CLL Support Association
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Flu and other beasties

Our whole house has the flu--or a sinister look-alike.  I probably started it.  

I had a flu shot, but suspect that it didn't "take" as it should.  Seems like this has been going on a long time. 

So I've had a cough that has been pretty awful at times, and a temperature that is normal in the morning and at 101.5F / 38.6C at night.  Every morning I think I am better, and every night, not so much -- and coughing instead of sleeping for a lot of the night. 

   I have an appointment with my primary care physician this morning, and with the hematologist on Monday.   Going today to make sure my lungs are still clear.  The last couple of times he has not heard anything. 


Is there any "usual" way that W&W patients are handled when we get a nasty virus?  Are prophylactic antibiotics used even though they can't help with the virus?  In the case of a consistent cough are X-rays normally done? Or do we try to avoid them?  I am still so new to this Dx that I have no inkling of how my immune status is, but I do know that it is taking me a lot longer to get feeling better. 

4 Replies

It's hard for a doctor to determine whether a respiratory illness is due to a viral or bacterial or even fungal infection.  While antibiotics are useless against viruses, if your respiratory infection is not getting better, it could be due to an secondary infection and generally doctors are more inclined to prescribe antibiotics to CLL patients to help us fight off an infection.  With our compromised immune systems, we are more at risk of pneumonia, so there's good reason to be somewhat relaxed about starting antibiotics just in case.  If the respiratory infection doesn't resolve, push your doctor to arrange a swab culture to identify what's causing the infection.  That will enable the most effective antibiotic to be prescribed.  If you have a fungal respiratory infection, they can take a long time to clear.

I'm not sure of the protocol when it comes to chest X-rays, but while a chest X-ray comes with a reasonable dose of ionising radiation, it's much less than a CT Scan.  Sometimes the small risk associated with the radiation is worth the potential benefit if it helps your medical team get you better faster.  Staying ill is not without potentially serious risk either!

Hopefully you'll get another all clear check of your lungs and it's just a matter of your body adjusting.



I was in this position over a month ago and ended up with severe pneumonia after the GP initially diagnosing a viral chest infection (I actually had both but the bacterial infection was consolidating in my lungs following norovirus.)

My experience in the UK is that GP's rarely swab to identify the nature of viruses. I've asked them to many times. 

Despite the radiation risks of an XRay, please have one done because the risks of unidentified pneumonia is so much more serious.

Hope you feel much better soon but please be proactive on this because your temp is too high and like you, I coughed all night every night. I still haven't got my voice back.

Let us know how you go.




Thanks AussieNeil and Newdawn.  That was very helpful information, and gives me more clarity on what to discuss this morning.  

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My doctor checked me out, ordered an antibiotic, and had me get an x-ray, which came out "clear".  He asked if I wanted a cough suppressant, but I turned it down, mostly because if something does get in my lungs, I'd rather hack it out than let it fester.   So,  he did pretty much what I would have expected, without me needing to push for it.   The antibiotic will hopefully clear any secondary infections that are trying to take hold.   If Monday comes and I don't feel any better, I'll take it up with the hematologist.  Thank you again, for your replies!


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