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British Lung Foundation
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Immune system

Hi all

I have had 2 chest infections in 6 weeks

Still on anti and steroids I now have yet another cold I think I have a low immune system do others have this if so any ideas how to build it up I live a fairly healthy life

Thank you


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25 Replies

I would be interested in the answers. I have had constant chest infections during a time when they aren't so frequent (hay fever season is worse) Important because husbands immune system will be low due to chemo. I have commenced echinacea but not sure that is the answer. Excuse me, Jennyren for barging in.

That's ok perhaps we will get the answer


I don't really have any answers. I sometimes wonder if there is a genetic factor to this. I hardly ever get colds or infections and I am now quite fit and active, I certainly eat the right things, but i havent always been like that and i didnt get infections then either.

I don't take any supplements, except a daily spoon of Manukka honey 15+. I have no idea if it really does all they say, and it is expensive, but I am doing it. I eat so many fresh vegetables and salads (I grown all our own) that I get plenty of vitamins.

I think its all more complex than we realise.

Lynne xx

I feel for you! The problem is that when your control is compromised it takes it out of you and you are at greater risk of something else.

Advice: keep as healthy as you can and discuss your management plan with your healthcare professional.

Thank you Lynne and Kevi. .

Sounds Like You Need VITAMIN B12 .... But If Its Not Helping Might Have Underlying Problems

Sure If You Give BLF A Call Be More Than Happy To Discus Things With You ... All The Best Hope That Helps :)

Thank you I will phone them tomorrow but I will try b12

Have you been on long term steroids ie constantly for 6 months or over? I have bronciectassis and had to be on prednislone for a year before I came off them I had to have a test to see if they had damaged my adrenal glands, the test came back that they had and now I will have to stay on a small dose for the rest of my life as it has left me with a weak immune system. Every time i get a cold or any infection i have to put up the dose from 5mg to 30mg for 5 days then reduce it by 5mg daily until i am back on my permanent dose of 5mg. This has helped reduce the amount of colds etc. I f you have had alot of steroids it is worth checking it out

That's interesting ,I'm on 30mg at the moment I finish course tomorrow I am on them often but not more than 8/9 times a year, but I think it's got worse as I have had the 2 infections one after the other and now a cold I will see doc we'd and put it to him thank you


The test to see if your adrenal glands are working is called a short synathecin test. You have a blood test first followd by a chemical injected into you then another blood test. It is usually done at the hospital as an in patient for half a day. My consultant arranged mine A lot of people are unaware that this is a common side effect of steroids. I was not aware of it until it was too late, but had no choice but to take them. Any way it is well worth talking to your doctor about it.Let me know how you get on Best wishes julie xxxxx

Thanks again, il let you know

Regards jenny

I always thought steroids suppressed your immune system. If you are in them a lot then you become more susceptible to infections. I got a bad cut in the early stages if them and it took a long time to heal.

I have to agree with Lynne - I think there's a genetic and dietary link. I don't have a lot of colds (i work on an open plan office and someone always has the cold) but I do have Bronchiectasis so am more likely to get infections although azithromycin has helped.. I swear by lots of onions and garlic if that helps.

I'd suggest a chat with your GP. Good luck.

Marie x

Thanks. For the reply I have to say when I have had small wounds I have noticed in the last year that is the case for me, they take a long time to heal up, I see gp we'd so will go over all this with him

Regards jenny

I like you have suffered with non stop infections for ages, the hospital discovered a bug (pseudomonas) living in lungs, this is a nasty little so and so that can't be killed. So they have to try to contain it, with the result the immune system tries to fight it all the time and thus reduces it's own power over other infections.

The experts are working on it, in the mean while it's a grin and bare it situation.

It might be worth asking when you next give a sputum sample if they could check for pseudomonas as they don't normally look for it.

The other answer might be a gene missing some people are born with a gene that is not quite right, and it too can effect you immune system. I am told it all goes back to mothers milk and early development.

Unfortunately the answer seems to be anti B's and steroids

Oooo A few days ago I asked this site about fungus as I have been called for a finger prick test I had mucus tests not got results yet, I wasn't breast feed as I was very ill when born,(bronco) and (emph) if had 10yrs O well onwards and upwards I see doc wed I will have a list and go through it all he will like that.(not). Hehe thank you

Regards jenny

Hi jennyren

I am sorry to read you have been having a rough time of it, there is some evidence to suggest taking a probiotic when you are on antibiotics to help to get everything back in balance, however some schools of though suggest this dosen't help. Eating a well balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is also advised. I read somehere that apparently in other countries people are advised to eat more than the '5 a day' we have here as 5 is the least we should try to eat. Fruit and veg can help our immune systems.

Trying to keep away from people with colds etc (easier said than done) can reduce the risk of you picking something up and it going onto your chest.

I hope you're feeling better soon and please do call us on 03000 030 555 if you would like to talk more.



Thank you Jo


hi jenny

i have bronchiectasis/ asthma i have had several pnumonia jabs but still have no protection against it, i have recently been to hosp to see an immunologist i have very low immunodeficiency hence several infections and severe lung pain he has upped my azyth to 500mg three times a week and must admit i feel a lot better. i have app soon to get results but i have been told i am alergic to cat /dog dander and house dust been advised to change all my bedding /pillows etc this i can do but it is impossible to avoid absolutely everything that effects us. hope this helps you decide if you need to get your own immune system checked

good luck


Hi Rosie may I ask where the pain starts for instants back or front and what sort..I ask become I have started having pain Iin the last few days when I settle down in bed this might be totally unrelated but becosme you mentioned it I wondered what the pain was like

hi jenny

i have had pain for two years now in bottom front of lung, it is a heavy feeling and travels to top of chest i have bought soft no wire bras to help with the discomfort, it can be worse when lying down but in some people it can be start of infection as i mentioned before upping azyth has helped greatly. try bronchiectasis r us forum there

is a lot of information to be gained from people who have bronch from birth

good luck


Thanks Rosie will do

Regards jenny


A good multivitamin like Solgar that gives you high enough Vit C (especially), D3, A & E. also other things like oil of oregano tablets, garlic, coQ10 and aloe vera - help build immune system and reduce inflammation. I take a herbal mix for decongestant and getting rid of mucus x

Thank you

Regards jenny

do try and invest in alternative remedies if at all possible: I was picking up every cold infection I was exposed to after 2 bouts of pneumonia over winter but my gr daughter recently came to stay and went down with a nasty 48 hr infection which a daughter also caught but amazingly I escaped-just feeling on the edge of a cold - I have had 20 Salt Cave sessions since end of November when feeling very poorly; since New Year taking high doses of Vit C-need to get advice about this + Omega 3 1300 mg + multivits., Vitalise is v. good + good diet + 2 appoints ( 1 was 65th birthday pres.!) with medical herbalist: low income clinic, who was very thorough and prescribed herbal mixture and probiotics-

so I feel this must have worked and intend to keep it up + lots of fresh, preferably sea air-hope this helps.

Thank you I will try this



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