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When is it appropriate to see a GP about a cough?

(19 Posts)
Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 15:20:56

I have been ill with a viral infection (runny nose, slight temp, shivers, fatigue, cough, sore throat) for two weeks. DD has had it and developed croup (GP treated with steroids), DH has had it and was given ABs for a sinus infection, which helped. They are both getting better, but I'm getting worse.

I am asthmatic (dx because of persistent cough, well managed). I had bronchitis for three months last year. I am breathless and coughing uncontrollably and my left lung feels wet and rattley. I feel weak and spaced out. But I still have viral symptoms - congested sinuses and tinnitus so the virus obviously hasn't run its course.

In the last year I seem to have developed a penicillin allergy which leaves me vomiting and with a painful blistering rash. And I can never figure out how long I should leave it before seeing a GP - I don't want to waste their time, but equally, I seem to spend months of each winter very unwell, and I'm sick of it.

So, should I wait another week to see if I need a GP? And secondary to that, what can I do to improve my general health each winter?

Roonerspism Sun 23-Nov-14 15:23:49

I don't think it should be based on length of time but instead how you are in yourself.

I have had a cough for 3 weeks but feel fine otherwise (I have had 2 colds so I know it's connected to that)

But I felt like you describe I would be off to GP tomorrow. No guilt. Sounds like a chest infection...

Jamfilter Sun 23-Nov-14 15:27:01

Speaking as someone who shares your pain re asthma and chest problems, I would see a doctor if: breathlessness was increasing, usual asthma remedies were not as effective, and/or I generally felt I was getting worse not better after 7-10 days. Seriously, do see your GP - just because you have viral symptoms it doesn't mean you might not need additional asthma treatment, or other things to help you shake this off.

It sounds really nasty. Hope you feel a lot better soon flowers

P.s. general health? Um, flu and pneumonia vacs, lots of hand washing, avoid public transport at peak times if you can. Everyone's different but I find a few minutes fresh air every day helps (I drink a cuppa in the garden!) and that some minimal exercise made a big difference (1 dance class a week). Singing is also brilliant for dodgy lungs.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 23-Nov-14 15:27:36

I would go to the GPs asap because there may be some underlying bacterial infection causing a chest infection as well as the initial virus. Do remind them that you are allergic to penicillin.

A cough that goes on for three weeks or more should always be investigated further by a GP.

Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 15:27:51

Thanks Rooner, that's a sensible point. I was getting fed up of reading the NHS website which says three weeks with a cough (though in fairness says asthmatics should be seen).,

Just for once I would like to have a cold which only affects me for a week, instead of weeks and months of coughing and losing fitness! confused

Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 15:31:43

Atilla, jam, thank you - making me feel a bit better about asking to be seen. My GP surgery here is great and has open clinic each morning, so thankfully it is easy to be seen.

I am shit at being ill and was really hoping I could fight this myself, but I have woken up feeling worse every day.

Massive sympathy to the rest of you who have crap lungs too!

Roonerspism Sun 23-Nov-14 16:30:28

Also, I find taking echinacea, vit C, eating garlic makes me feel better...

I don't normally get coughs (v lucky) but I'm heavily pregnant and always get one last trimester. I really miss taking my echinacea etc which seem to zap colds.

The other thing is if you take vitamin D? Low levels can lead to lower immunity.

Hope you feel better soon.

ISingSoprano Sun 23-Nov-14 16:38:32

Given your history of asthma and bronchitis and the fact that you have already been ill for a couple of weeks it would be entirely reasonable to see a GP.

I hope you feel better soon.

Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 16:38:50

Thank you - I do take a multivitamin and never had much luck when taking echinacea. I've had blood tests come back in normal range, but next time I'm going to ask to see the results to find out if anything is on the low end that I can top up.

Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 16:39:45

Thank you soprano. Glad that there is consensus that it's not unreasonable!

jeee Sun 23-Nov-14 16:43:25

I went to the doctors with a persistent cough when random strangers expressed concern. Turned out I had whooping cough.

Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 16:49:29

Jeee ouch! I have been stopped by strangers in the street before and offered cough streets. DH refers to this particular sound of cough as Cough of Doom as it reverberates loudly - I have never heard him make a sound like this!

Earlier today I was coughing so hard that I was retching and gagging. Grim.

Itsfab Sun 23-Nov-14 17:04:54

A cough that lasts for three weeks should be investigated in case of lung cancer but in your case, OP, I would be going tomorrow to the GP. You can't be too careful when you have asthma plus it sounds like you have more than "just" a cough.

I hope you all feel better very soon.

jeee Sun 23-Nov-14 17:07:48

I think Itsfab is right - you clearly have rather more than just a cough (and a cough on its own when you suffer from asthma can be a problem). Get to the doctors tomorrow.

Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 17:10:48

Thank you all. I will definitely go tomorrow smile

Shinyshoes2 Sun 23-Nov-14 17:15:50

I could have written what you've written OP
I waited 4 days , I know it's not long but I felt dreadful
But I'm NEVER ill
Was given anti b's and was diagnosed with a chest infection
Good luck

Shootthemoon Sun 23-Nov-14 17:23:42

Thank shiny; I hope the ABs helped quickly!

Shootthemoon Mon 24-Nov-14 10:36:43

ARGH. I have been here for two hours and only had three people ahead of me. Wtf are they doing in there?

Shootthemoon Mon 24-Nov-14 11:34:42

Argh. Two hours, only to be told that it seems viral and I should wait it out.

I think I might go live as a hermit away from all possible germs.

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