are growing will build up a resistence to that particular ab if you don't finish the course.

Please stop worrying about the gp 'telling you off', on the contrary I think he would have made the same decision to start the abs.

Has he/she mentioned putting in a sample to send off to the lab at the start of an infection, if not ask him about it. That way you can get started on your abs whilst the sample is away and when it comes back, if you are no better, the doc will then know what bug you have and what it is sensitive to.

Have you been refered to a respiratory consultant? With bronch you really should, preferably one who has a special interest in cystic fibrosis as he/she will be very clued up about bronchiectasis as the lung part is very similar.

You mention breathing excercises and so I am presuming you have already seen a respiratory physiotherapist, if not ask your resp consultant for a referal.

Probably all a bit overwhelming as this is all relatively new for you, but given time you will get to know all the signs and know instinctively what to do. In the meantime I would suggest you learn as much as you can BUT only from reputable sites and from you friends here.

Good luck at the docs.

Love xxx

I'm not sure what happened, I just typed a long(ish) reply to your message and I can't see it - it could only happen to me!

Anyway, I enjoy reading your responses; even though I don't write on here very much, I read the questions on my way to and from work - I'm learning so much.

I've made a note to ask if there are any consultants with special interest in cystic fibrosis, I'm not sure if there are at the RBH. My current consultant is very nice but I just get the feeling that he's trying to get rid of me, so I feel that I need to be up on bronchiectasis so that I can ask the right questions about what is right for me.

I haven't done a sample this time as it would have been produced on Friday evening and not collected until Monday. All I'm producing now is thick unpleasant mucus. I have seen a respiratory physiotherapist and am busy doing my exercises. I will hopefully have another appointment in January so that she can tell me where I'm going wrong as there is such a lot to remember!

Take care


Oooops Jo and my posts crossed ;-)

I started abs and steroids because I cracked my ribs and I worried I wouldn't be breathing right and start an infection, I did the right thing because they seemed to make loads of gunge come up which dosn't usually happen so I did the right thing

Lib x

Eeek, cracked ribs - you poor thing. I hope you're all better now. I had trained myself over the years not to cough as it hurt, but just as I got my diagnosis that all changed - bizarrely, perhaps it's to do with my physio exercises - who knows!

Take care


Hi cusbarb

I assume you are talking about the Royal Brompton - brilliant. If you want to pm me with the name of a large city you could have access to I have a list of cystic fibrosis centres and cf specialists. CF consultants are on this list at the Brompton too.

Love C XXX

Sorry I meant the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. Are there any CF consultants there?

Take care


Ok. Will pm.


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