Infections & Antibiotics

I saw this article in Lung Disease News a few days ago & quite literally breathed a sigh of relief.

This is always a constant question & concern whenever I go into any doctor’s office sick. My primary care doctor, an urgent care clinician, or even pulmonologist will ask me the same question: How do you feel about an antibiotic?

Um, honestly? Damned if I do, damned if I don’t…

While I know there are practitioners who decry overuse, which I don’t deny is a problem. In chronic illness quite often antibiotics are needed more frequently in some instances & conditions. Usually to keep things from baking & turning into something stubborn down the line.

I don’t want to use them but typically I will relent & ask for it if they recommend it. Most times when I’ve set foot in the doctor’s office to complain about it,  I’ve been suffering at least 3 days trying to kick whatever it is out of my system by myself, only to have it get worse.

The few times I’ve tried to tough any infection out without an antibiotic, I’ve wound up with a secondary lingering infection that actually sometimes needed more than one round of antibiotics to clear it, so it’s not just paranoia.

I hate using them though because quite a few of them I’ve built up immunity to & some often give me some unpleasant side effects.  But for me, they are a necessary evil.

I admit, I’ve need them a lot less since my original pulmonary doc (when I first moved to PA) put me on a prophylaxis of Azithromycin after reading about a large study in COPD patients.

It’s been a wise move. It has kept me more healthy.

I  went from about 3-5 infections a year to usually only two. Those are usually unavoidable & have more to do with crazy temperature changes or changes in season.

Even before I started using Rapamune in 2009, I had this issue of being more prone to infections.

I might have gotten 1 more infection per year from having my immunity suppressed after I started treatment with the drug. Typically, (at least since my LAM diagnosis) I’ve been so apt to develop bronchitis or upper respiratory and/or sinus infections that I can’t just blame immunity or a drug alone for that, since it’s always been a problem for me, weakened immunity or not.

Yet, if there’s a way for me to avoid antibiotics or use less of them (especially when it comes to lung & respiratory infections), I’d prefer that.

Provided I could forego them safely & without worry of something lingering.

With this test, that might be possible. It’s a blood biomarker test, so that’s an added plus since it’s non-invasive.

So what if they take a bit more of my blood? Big deal? No. I’m used to being a pin cushion by now, & after transplant I know that’s one thing that won’t change.

Speaking of respiratory infections, I also saw this piece of news from the same source published almost a year ago now.

I can’t think of how many times I would have much preferred a home sputum test or a way of testing for some of these infections myself in the means of being able to have something sterile available to collect some “junk” to bring to my doctor to analyze. The few times I’ve actually had something (what doctors like to call “wet” & “productive”) it won’t cough out while I’m there.

Sometimes I’ll cough something up once or twice at home either before or after the appointment. Yet, sitting at the doctor’s office nothing more comes out even with a valiant effort to coax it out.

I know this test is being targeted for the COPD population but I could definitely see uses in the lung transplant community too.

A means to attempt to catch problems earlier. Also another test rather than just a bronchoscopy to figure out what could be going on.  (This particular article was dated a year ago, so hopefully this will be available soon.)

Glad these advances are making their way forward.

Not just a good idea for those of us with lung issues,  but also anyone with a high predisposition to infection. This way they can catch the infection earlier & treatments can hopefully take effect more quickly.


One thought on “Infections & Antibiotics

  1. I have an IgG3 and IgG4 deficiency, which no one discussed with me after they showed up over a year ago in testing, but explains why my viral infections always turn into bacterial infections and drag on forever. I’ve also got asthma. What you’re pointing out here would also be beneficial to me and others like me. And good grief, I always cough up the really gnarly stuff at home and never at the doctor’s office.

    Liked by 1 person

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