My wife has a really bad mucus chest infection

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Hi im just looking for advice before i go to the doctors with my wife. She has been going to the doctor for several years ( she is 37 and physically fit) with a really chesty ,mucus , cough. Duting this time it really knocks her for six  with really low energy levels and sympotms of IBS. over the years the doctors have just given her medicine to clear it up and then left it another year. 

However this year it came back alot worse and i insisted that she raise her concerns with the Gp ( however , i still dont think she has told them how bad she gets ) i could hear her chest bubbling , a really bad cough and her energy levels are so bad that sometimes moving is difficult.  The GP sent her for an x ray and they said she had a shadow on her lung  ( she has never smoked) . The gp only mentioned this in passing and put her on an inhaler for one month , no improvement ,so on tablets for a month , no change and she had to go to an emergency doctor last week who cave her some COAX tablets and told her to take these for a week before returning fo a follow up in two weeks. 

im just looking for any advice as it is really hard seeing her like this 

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  • Posted

    Hi Mark

    So sorry to hear of your wife's difficulty and of your concern.

    Has your wife been diagnosed yet? Chronic Bronchitis maybe?

    If not diagnosed, once the chest infection is cleared your wife may want to request further investigation, a spirometry test may help to know if there is a problem with the airways, many surgeries have a respiratory clinic, you could ask the GP for referral to this.

    For excess mucus the doctor can prescribe mucodyne, that could be an ongoing medication if there is always a need to clear mucus.

    Regarding the chest infection, that needs ongoing treatment until it clears.  The doctor should be checking your wife's lungs, ie listening to what is going on through a stethescope. If you are still hearing the bubbling sound chances are the infection has not cleared and it will require ongoing treatment until it does..

    I am not familiar with COAX tablets.  Normally a chest infection needs treating with anti biotics and steroid tablets to clear it, the longer a chest infection is left untreated the more difficult it is to get rid of and there is an increased chance of lung damage occuring.

    You wife is very lucky to have you to nudge her into action to see the doctor, may I suggest that if you are able, ie wife agrees you attend the appointment with her so that should she forget to mention anything you can remind her and communicate with her doctor about what you are aware of, ie things your wife may not be aware of while she is sleeping for instance that you may have noticed.  Mention the bubbling sound, this should prompt the doctor to listen to her lungs himself.

    Very best wishes to you and your wife.

    V

    PS  Regarding the IBS, this needs treating separately to get under control, her doctor should advise on that also,  if you wish check out patient uk discussions and other information on IBS some links below:-

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/browse/irritable-bowel-syndrome-1211

    https://patient.info/health/irritable-bowel-syndrome-leaflet

    https://patient.info/ibshealth

    Take good care and good luck, hope your wife is feeling much better real soon.

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    • Posted

      The other thing would be to ask the doc or reception for a sterile container so your wife can provide a sputum sample that the doc can arrange to be tested, this way the test can reveal which anti biotic is required.

      Do hope all goes well.

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    • Posted

      Hi vee 

      thanks for your comments , i took her to an emergency doctor yesterday in her own surgery as she wasnt getting any better. The doctor on my request , even though he didnt seem happy about me being there , looked through all the notes,, and noticed that the mucus test she gave 8 weeks ago , showed that it was responsive to amoxyxillin etc , and that is exactly what they had been giving her , hence the reason it hadnt moved. he prescribed a new anti biotic and steroids for one week . We then have to go back to investigate further why these problems occur and he will refer us to a respiratory specialist . i asked about the shadow and he read the notes and its stated damage to some of the airways indicative of somebody that had smoked for years  OR had suffered from many chest infections !! well she hasnt smoked and has been going to them for an infection for a few years. 

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  • Posted

    Hello Mark

    This presently sounds like pneumonia.

    Please ask the doctor directly for a diagnosis, both for her repeating chest conditions as well as for  this acute phase.

    Such long standing and repeating symptoms would be concerning for several reasons, least of which would be increasing damage to the lungs.

    Hope to hear back as to the findings.

    Lill

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    • Posted

      Hi Lill

      Hi vee 

      thanks for your comments , i took her to an emergency doctor yesterday in her own surgery as she wasnt getting any better. The doctor on my request , even though he didnt seem happy about me being there , looked through all the notes,, and noticed that the mucus test she gave 8 weeks ago , showed that it was responsive to amoxyxillin etc , and that is exactly what they had been giving her , hence the reason it hadnt moved. he prescribed a new anti biotic and steroids for one week . We then have to go back to investigate further why these problems occur and he will refer us to a respiratory specialist . i asked about the shadow and he read the notes and its stated damage to some of the airways indicative of somebody that had smoked for years  OR had suffered from many chest infections !! well she hasnt smoked and has been going to them for an infection for a few years. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Mark

      Thank goodness you went in with your wife and spoke out, and thank goodness it seems now you wife has more appropriate medication and that you have a referral to a respiratory specialist, that is great, well done.  You wife being referred to a respiratory specialist, will get all the appropriate tests carried out to determine the cause of her repeated chest infections.

      Hi again Mark

      Here's hoping the new meds prescribed for your wife clear this infection up once and for all and she will begin to feel like her old self again.

      Best wishes to you both.  Keep in touch.

      V

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    • Posted

      Thank  you for the update Mark

      So it is clear then that repeated 'infections' have caused damage to the lungs over time. It sounds as though your wife has fallen through the cracks of the medical care.....that she should have been ill so frequently with the same issues and apparently the physicians never looked further than treating the acute problem.

      Once the specialist has some information, perhaps you will let us know what his/her opinion is and what further will be done.

      Good thing your wife has you to look  out for her.

      Drinking lots of water will thin out the secretions and aid in her being able to cough them up. Practising some slow deep breathing will help also, and in addition will help keep her oxygen levels up. Ensure she takes every bit of the antibiotic. Some times people stop taking them before they are done, because they feel better, but that is one of the worst things to do.

      Thank you for updating us and hope your wife is doing better soon.

      Lill

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