Exacerbations - how long do they last and can they be viral?

Posted , 6 users are following.

The title says it all really. I have bronchiectasis but I've not had a chronic cough until now. As I await confirmation or otherwise that it's due to Bx, I thought I'd try to understand whether a mildly productive (clear sputum) chronic cough for 7 weeks and not responding to antibiotics (nagging back ache also) could still be an 'exacerbation'. Your experiences and wisdom would be much appreciated.

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  • Posted

    Do you use any puffers or nebulized meds? Steroid tablets?

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I have had 3 different week-to-10-day duration courses of antibiotics (Amoxicillin, Clarithromycin then Doxycycline) with no let-up in the relentless cough, slight fever and mild back pain. I have been using a Pulmicort 200 dry inhaler for 2 weeks - again having no effect.

      This is why I've asked the title question as a viral infection would presumably not respond to anything other than time. The cough doesn't produce much and what is produced is always clear in colour.

      Until recently, my bronchiectasis has had no impact on quality of life for the 5 years since I was diagnosed - only rales on inhaling when led down at night was noticeable.

      The chronic cough I've had since mid June may be nothing to do with my Bx of course. The x-ray showed some scarring in the lower left lobe which could be due to a number of potential causes of varying seriousness.

      I just wanted to know if I could be suffering with typical Bx symptoms, or does Bx always produce coloured sputum and responds to antibiotics?

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    • Posted

      I don't recall any mention of fever before, must've missed that. Hard for me to say much about that as my body does not run fevers even when sick enough to be admitted to hospital for a week. All i can say is what my pulmonologist would say: Try at least a 20-day tapered dose of steroid tablets, ask your doc/consultant if it's time for nebulized meds, and maybe get your sinuses xrayed.

      i doubt there's anyone in the BX forum whose lungs don't show at least a bit of scarring so i'm no help on that, either.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the message. You are fortunate not suffer fevers, although what I have now is more like an unusually warm face and neck.

      CT scan is on Friday so I'm suggest steroids pending the outcome.

      Great having access to a community like this, I learn such a lot.

      Dave

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    • Posted

      Is it extra hot where you live? I was just in another thread of Brits talking about the extreme heat. I posted a lot of cooling tips from my Southern childhood when no one had air conditioners. That could be causing the fever & red neck & face. An allergy, even to meds, can do the same thing.

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      After a couple of hot (by UK standards) weeks, we're in what seems like monsoon season! I live in the north west of England (so never as hot as the south or south east). Still have a slight temperature, unfortunately.

      I was hoping this was all down to an allergy (I had bad hay fever as a child and teenager), but there's just no let up, day in day out the same, and my holiday in Menorca (complete change of scene) had no positive effect on symptoms.

      I am thinking now that it's a combination of PNDS and LPR (if it's not something sinister). I'd be surprised if it's heart related as the two ECGs I've had this year were normal.

      Wishing the time away to my scan day, I need answers and a plan of attack! 😃

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    • Posted

      when im having a coughing attack, im drenched in sweat along with other symptoms. ive never had ECG but my pulse is always normal but medical practitioners have never seen me having prolonged coughing fit or when ive been very short of breath as i always have to wait anything up to 3/4 hour and ive recovered by then. after saying that, i dont think its heart related.

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    • Posted

      I'm just hoping this seemingly set in condition is nothing life threatening. My scan can't come soon enough!

      I've only felt 'well' for about 3 weeks this year from mid-May to early June. Ridiculous, but this could be the norm from now on, time will tell.

      Reassuring to hear that a mild fever isn't unique to me though, details of your experiences are much appreciated.

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  • Posted

    I have a similar quandary over the last few months ive had a persistent cough, which can last over 30 minutes with clear sputum with cronic shortness of breath. My gp gave me a five day course of steroids which helped but it gradually returned. My nasal passages also block up with clear mucas. this as well as bronchiectasis. i take Spiriva 5micrograms every morning and Forstair NEXThaler 100 micrograms up to 8 times a day forthe Bronchiectasis but these have no affect on the shortness of breath which is severe especially if i have stairs to climb or slight upward slopes. my GP refers me to the Btonchiectasis unit at the hospital and they have now referred me to a shortness of breath unit. it seems it has nothing to do with the bronchiectasis.

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    • Posted

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I hope they solve the puzzle and are able to cure your condition. Obviously, I'd be interested to know how you get on. I don't have severe breathlessness, but I'm definitely not 100% at the moment - back and neck pain seems worse today!

      Dave

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    • Posted

      The coughing, too, could be heart-related. if not, a longer tapered dose of steroid tablets may be required, possibly 20-24 day taper.

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    • Posted

      just before i got an appointment with Gp i had two spasms in my back, something which hasnt bothered me for years except for a mild dull ache when stood a long time. in the past, the shortness of breath was asthma based but, although i wheeze from my bronchial tubes, i had no wheezing in my lungs, so i have to wait to see what my referrals have to say.

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    • Posted

      trouble is aitarg35939, by the time i getin to see Gp or Bronchiectasis specialist nurses, ive recovered my breathlessness sufficiently so theyve only my word for it. i should take my husband in with me to see them as he sees it all the time but parking is so bad, he has to drop me off and try to park off hospital grounds! last time i went to GP she hadnt had letter from hospital since November (and ive had 4 hospital appointments since then) so she was reluctant to offer me any relief.

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    • Posted

      Yes, taking someone with you is key. Go a lot earlier, park & Uber or cab or bus the rest of the way. Taking someone along is key for women with endometriosis, which ticks me off that nothing has changed in 40 + years. But these days it helps with a lot of docs & specialists in terms of getting them to sit up and pay attention because, wow!, there's a WITNESS!

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  • Posted

    Hi I think the viral can continue for a while, depending what viral you are carrying and if it's hard to swift. different virals seem worse than other virals with more symptoms to control. seems like theres basic symptoms then add ons, the add ons like back ache could possibly make you fatigue, also might slow walking pace etc. and the exacerbation can continue from weeks, months to years depending if its difficulty controlling what ever you have been diagnosed with and how severe it is. hope you all feel much better. take care let me know how your doing if possible tks

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    • Posted

      Hi Jeine,

      Thanks for the message. Back of neck and shoulders were a little worse this morning - I seem to feel Ok last thing then wake in the morning with back/neck pain........and the cycle repeats. Cough is neither worsening nor improving. All a bit abnormal for me, as I usually overcome chest infections within 3 weeks on the rare occasions I contract one.

      Dave

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    • Posted

      Hi nice to hear back from you, how you today?. That was my mistake I let to became the norm and was told off that I let this BX get to stage 5 like emphysema. Exacerbation can become a lot worse and are seen as different stages of the BX, mine started 2016 slowly got worse if when i got an infection it triggered symptoms and inflammation symptoms flared up any where it wanted, such as starts with cough, sputum, sinus backache, neck shoulders, legs, breathing difficulties, wheezing, memory, hearing loss, vision, bladder, bowels. In hospital when reached this stage on drip needing iv treatment etc. My exacerbation can be triggered whenever through pollen, pollution, infection, virus, fumes, etc etc. its important to keep infections and viruses away stay healthy as possible. I don't hardly go out and i stay away from built up crowded areas, and I cover nose mouth when on air flights. I take my own remedies to control this BX that I have come across over the last 4 years. Am tons under control now of keeping infections away etc. It took awhile and a terrible obstacle to go through and getting it under control was very difficult, as it some how gave me persistent severe exacerbation and asthma., when am not even asthmatic but it's a symptom, tricky to control. When there was an infection arising I would have 3 days to hit on it to get it under control or end up in hospital. I have mumbled on a bit so bye for now. take care Jeine

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    • Posted

      Mumble away 'til your heart's content........I am learning loads from this.

      Avoiding viruses and infections is going to be a challenge for me as I have twin 4 year old daughters who attend nursery and start school next month!

      I read about viral meningitis (trying to pinpoint the cause of my symptoms). Maybe that's taking things a bit too far as it's been nearly 8 weeks now.

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