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lungs with green slime

My Lung Infections

As asthmatics, our lungs can be more prone to infection than other people. My illnesses have been a prime example. Usually starting elsewhere, the nose or the throat maybe, it’s become far too easy to predict where it will land. It seems as though every time I fall ill, be it viral or bacterial, my lungs are always the eventual casualty.

Lung infections as a child

As a young child, my allergies were far more severe than they are currently. Due to a constantly compromised immune system, I was consistently sick during the school year. Anytime I would get sick with a cold or the flu it would turn into bronchitis or pneumonia.

It became so normal for me to develop these lung infections that my pediatrician would ask my parents to schedule a follow up to check my lungs the following week. Sure enough, a week later, I would be coughing violently with mucus-filled lungs. From first grade to high school, I had consistent asthma flares and lung infections.

As a young adult

My asthma improved as I started my high school years, it continued to improve into college. I was sick much less than as a child, however, my susceptibility to lung infections stuck around when I would catch the occasional bug. Although my allergies and daily asthma complications were better than ever, my worst lung infection came in college and was caused by an unexpected trigger.

My worst infection: the onset

Mid-semester of my sophomore year, I was invited to a large music festival that would last for three nights. As a young and naive adult, I thought this was going to be great fun but didn’t think twice about the respiratory triggers that could be present.

The first night, I got sick. The second, I got worse. The morning after the third night I was contemplating going to the hospital. A couple weeks following, I ultimately did go to the emergency room due to a partially collapsed lung.

In hindsight, it was so silly that I continued to go out each night after I was already sick from the first. It was a lot of fun, I was young and I suppose I had a fear of missing out. In exchange, I would learn my lesson the hardest way possible. Looking back, I recognize the triggers for my festival-induced infection. It was the dust being kicked up while people danced, the lingering smoke in the crowd and the cold air of the night that mixed the perfect cocktail for a devastating lung infection.

Healing from a lung infection

The infection I developed was bacterial bronchitis and it flared my lungs for almost 3 months. The first couple weeks I suffered from aggressive coughing and mucus-filled lungs. I went to the doctor as soon as I was back and began taking antibiotic regiments while using complimentary homeopathic remedies.

The peak of the infection was a trip to the hospital for a partially collapsed lung from the week of violent coughing. *You can read that story here. It was then two months on a rollercoaster of lung functionality and medications as I tried to heal my infection and manage my asthma.

I went to an acupuncturist as my semester finals approached, doing everything I could to get better fast. It seemed like everything I did was helping, just slowly. As I took my five finals while attempting to control my deep and painful coughing, I was concerned about my ability to focus on anything but the next cough attack. I passed my exams and after months of consistent lung care, I was finally back to breathing normally.

My lung infections now

As if manifesting from my intention to write this article, I am currently recovering from a mild lung infection. I develop a lung infection from a cold or other illness a couple times a year. Though, by comparison, they are always manageable. My family has a history of lung infection susceptibility and with my asthma to compound, I try to be more aware of potential triggers (especially since that really difficult infection). Needless to say, I don’t think I will be attending another music festival like that one.

I hope hearing my experiences with lung infections helps you to know that others experience these debilitating infections as well. They can be rough, but usually manageable. It is always a good idea to see your doctor before you are panicking to get there. The earlier you address an infection, the better. Certainly don’t go dancing again the next two nights after you get sick, it might just exacerbate it.

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

Comments

  • Shellzoo
    1 month ago

    Nice article. I have never been diagnosed with bronchitis or pneumonia. Most likely I have had both but when I finally get off work the only places open are urgent care centers and even if I am coughing up a lung, they always say it is a virus and send me on my merry but sick way. This usually results in me returning and ending up on antibiotics which do the trick with time and lots of cough medicine. Now, I am a nurse and I usually stay home and wait the virus out until I show signs of a bacterial infection because I know all about the over use of antibiotics and that they do not work on a virus but the PAs at urgent care clinics tend to not understand that and assume otherwise. So, prior to getting my asthma properly diagnosed and treated, I was sick all the time and usually with rather severe coughs including one where a doctor at work commented was “the worst pneumonia cough” he ever heard (urgent care said it was a virus… wait it out). I am grateful that I now have a fantastic asthma doctor and my last plague was recognized and treated with doxycycline and I did not suffer for weeks from cough and shortness of breath while trying to work full time. I still dread getting sick because too many providers overlook how quickly an asthmatic can get sick and how a simple URI can cause serious breathing problems. Since my asthma has been treated, I have been pretty healthy and hope to continue that trend. I wish the rest of the people here the same.

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