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Battling Bronchitis

Well, even though I am a germaphobe, I managed to get sick.

I’m one of those people who uses paper towels to open bathroom doors in public restrooms. If paper towels aren’t available, I use my shirt or scarf to open the door. I carry hand sanitizer in my purse and pop up antiseptic wipes in my car. It’s not that I’m paranoid about getting sick….it’s just that I know what happens to myself and my kids when we get sick. My kids were hospitalized 12 times when they were young for asthma and pneumonia. So, we are VERY careful when we are out in public.

But, here I am with a case of bronchitis. To a “normal person” (someone with healthy lungs and no asthma), it would just be a cold. But  – for those of us with asthma, there is no such thing as a little cold. A cold will often times morph into pneumonia or bronchitis.

Beginning of an infection

It started out innocently enough, I just woke up with just a scratchy throat, but then I started having a tight chest. At first, I was using my quick relief (or rescue inhaler.) But I soon realized that I was going to need my nebulizer.

When my chest is really tight, I can’t breathe in deep enough to be able to use my rescue inhaler. So, I pull out the nebulizer, so I can just sit and breathe in the mist of medicine. I also take a controller medicine every day, to try to keep my asthma symptoms under control. If I wasn’t using my controller inhaler, I think this bronchitis would be a LOT worse.

But, even with using my daily controller inhaler, and my nebulizer, I could tell I was getting worse. I needed my nebulizer every 4 hours, which means my lungs are really bad. I called Asthma Doc because I knew I needed prednisone. You know, “the necessary evil.” No one LIKES to use prednisone (because it has some nasty side effects), but sometimes you don’t have a choice. My lungs were so tight, that I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs to speak. So, my voice was barely a whisper. (My husband secretly LOVES it when I lose my voice. I’m not kidding! He says he can finally get a word in edgewise! Very funny….) Anyway, since I could only whisper, I had to whisper instructions to my daughter to call her dad and ask HIM to call my Asthma Doc’s office and make an appointment for me. (Did you follow that?) They were able to work me in about an hour later.

Getting out the big guns to battle the bronchitis

I LOVE Asthma Doc, we have been going to him for 17 years. And he is a great guy! He takes care of me and my 3 kids, all of whom inherited asthma from me. Asthma Doc has also told me that an Albuterol inhaler or nebulizer breathing treatment is just a “band-aid approach” – it just buys you time until you can get the swelling down in your lungs. And that’s where Prednisone comes in. It’s a strong medicine that can quickly reduce swelling. And that’s what my poor little lungs need. Adults can take it by pill, and kids can take a liquid form. It works to get the swelling down in my lungs, but it does have side effects.

So, I texted my husband to let him know what Asthma Doc said. Here are the texts:

Me: It’s Bronchitis

Husband: Thought so, that stuff has been going around. Did he start you on an antibiotic?

Me: Yes, and prednisone too, my lungs are REALLY tight and it’s almost time for another treatment. I just can’t get my lungs to open up.

Husband: Hopefully the prednisone does the trick 🙂

Me: Good luck living with me. Remember, it makes people agitated and a little crazy

Husband: Oh great….

These are just a few of the side effects of prednisone:

  • agitation
  • aggression
  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • dizziness
  • headache

and the list goes on…..

But I know the side effects are just temporary, and it’s the only thing that can control the swelling in my lungs. Which reminds me, it’s time to go take my next dose.

Anyone else out there struggling with bronchitis? Or having “fun” with prednisone?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • NurseKell
    3 years ago

    I have lived with Asthma my whole life. I am a 50 year old nurse and I battle with bronchitis at least once a year, twice this year so far! I have a love/hate relationship with prednisone! I have gained so much weight being on it over these last few years. Actually, I guess I’m blessed to be small as I am given the fact I’ve taken more prednisone than I care to admit. But, when you can’t draw in a deep breath and wheeze so loudly you could almost wake the dead, you don’t care at that moment! I have developed a cataract on my left eye also. This last time the doc gave me a shot of kenolog, which is also a steroid, to jump start me as he put it. By last night, I was feeling 50% better and I was able to go to work this morning. I have wheezed very little today, and I have a productive cough which made me able to get some of this stuff up and out of my lungs today. Such great progression in a 24 hour period!

  • Neykko
    3 years ago

    Prednisone yes!!!!! I have taken so much of it. I just wonder is there anything else out there similar to prednisone but without all the side effects.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Neykko and we hear you! Others in our community have expressed similar sentiments when it comes to being on prednisone, so you are not alone. It’s difficult to balance one’s feelings since being on prednisone may be required when difficulty breathing reaches a peak, and yet the anticipation of the side effects is not easy to cope with either. I thought you might find it helpful to review this material on that very topic:
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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