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Doctor says there's no middle ground!

(151 Posts)
Stupidcough Tue 22-Oct-19 11:26:45

Firstly can I say I'm feeling really unwell, so please don't flame me if you disagree.

I'm off work sick at the moment as I have a really sore throat and a nasty cough. It hurts my chest a lot every time I cough and when I speak my throat feels like I have swallowed razor blades. I am weak and tired, with a pounding headache.

I don't have a cold or any other symptoms of one, and this came on very suddenly on Saturday. I was absolutely fine in the morning, and by lunchtime I was in bed.

Rang the doctor's this morning, the receptionist said they don't see people for coughs and I should see a pharmacist. I told her I'm concerned it's a chest infection which is why I'd like to be seen. She grudgingly took my number and added me to her 'list'.

I've now received a text from my GP saying that chest pain is not a worrying symptom with a cough, and if I get chest pain when I'm not coughing I should go to a&e. Otherwise I should see a pharmacist. He includes a link to the NHS page on coughs.

I know it's unlikely to be life threatening, and I am not a person who goes to the GP with a cold, but I genuinely think it is 'something'. I find it hard to believe that there is no middle ground for chest pains between a common cold and a heart attack.

I feel absolutely rotten and now I feel silly having asked for help. I'm never off work so I feel guilty about that too.

lljkk Tue 22-Oct-19 11:44:03

We don't have a system where you instruct the doctor what's wrong with you. Hope you feel better soon.

antisupermum Tue 22-Oct-19 11:45:36

You have options; visit a pharmacist who should be able to listen to your chest and ask other relevant questions. If they suspect an infection they will refer you back to your GP and you will have an undeniable reason to ask for an appt when you get through to the reception mafia.

Or, call NHS 24 and describe your symptoms. Either do this now if you are genuinely concerned, they may refer you to A&E if they feel it is warranted, or call them after 6pm and they may refer you to an out of hours clinic.

TBH unless you feel genuinely terribly unwell i.e. chest pains that could be caused by heart issues etc; I would likely wait another day or so, keeping topped up on Paracetamol and throat lozenges. Call the GP again when you are more certain it may be an infection and insist they see you, or ask for a nurses appt to be seen by a medical professional as opposed to being dismissed by an administrative staff member (always frustrating).

Bloodybridget Tue 22-Oct-19 11:48:19

Sorry you are feeling so poorly, but chest pain is very common with a cough. What are you worried about, specifically? Are you asthmatic or prone to serious chest infections?

MIdgebabe Tue 22-Oct-19 11:49:25

Viruses come on suddenly. There is nothing much to be done agaisnt a viral infection except rest, fluids , painkillers and a big dose of feeling really sorry for yourself. Ice cream. Crisps ( salt)

Yes the chest pain cane be bad. Honestly? It sounds like you have been lucky i life to avoid this before. If it goes on more than 2 weeks, phone back.

Ilikewinter Tue 22-Oct-19 11:50:59

Doctors and 111 will soon be telling patients to phone a pharmacist for advice if they feel it is a non urgent call.
There are soooo many people ill with colds at the moment, but as its viral and not bacterial theres nothing the GP can give you. The advice is rest, take regular doses of paracetamol to help aches, pains, headaches, temperature etc, drink plenty of fluids and let your body clear out the crap.
If you have a cough you can get medicines depending on if its a productive cough or not..again, visit a local pharmacy.

Stupidcough Tue 22-Oct-19 11:52:17

Lljkk your response makes no sense at all.

Antisupermum, will a pharmacist listen to my chest? I thought they would just advise on cough medicines. I absolutely do not think I need a&e, that's my point. I just don't see the purpose of waiting a few more days in pain- if it is an infection then surely it's best to give antibiotics early, before it gets worse?

kitk Tue 22-Oct-19 11:52:48

Go to see your pharmacist. They are trained to deal with minor ailments and know when to escalate to the doctor. It's really important to follow advice to take the pressure off the nhs. Id the pharmacist suspects a chest infection they will tell you to see the doctor and they will because you've followed the correct process.

Stupidcough Tue 22-Oct-19 11:55:11

It is not a cold. I do not have symptoms of a cold.

CoolcoolcoolcoolcoolNoDoubt Tue 22-Oct-19 11:56:00

Yep, no way any generally healthy person should be expecting a doctors appointment (or antibiotics) for a cough they've had for three days, sorry OP. I think they did the right thing, referring you to the pharmacy.

Stupidcough Tue 22-Oct-19 11:56:39

Maybe I do need to go to the pharmacist. I just didn't think they could do much other than recommended medicine.

picklemepopcorn Tue 22-Oct-19 11:56:40

We can't take antibiotics 'just in case' anymore.

If it's a virus, you just have to look after yourself and wait.

If it's a bacterial infection, it will either get better on its own, or get much worse and you'll know to go in.

kitk Tue 22-Oct-19 11:56:44

@Stupidcough they're trained on what to look out for and know the symptoms of a chesty cough v a chest infection. The best thing is you don't need to wait a few days- you can walk in today and get seen. They will refer you back to the doctor if they think it's an infection. Why are you so sure it's an infection? Are you prone to them?

MIdgebabe Tue 22-Oct-19 11:57:50

Becuase it doesn't sound like a bacterial infection? Because even if it is a bacterial infection it might get better all by itself?

ActualHornist Tue 22-Oct-19 11:58:16

A cold is a virus and viruses don’t necessarily mean you have a runny nose and sneeze a lot. Coughing and headache are classic cold symptoms though confused

I’m sorry you’re feeling unwell but I think you’re being unreasonable. If you don’t have underlying health issues (like asthma) then you’ve likely got a cold/virus and a cough. Chest pains from coughing are totally normal unfortunately. Hence ‘chesty cough’ syrup.

MIdgebabe Tue 22-Oct-19 11:59:24

It could be caused by a common virus even if there is no snotty nose.

mencken Tue 22-Oct-19 12:00:25

while I don't know it sounds bang on for what happened when I got flu - suddenly felled. Despite the jab which doesn't always work. I haven't felt so ill in forever and it took some recovering from. If that's what you have you shouldn't be in the surgery and antibiotics won't work.

there are no cough medicines of any use except the codeine derivatives or equivalents. Fierce coughing does hurt.

run a symptom checker from the NhS site. hope you feel better soon.

CameraTime Tue 22-Oct-19 12:00:25

Oh dear, hope you feel better soon! I know a few people who've had something similar recently, it's not pleasant!

I'd start by going to the pharmacy. They should be able to help you, or at least say "You need to see the GP", at which point you can ring the GP and tell them the pharmacist sent you.

You wouldn't believe how many people go to the GP with sore throats and colds - people like you have more wit, but the GP doesn't know that.

HappyHammy Tue 22-Oct-19 12:01:02

I had this and it was pleurisy, I wouldnt expect my pharmacist to diagnose me and would call the doctor back. How do they know what's wrong if they dont examine you. I bet they wouldn't advise this if you were elderly, at ,least I would hope not, you dont know what the non medically trained receptionist told the doctor, the least I would expect is to see the nurse.

AnathemaPulsifer Tue 22-Oct-19 12:01:06

I have a really sore throat and a nasty cough. It hurts my chest a lot every time I cough and when I speak my throat feels like I have swallowed razor blades. I am weak and tired, with a pounding headache.

These are symptoms of a cold. It doesn't have to be a streaming headcold to be a virus.

umberellaonesie Tue 22-Oct-19 12:02:12

You could drop off a sputum sample to the GP which will confirm or not if there is any infection.
You say you have no cold symptoms but sore throat, headache are cold symptoms as is a cough.
Do you have a fever? As that is a symptom of infection.
Take some cold and flu remedies or paracetamol, drink plenty fluid and rest.
You do not need antibiotics and even if you did the above advice would be the same.

Whattodoabout Tue 22-Oct-19 12:03:14

The GP is probably right. I also have a rotten cough atm with no other cold symptoms so you have my sympathies, I’m knackered too. It’s most likely a virus though even if it’s not a cold, GP’s can’t do anything for viruses so you’d just be wasting everyone’s time.

Candle1000 Tue 22-Oct-19 12:04:31

It’s horrible to feel ill but sometimes we just have to ride it out . It may be a chest infection but if you are normally fairly robust then your body will fight it without antibiotics. The knee jerk reaction to take antibiotics really needs to be stopped, I don’t think people realise how much damage overuse of them is doing.

Candle1000 Tue 22-Oct-19 12:06:15


Lunafortheloveogod Tue 22-Oct-19 12:06:16

Chesty cough (it’ll hurt cause it’s not uncommon to wind up with muscular pain after a coughing fit), sore throat, headache and lethargic... there’s a massive chance it’s a viral cold like thing.. colds aren’t all runny noses n sneezing.

No coughing up mucous? No wheeze? No under lying asthma/copd?

Even if it is a chest infection viral ones don’t require antibiotics.

Plenty of fluids, rest, paracetamol and a cough bottle if it helps. The pharmacy will be able to tell you if you need something stronger.

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