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British Lung Foundation
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COPD and DIY Antibiotics and Steroids for "Chest Infections"

Hi I am new to this so here goes I have not been conclusively diagnosed with COPDI have AF and about 4 years ago started to get very breathless on mild exertion lots of test latter we know what it isn't but not what it is. I have had three chest infections since mid Jan, now on my second course of Antibiotics and Steroids. Advised by my GP to have both in the house and use if needed. he states because of my Pack history although My test are inconclusive I do have COPD.

Does anybody have any objective info on the use of Steroids and Antibiotics detailing the costs and benefits so I can make an informed choice.

Thanks for listeninghope somebody can help


8 Replies

Not quite sure what you're asking here. If you have COPD then you would be well advised to keep an emergency supply of medication available in the house, ready to take if you have an excacerbation and cannot get the see the GP quickly. The main reasons being: the time it takes to get an appointment at some surgeries, weekends/holiday periods, not being well enough to get to the surgery, and any other problem that could stop you from accessing antibiotics and/or steroids when you need them.

As you get frequent chest infections you learn to almost anticipate when one will hit you. Some wait until they are coughing up lumps and can't breathe before they even call the GP, others have been through it so many times that they will spot the first bit of green gunk and start taking the medication before it really settles in.

Your GP should be issuing a self management plan and talking this through with you. There's an example here :- lothianrespiratorymcn.scot....

They are in a better position to explain the benefits, cost should not come into it. If you pay for prescriptions you may be better off getting a pre-pay certificate to cap the overall costs.


Thanks Gordon 57

By costs I meant disadvantages


Ah, OK, I see what you mean now. The most popular saying on here is 'everyone is different' and nobody can tell you what effect taking the medication will have on you as an individual. They can relate their experiences, but don't read too much into it if they react to steroids badly, or their antibiotics don't clear the problem. It happens, doctors would be laughing if they were able to give the same medication to everyone and that fixed it every time.

You can read about many experiences on here, in the end it's going to be how you react to the treatment you're given. Some of us have used one type of antibiotic then changed to another. Some have coated steroids because they get a reaction. That's why the GP or nurse should go over the plan with you, then you know what it's all about and know you can go back to them with questions if/when an infection fails to clear, or you have an unexpected reaction.

Not easy to say there are no disadvantages, you'll only find out for yourself when you hit on something that outweighs the advantages of being able to combat an infection. I could tell you that I get stomach problems with a certain antibiotic, but then take something else to counter that. It may be that you take the same thing and have no problem at all.

Over time you get used to it. A lot of people fear the worst when they find out they have a problem with their lungs, but you can continue for many years with the right treatment and knowing how to manage your meds.


Thanks Gordon

- every thing helps and it so good to feel i am not alone. Sorry for the delay in responding my Grandson is ill. I can feel a moan comming on so Iwill read all the Jokes again


Welcome to the site Nanael


Hello Nanaeal,

I know how you feel, it is a puzzle at first to know how to use the 'rescue 'medication' advised.

Yes, your GP should be working on an emergency plan with you which can help you manage an exacerbation. What may suit you better is a plan of your own to try and prevent exacerbations in the first place.

So perhaps when you feel better consider the following:

Eating as healthily as you can, getting yourself as fit as you can, via Pulmonary Rehab, exercise referral, walking for health walks, laughing as much as you can, ( even simulated laughing helps - Ha,Ha,Ha,) find a Breathe Easy group, use the BLF help line, take all your routine medication regularly,and smile.

Hope this sounds like a plan ? :-) wishing you good health.



Thanks for taking the time to give me some encouragement it does help

nanny eal


Hi. I have stage 2. Copd . Just had infection in my right lung. Been on antibiotics and steroids. I feel great. Which I could stay on them

Apart from feeling a bit dry and a slight cough. I feel normal.


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