When to take antibiotics?

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I am away on holiday and have developed a deep cough. It is nothing I would normally be concerned about but a few months ago I was diagnosed with mild emphysema. I am new to this and realise noone has informed me of what to do in a case like this. Normally I would see my gp but obviously dont have that ability seeing I am away. I have antibiotics. Do you take them with a normal cough? I feel fine but just have a deep cough. Coughing up stuff but it is clear (excuse the detail but I think colour is significantsmile Any advice appreciated. I am meaning towards taking them to be safe.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Cookies

    If your cough is normal and if your phlegm is also normal I would not take them.

    What you are looking for is signs and symtoms of declline in your condition such as an infection.

    Changes in color of phlegm (not clear)

    Changes in amount of phlegm

    Increased shortness of breath

    Possible fever

    COPD coughs and phlegm go hand in hand. What you are looking for are signs things have changed as described above.

    Sometimes, for instance, if you are in a climate that is more humid, you may find yourself coughing more or having increased phlegm but does not mean you have an infection.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your response. I have put a call into my gp so that I can talk to them. it is frustrating that you are given this diagnosis but no real directive on what to do in cases like this. I feel ok but the cough is quite hacking. I am at a high altitude (skiing) so I am more out of breath but then so is my husband. I know my oxygen is fine. (My daughter has asthma so I always carry an oxygen reader) I'll see what my doctor says. I do wish doctors were more informative.
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  • Posted

    Hi I agree that ab's are only used to treat infections so wouldn't help.  However for just a general worsening of your symptoms sometimes steroids on their own will help.  Do you have any of those?   Wait until you can speak to your doctor though. x
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  • Posted

    If you feel fine and your sputum is clear I wouldn't take the ABs

    Its unusual for you to be prescribed the rescue pack when newly diagnosed, with mild emphysema and without any patient information to indicate how to identify when and how to take the medication.

    When you get back you may want to ask your GP for further advice on this or request an appointment with the respiratory nurse if your GP surgery has one in residence.  

    I would recommend you to ask for a referral to a pulmonary rehabilitation course also which will help you understand and manage your symptoms and give you the information on ways to help avoid further lung damage.

    Hope your cough doesn't develop into anything nor prevent you from enjoying your holiday.  The cold air could easily affect the airways resulting in a cough, if you have been prescribed them do take your inhaler medicines.  The steroid inhaler (the preventer medicine) will help prevent your lungs from becoming inflamed.

    You may also want to read through the tips post when you have some more time:   

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/tips-know-the-difference-478568

     

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  • Posted

    Thank you for all of your helpful responses. I have spoken to my gp. He said that it didn't sound as if I needed antibiotics but if my symptoms worsened to go ahead with it as they will not hurt. He also noted that I would not take antibiotics for every cough and cold but since I am away from home this may be the best thing to do. I should add that I wasn't given an emergency pack. These were antibiotics which I had (confirmed that they would be the right ones to use) which I happened to bring with me as I deveiped a cough 2 days before leaving. So I will hold off and use them only if things get worse. He told me to use my inhaler and enjoy the skiing so long as I feel well. Thank you again. You are all very knowledgable which is very helpful for someone newly diagnosed.
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  • Posted

    I'm amazed that with only  mild emphysema you've been given antibiotics with no instructions on how and when to use them:  can't you contact whoever prescribed them by phone or email and ask what to do?
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  • Posted

    Hi Cookie, Enjoy your holiday. When you get back home ask for a Spirometry test [lung function] he will also send you for a lung xray. Antibiotics are of no use in your case unless you cough up light green. try carbocistiene to ease coughing up of mucus . good luck let us all know how you get on  happy new year to you and all followers.
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  • Posted

    Oh dear, cookie, here you say diagnosed a few months ago and on your recent discussion you say just over a month ago.  very confusing.  

    I guess not UK patient, possibly you have seen different docs giving different diagnosis dates,

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    • Posted

      I was diagnosed at then end of November.  Not sure the relevancy of the exact dating though?? And yes, I am in the UK.  I have seen several doctors though as I have private insurance.  Your previous posts have been very helpfulsmile
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    • Posted

      Yes I can imagine things get confusing if you are going privately and seeing several different doctors. bound to all mash into a blur. 

      Pity you are not getting a proper management plan.  Pulmonary rehabilitation will give you a better understanding of things I think. I do believe Bupa do a private pulmonary rehabilitation clinic, you may want to investigate this.

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