Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Bronchitis...Here We Go Again

Unbelievable. I've been feeling pretty good the past few days, but last night while we were watching TV, I had a little tickle at the back of my throat. My husband got me a sugar-free lozenge, and we went to sleep. By the middle of the night, I was coughing and could feel the chest congestion starting. I woke up this morning with full-blown symptoms - chest pain, tightness & congestion, constant wet cough, wheezing. All of this developed literally overnight!

My son and I both struggle with bronchitis several times a year, though immune modulators like inosine and low-dose naltrexone have helped reduce the incidence.

We are not unusual among those with ME/CFS. The specific type of immune system dysfunction in ME/CFS (Th2 dominant) makes its patients more prone to bacterial infections: our immune systems over-react to viruses and allergens and under-react to bacteria. So, we almost never get colds, but the tiniest bit of congestion and...bam! We've got bronchitis again. For my younger son, it's usually sinus infections.

Both of us have albuterol inhalers now, which help, but it still feels impossible to stop this runaway train once it starts. I already made an appointment with our doctor for tomorrow so she can listen to my lungs - fortunately, she has a very good understanding of ME/CFS and our chronic problems with bronchitis. She always treats it aggressively because she knows it could easily turn into pneumonia with us.

I tried, last fall, to get rid of it myself without antibiotics, since (like many with ME/CFS)  I have chronic yeast overgrowth that is severely flared up by taking antibiotics. I used the inhaler, took maximum strength Mucinex round-the-clock, decongestant during the day, allergy meds, and all sorts of herbal antivirals and antibacterials. But, as my husband pointed out, waiting to see the doctor only resulted in my needing 3 rounds of antibiotics instead of 1 and being badly crashed for over two months. I've learned my lesson - better to get in immediately, take those damn antibiotics, and nip it in the bud. The weather is just starting to turn nice this week, and I really don't want to spend the next couple of months in bed!

So, here I sit, coughing like crazy, dialing back my planned activities today. I still feel good this morning (other than the chest symptoms), but I know what's coming  I've been on this train before. I'll see my doctor tomorrow and hopefully get rid of this infection before it has a chance to dig in.

Have you experienced these kinds of chronic bacterial infections?

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