VIRUS OR CHEST INFECTION?: Hi everyone, I am having a... - NRAS

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Hi everyone, I am having a rough patch at the moment. Have been having increasing pain in my joints for the last month and two weeks ago developed an annoying cough which worsened last week and I also have a terrible constant headache. I was unable to get an appointment with the Doctor last week even though I said I really needed to see someone. I eventually managed to get an appointment on Friday morning with a nurse. She said my chest was clear and I probably have a virus and then went on to prescribe Amoxycillin, but told me not to take any unless my temperature went up, it hasn't. Is this normal as I thought antibiotics don't work for viruses. I felt really ill yesterday, coughing constantly, wheezing and feeling so weak. I managed to get an appointment with my Doctor and he said my chest is clear but sent me for a chest x-ray. I have to see him again tomorrow afternoon. I am confused now as to whether this is a virus or chest infection. I don't have a runny nose or sore throat. I haven't had a chest infection before so not sure what the symptoms would be, does this sound as though it could be one?

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Hi I was very note rested with your post. in Oct I went away on a cruise to Iceland and picked up a bad virus which turned to pneumoni. I had treatment on board but since then I too have been left with awful cough. Went to Dr's yesterday and she couldn't find anything to explain it although I have had these symptoms before since starting RA. When you read.about RA it does state that it can affect any part if body so wonder if as well as a virus the RA is attacking as well. Unfortunately Dr's o not seem to an open mind tunnel vision. however this Dr us sending new for blood test.for bacteria and I think is.looking a.bit broader so will let you know the outcome meanwhile.big hugs take care too



Oh darling your in a poor way aren't you darling. I hope your dr has news for you when you go tomorrow darling. I know if there is any viruses around it will always hit us harder than healthy people and take longer to recover from. The nurse was right to give you antibiotics as more often than not it develops into something else. They have to be so careful with raers as a virus can soon cause untold problems. I hope it is nothing serious wrong with you.xxxxxx


Hello, There is actually a virus going around that lasts for three weeks with just this terrible cough. I was in bed with it for a week and the cough lasted really three weeks. Make a lot of ginger water with honey and lemon that helps to kill the virus and does wonders with the cough.

I think what the nurse meant was for you to take the antibiotic if the virus turns bacterial this you often see if you get fever. Another way ito see is if the phlegm you cough up turns green. Take care, it will pass:)


Hi there sorry to hear your not feeling well I've got RA and have just had a dose of pneumonia , antibiotics and steroids this time round , it developed from a cold my daughter bought home from the Netherlands , must have nastier bugs than us lol as it had incubation period of 10 days b4 I fell ill with it, i went to Drs yesterday for check up my chest is clear now but I've got a nasty cough and white mucus coming up so looks like it's going to take a while to clear up properly, plenty of vitamins and keep hydrated will help take care hope you feel better soon


I got out of hospital yesterday after being taken in on Friday. They still don't really know what was wrong, and keep blaming a viral infection combined with sulphasalazine.

I had a horrific headache, a whole body rash, an annoying cough (not bad juat dry and a bit pathetic) and a temperature of nearly 40. They said that the sulphasalazine had affected my immune system which left me more open to infection, so they've taken me off it - now I have the joy of waiting for a new rheumy appointment for some new meds!

I hope you feel better soon!


You're on methotrexate aren't you? If so, then make sure that you tell the doctor, and and say you are worried about it as the patient leaflet says that coughs are something that should be raised urgently with a doctor. I don't think you are being treated carefully enough!

Yes it may well just be a passing virus that is irritating your lungs, especially if you have no temperature, are not coughing up gunk and don't have pain on breathing. But equally it could be early signs that the methotrexate is not working as it should, especially if you have joint pain& headaches. So they need to keep a carefully eye on you - which it sounds as if they are sort of doing but perhaps a bit more explanation from them would help?


Please make sure you remind your GP that you are on RA medication with associated immune system suppresssion as sometimes, stopping these for a few days (or a week with mtx) can help your body fight off the virus. I am in same boat at the moment, had cold symptoms for a couple of weeks and then developed chesty cough which has kept me awake for several nights now. Seems to be moving around and am hoping it is on its way out, but takes for ever with the RA meds. I couldn't get to see GP until 5th December, so expect to be fine by then :). Hope you feel some improvement in the next few days.


I've had similar happen to me, started with a cough and croaky voice. I was very tired and weak just didn't feel like doing anything. As I'm a carer for my husband I just couldn't afford to be like that. It has taken me 3 weeks to feel better although still got a nasty cough. I had 2 lots of antibiotics in order to get to this stage plus have not had my metho. For 3 weeks. Hope you all feel better soon.


Hi I've got something similar at the moment. Bad cough, tickly throat. Turns out it's a sort of winter hayfever. My chest is clear and I have no temp. Making feel very weak. Am now on certirizine antihistamine



Antibiotics are for bacterial infections not for viruses. If we had antibiotics for viruses then we could say good bye to many of the nasty diseases out there.

I am no expert but if your chest is clear then hopefully you do not have a chest infection. However if you have a virus that lingers and lingers (eg persistent cough with no other cold symptoms) and gets into your chest then your ability to fight what would otherwise be harmless bacteria is diminished and you then need antibiotics as you now have a bacterial attack. Hope that makes sense.

I have had 2 chest infections since being diagnosed with RA 4 years ago. My RA attacks my hands, feet and lungs. If your lungs are affected by RA don't panic. A couple of weeks ago I posted on this site how it is not a death sentence so come back to me if that is the case and I will dig out the info I posted to someone else who was terrified. But I hope that is not the case with you.


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Hiya Sue. Sorry you're not at your best at the mo but for what it's worth I think your Practice nurse is on the ball in prescribing amoxicillin, maybe not for now but for if things change. This time of year you don't want infection so at the first sign do start them & personally I'd stop your MTX, let your Rheumy nurse know if you think you need to but it's common sense with these two, plus it'll give you a better chance to fight it.

I hope it doesn't turn bacterial & you're feeling better soon. x


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