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Recurrent Chest Infections (Page 1)

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Hello there, I have had 4 chest infections now in quick succession and after a bit of advice on what I should do next as I seem to keep getting fobbed off by my GP. When I went to him the first time he gave me codeine linctus, a brown asthma inhaler (I've never had asthma before in my life) and said that he would not give me antibiotics incase it is viral rather than bacterial infection. This was repeated the second time (a month later) when I returned with a second infection. The third time I saw his colleague who gave me amoxycillin and told me to do steam inhalation and gave me more codeine linctus. The infection improved a week after the antibiotics ran out and I was just on the verge of being clear when the fourth one hit.

This time the doctor was initially reluctant to give me any antibiotics as they have been told not to issue them for colds and flu. When I pointed out that this was my 4th time she gave me a stronger antibiotic (erythromycin). I am now on day 7 of the antibiotics and have noticed very little difference.

In the past week I have had fevers hitting 102 degrees F, cold sweats, coughing up thick green and rusty coloured phlegm and rapid shallow breathing. I have continued doing the steam inhalation with menthol crystals and am now taking an expectorant cough medicine. Nothing seems to be giving me relief for very long.

Should I return to the doctor or should I now be looking at going to the hospital as it seems to have been going on long enough now.
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First Helper AditJ2014
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replied December 24th, 2008
I have the exact same
Hey,

I red your note and i noticed i am going through the same thing, i am on the last day of when the antibiotics are pushed out of my system;the tenth day, but they dont seem to work right? still coughing up the dirty mucus but the thing is i just went to the hospital yesterday and had chest x-rays and the doctor said this towards my bronchitis, 95% of the time antibiotics wont treat bronchitis because it is either a viral( Treated over time) or bacterial(treated with antibiotics)that has to be treated by time. Which means you should be taking medecine with DM( Decongestant Liqiud ) such as Buckleys, Benelyn, and other cough and cold medecine. He also prescribed me 2 puffers(bronchodilators) to break up the mucas in my throat and open my lungs. It seems as if tho you have Chronic Bronchitis that may last for 4 months or even more. If you know its not bronchitis and your coughing up green phlegm with a strong chest pain and having troubles getting a full breathe it may be pneumonia. I'm not sure if this is the right to do it just seems like you've tried eveything in the book so try this and if its much worse just get x rays so see what the problem is and it will show u 100% results.
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replied September 25th, 2009
i have had several chest infection i belive about six or seven course of antibotics and two courses of steriods ,now i have a fungal infection . i now have a buring in my right side rib cage and can cear my chest rattleing , i had to ask my Gp for a chest xray he then said do you know that xrays can cause your a proble to , i am giong out of my mind with worry i think the worst the pain seems to be really nastie noe this all start over a year ago a feel let down by my Gp what on earth i going on , i have an appiontment with another Gp tonight but in the same practice i am very worried as normally when i get a chest infection i can get clear within one or two courses please can some one help
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replied October 11th, 2009
Hi,
I have had the same problem for 3 years on and off, I have had numerous courses of anti biotics and steroid treatments but they only temporarily rid me of the symptoms. I will be yet again visiting the docs and believe I will be prescribed a asthma inhaler this time. I have tried my partners inhaler and it relieves the symtoms in my throat area and I find it easier to cough up the mucus but the rattling still carries on. I have been on countless forums and it seems so many people are going through the same thing! I hadn't realised it was so common, although I do believe this infection was triggered by an allergic reaction I had a month ago.
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replied October 16th, 2009
Hi all you poorly people. I've been off work since the beginning of September now. Originally I was diagnosed with Swine Flu (but this was over the phone with the good old NHS helpline) but no swabs etc & I never saw a GP. I took the Tamiflu & the flu symptoms went after about a week. Since then though, I had a chest infection/Bronchitus & 2 courses of antibiotics haven't helped. I has a chest xray & blood test about 2 weeks ago & am going back to the GP for the results & a Spirometry test next week.

I am still coughing up the greeny brown phlegm & suffering the tightness in my chest but am not taking any medication at the moment.

Work are bothering me over the phone asking when I will be back & I can't help feeling guilty. I've had 6 weeks off now & I'm wondering if I'll ever get better.
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Users who thank DebL for this post: deb79 

replied October 31st, 2009
repeated chest infections
I don't have any solutions but just wanted to sympathise, as i suffer with repeated chest infections myself and it wears me out. each one lasts for weeks and i don't even have the energy to climb the stairs to go to bed at night. I have suffered with asthma for about 25 years, and hayfever and for longer than that. As a child i had double pnuemonia and repeated croup. I was always the one who got a cold and it went straight to my chest, but at least this would only be around once a year. Then 3 years ago i had pleurisy and i haven't felt really well since. Every few months i get another chest infection, and have to have two weeks off work, then i go back because i feel guilty but i'm still coughing and exhausted for several weeks afterwards. In the summer things aren't so bad, but i get to october and it all starts again. I have the flu jab the last 3 years and also the pnuemonia jab. I take vitamin c every day and i try to eat a healthy diet. I have had chest xrays and a scan, which showed slight scarring on the lower part of one lung, apparently from the childhood pnuemonia. And my lung function is that of a 'much older person'. Apart from that, nothing showed up. I don't expect anyone to have a solution, but it gets so depressing at times and i just wanted to share it with someone!!
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replied May 21st, 2012
thanks it just good to know it isn t just me
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replied November 8th, 2009
It's been interesting to read about sufferers of recurrent chest infectoins, as my husband has been diagnosed with yet another infection today. He has had pneumonia three times over the last 18months, and now this infection. He will be attending a Respiratory Clinic soon, so lets hope they get to the bottom of this and give some type of treatment.
Good luck to fellow sufferers.
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replied February 12th, 2010
I feel comfort knowing others are in the same boat as I am. I have had 2 chest infections since November '09 and I am just starting my 3rd. Same symptoms each time. Starts with a postnasal drip that irritates my throat then slowly moves into my chest. I start off with a mild cough which occasionally brings up greeny/brown phlegm. Then the cough persists and I start to wheeze and finally I having full blown 'asthma' attacks...AND I DON'T HAVE ASTHMA! I have been in emerge 3 times in the last 2 months because I couldn't breathe. I have been on 2 rounds of steroids and 2 rounds of antibiotics. I was also told to use an inhaler along with the Advere Disc to help open up my airway; neither really help. I had an appointment with a respiratory specialist 2 weeks ago and had an asthma test which came back negative. The respiratory doctor seems to think I had some sort of virus that caused all this crap! I had blood work, a chest, sinus and neck x-ray which all came back negative with the exception of my nasal/sinus x-ray. There appeared to be a minor blockage in one of my sinus' which is why when I went to see my doctor yesterday, she prescribed a nasal spray to help get rid of the post nasal drip. I have also been using a netti pot to help flush out my sinus'. This is all well and good but the wheezing has started again and I extremely concerned that I am going to end up in the hospital with another 'asthma' attack. If anyone can suggest anything that might help in my quest to get to the bottom of this once an for all, I would appreciate it VERY much!!! Any further insight would be helpful. THANKS!
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replied April 8th, 2010
Asthma and Chest Colds
I was diagnosed with Asthma 26 years ago, but it was considered "mild" by the doctors statement. I pretty much get chest colds from time to time, and have had three bouts of pneumonia in the last 26 years. However, last fall I acquired H1N1 and since then, I am sick with a chest cold every 6 weeks. Just as soon as one clears up and I am feeling better I get hit again. My chest rattles with congestion, I cant lie down flat, I cough so much I have to wear those adult diapers to prevent embarrassment and the coughing is so intense I vomit.

I am 47 and female. I was the one as a child who had to stay in bed while we decorated the trees at Christmas, or in the summer, I could not go swimming. I am tired of the constant congestion that makes me sound like a smoker, when I am not. I have repeatably asked my GP to help me get the asthma under control, and he prescribes $300.00 meds! I can not afford that. My insurance wont cover brand name meds. So here I sit, coughing again and its only been 6-7 weeks ago that I was sick.

I hope we can all breath a little bit better soon.
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replied May 26th, 2010
Recurring Chest Infections
Please get tested for Alpha1 antitrypsin hereditary desease, attacking respiritory tract .My daughter has this, and suffers from recurring infections. Maggie
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replied May 26th, 2010
Alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency is a hereditary desease attacking lungs and sometimes liver. Please ask your doctor for a simple blood test to see whether you have inherited this deficiency, and also if you have, try and get rest of family tested too . Alpha 1 has many websites especially in USA , its always a comfort to share concerns with fellow sufferers, Pheonix
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replied May 31st, 2010
Doctors Got To Start Listening
So sad to see so many people suffer the same respiritory problems. Its even more disapointing that doctors havent seemed to offer genuine help and ease peoples suffering.

I have had chest infections for past 10 yrs or so and no further forward as to finding out what causes them. I am extremely fit and trained for Edinburgh marathon this year ( which never made due to infection week before), never smoked, not a big drinker and eat really well.......so why do I keep getting chest infections?

I dont think many folk realise just how much it affects your life, the only people who know are those who suffer constant re-infection with no answers.

Got docs this week and going for more tests week and hopefully get some good news.
Keep your chin up and dont let your doctor ignore how much this affects you, make them understand you want answers. good luck ...
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replied January 10th, 2011
I am asthmatic and suffer from chest infections, the only time I've seen improvement in chest infections was when I got fit from jogging. It took a while to build up the fitness as recurrent chest infections meant that I frustratingly had to stop for weeks at a time. However when I was eventually into running for 30-40 minutes regularly for 2-3 times a week I believe my immune system may have been boosted by this. I see the person above is a keen runner though and still suffers so seems fitness isn't the definitive answer. I once tried Echinacea for a few months, didn't help. Breathing steam from mentholated crystals in hot/boiling water is a good decongestant - doc/chemist can advise.
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replied September 25th, 2011
Re-current chest infections
I am suffering just like you. The same symptoms and I expect the same long journey of medical testing to conclude...nothing.

It does affect our lives in such a big way - It ended my International career as an athlete. The 'best' Dr's in the UK couldn't find the answer.

The only way G'ments will invest is 1) They are getting some big () back 2) They're losing something big () or 3) It'll make them look good in PR/Spin.

Eat well, sleep well, keep hydrated and just keep smiling whilst getting through this crazy world.
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replied December 8th, 2011
I to have had a lot of chest infections. One seems to clear up and just when you I think you are getting there start with another. I dread anyone as much as sneezing around me because i know if I catch anything, even a simple cold,It will go straight to my chest.Went for a chest xray 2yrs ago after coughing up a little blood with a recuring infection. Xray clear they said. I went back to docs with yet another one 6 months later for my GP to say she wondered had they missed something on chest xray but after looking at my notes she said that the last infection had been on my left lung, this one was apparantly on my right lung so she wasn't as worried and assumed I to was very happy to have learnt that. NO. After leaving the surgery I got to thinking WHAT DID SHE MEAN? Could they have missed something on the chest xray. This was last December 18th. I went through that christmas on auto pilot convinced I had lung cancer.I am now too afraid to go back to doctors if I get a flair up in case they suggest flippantly I may have lung cancer, so I bought a supply of clarithromycin and Keflex when last abroad. You simply request them over the counter over there, and they are a lot cheaper than at home. I now treat myself if I get a chest infection. I know usually if it is bacterial because phlegm turns a nasty colour and I feel generally quite ill with it. I am just recovering now from my most recent attack bought on by someone coughing and sneezing in public all over me.(The person). I went on to develop their cold which in turn went to my chest.I must stress at this point that between chest infections I feel absolutely fine and apart from these have good general health. well. Hope all you fellow sufferers out there have a symptom free christmas, All the best to everyone for a healthier new year and thanks for listning. Maggie
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replied December 14th, 2011
recurring chest infections
Hi
I too am suffering from reoccurring chest infections. Since the first weekend of October 2011 I have had a viral chest infection which the dr said he couldnt give treatment for. This then turned into a bacterial infection and and I had a very course deep cough that lasted 8 weeks. I was so worried I had an x ray in November that showed it was clearbut I had an infection so was given amoxicilian. The cough never really went away so i had another x ray and picked up another infection and was given erythromycin 250mg. This didnt seem to work at first but by day 5 i started to feel better and then on day 7(last day of anti-biotics monday) I felt almost like my old self but with congestion in my nose. I had 3 healthy days of feeling great but then on the Friday I got hit hard with tonsilitus and fever. Went to a walk in health center and was given a stronger does of erythromycin 500mg 4 times a day. This cleared up the tonsilitus but the chest infection and cough is back. I stopped taking the
erythromycin for a day because it was making me pig sick. I have lost my appetite. I am going to go back to the dr in the morning as i am very worried now and will ask them to do blood test. Thinking the worst as you do. Im 31 and normally healthy but for 3 months I have been constantly battling infections. I have tried not to take time off work but now I cant take it anymore im asking for a month off so i can recover.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated or encouraging stories from ppl who have been ok and had the same problems as me. This forum has given me a little bit of hope Wink
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replied December 27th, 2011
Wow there are others too. i refuse to take off work but i've had 3 chest infections in the last 2 months. I've been on so many antibiotics and steroids, and inhalers. I have asthma ans as a child had double pneumonia. Im not sure what else I can do. They keep telling me maybe the antibiotics arent strong enough or maybe just not a long enough treatment.
As so as I finish them, within 2 days im back unable to breath and the congestion gets back to how it was.
Im still coughing up that yucky yellow-brown phelgm and my chest hurts and i cant get enough air to do much of anything. I finished my last pill for this round of antibiotics sunday (christmas) and the pain is getting worse.
If anyone ends up with some information as to why this happens. I'd be glad to hear it.
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replied April 11th, 2012
chest pain infections
I have been ill since december to . Ive had 3 chest infections a ear infection a eye infection sore throat ive had 4 lots of amoxicillan and erythromycin, nose drops, ,y sinuis are now playing up ive got constant headache and a pressure like pain in my face . before december i was heathly. ive had 4 chest xrays bloods each time thing say ive got a bacterial infection, one chest xray showed another infection, but just how much time is this going to go on for . im now on another lot of antibiotics and waiting to see a chest specailist as i have constant chest pain , they have given me pumps for it but they never take the chest pain away . Im totally feed up, ive got 4 children to look after and its not getting easyier just wished i had some anwsers,, any advice would be good thanks
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replied December 27th, 2011
chest infection!!!
I have had ear throat chest infection 7 weeks ago but it never really left me as i have been spitting up clear thick mucus after my two sets of antibiotics,as i am allergic to penicillin my chest now feels sore and tight and rattles I am diabetic, I am know spitting up dark green/gray stuff, I did have the flu jab in November 2011 you would think it would help !!! I just need anybody to cough next to me which I have had this means I am a dead man walking after that happening, I wondering the other night if my chest could be weak as I had pleurisy when I was a child can anyone advise I will go to the doctors once it opens but you feel a bit of a pest going back with the same thing all the time doctor
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replied January 8th, 2012
After multiple rounds of bronchitis and pneumonia you begin to realise that your GP is essentially a pointless endeavour. After suffering with my chest for 3 or so years I can recommend a few things that have helped me more than the doctor. At times these have cut down illness time from 8 weeks to 2 or 3, so it's been a learning curve.

The key to ridding yourself utterly of the infection is to 'get rid of the gunk', this is the actual infection itself - if it remains in the chest and therefore in the body, nothing is stopping the same infection coming back - literally the SAME germs! This can be green, yellow, rusty, or at the beginning and end completely clear. If you've established that antibiotics are not useful, which they often are not, time to use the non medical approach.

- Keep a hot water bottle directly on your chest. Heat kills infection, it thrives at room temperature or below. Laying in bed under the covers simply isn't warmth enough for your body. You may find the heat uncomfortable, I myself am very sensitive to heat and find it difficult, but I find after a day or so I can feel the difference.

- Loosen the phlegm and mucus that has developed. I have found the best tactic for this is inhaling steam (something I also very much dislike) for 15 minutes or so, then ask someone to pat your back. This must be done in a firm manner, with 'cupped' hands. Do this for 10 minutes, on the back and also do a minute or so focusing on your sides, never on your chest. The purpose of this is to loosen the mucus so it may be coughed up and disposed of. Remember that the key goal here is to get the infection out of the body, so your cells may recover quicker.

- Relieve your airways. The above can be a good method for this, but is never completely successful, its more for loosening the internal mucus rather than that of our nose. Purchase a good nasal spray and use it to it's full potential. Octrivine is excellent (for UK readers.) When our nasal passages are blocked, the infection that may be inhabiting our sinuses is not able to exit the body, but merely being inhaled in - into our lungs, where we least want it to be! When the airway is clear, it is not being brought back into the body.

- After the two clearing methods above, blow your nose religiously and get it all out. I've met a lot of people who suffer with respiratory infections.. and have often listened to them complaining. What are they doing meanwhile? sniffing. Sniffing is not your friend when you're wanting rid of an infection, all you are doing is inviting it into your lungs to ruin your life.

- Know your cough. There are a plethora of cough medicines available, but it is essential you know which one you need. At the time, all we want to do is stop coughing, and will choose the strongest we can find. This is often a mistake, in the early stages of the infection, the purpose of the cough is the body trying to get out the infection. If we try and inhibit that cough, even though we desperately want to, we are only spiting ourselves in the end. Pick a decongestant and phlegm loosening cough medicine, and try to avoid using it religiously. Only choose a cough suppressant when you are sure the majority of the germs have gone.

- If the above advice is followed, you may be thinking.. if I'm being stringent with taking cough medicine, what can I use for relief instead? Think about it with common sense. What is cough medicine? a thick medicated gloop, which ends in our stomachs, not in our lungs, so where is the relief? the relief of course, is feeling said gloop passing over the swollen glands in our throats. The medicine itself is usually a poor dose, which we can easily supplement ourselves. Good quality honey is excellent, and also contained in a lot of cough medicine. You can take this on it's own, or in a tea. It's immune boosting qualities are second to none, so this is a good choice. Ice cream is another suggestion I found soothing, but as I dislike ice cream in general I use this sparingly.. but it offers excellent relief, as the cold reduces swelling.

- What medications? it depends on the stage of your infection or virus. Avoid buying 'cold and flu' medications, these are usually comprised of paracetamol in a shiny box. Paracetamol will not help you unless you have aches and pains or a temperature. To reduce swelling in the chest and throat, use ibuprofen and also a sinus medication if you have a congested nose. Paracetamol can be used in the early stages of infection if you have a high temperature, but keep in mind that a temperature is your body's defence against germs. The temperature is killing off infection, and by stopping this you are thus stopping your body's natural defence. Be brave and simply drink plenty of water, if you find the temperature lasts more than a few hours, you may want to contact your GP. As mentioned earlier, a good nasal spray is also a good thing to have on hand for a good night's rest, and for easy breathing.

- When do I know I'm getting better, or starting to get unwell? A sticky, clear mucus can both be a sign of illness and improvement. See it as a first symptom, and you have a chance to fight the infection off. See it at the end, and you are improving. Either way, you need to get it all out. This is the congestion that will be causing your chest to rattle, and blowing your nose as often as possible is essential. I have had instances where a chest infection has started, and has gone away quickly where I have endeavoured to get out all this clear mucus.

- General tips such as rinsing your mouth with mouthwash every 3 hours, a balance of hot drinks and cool water, keeping something mentholated for easier breathing, and staying indoors (more important than you would realise) are all things to keep in mind. I would highly recommend taking in vitamins at the offset of a chest infection, and keep taking them throughout. The same for pro-biotic yogurt and orange juice.

- and finally, irritants. Those of us who are smokers, we know it doesn't help. Anything in the air that will enter the lungs and cause lobe irritation, such as smoke (cigarette or open fire), pollution, pollen, should be avoided. Even a relative that smokes in the same room should be asked to do it elsewhere. Remember that infections take hold when our body is weak, if we are constantly inhaling irritants, the lobes are constantly weak and sore.


I hope some of these suggestions will aid someone in their recovery and/or prevention, as they often help me recover in half the time. Please keep in mind I am not an asthmatic, over 65/under 16 or a sufferer of HIV/AIDS, so the above advice may not be appropriate for every reader.
I have been told that after one round of a severe chest infection, we are prone to getting them again and again. The reason for this is that our lungs have been weakened and often scarred. There is nothing we can do to reverse this, but keeping in general good health is always good advice.
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Users who thank brakus86 for this post: Lin69 

replied March 6th, 2014
You might like to look up the proper use of the word 'plethora', it's supposed to be used with negative connotations, e.g. 'there are a plethora of viruses'

Yours sincerely
The Grammar Police
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replied October 3rd, 2014
thank you for this advice.....very helpful
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replied January 12th, 2012
wow, so many sufferers. I have been getting annual chest infections since I was knee high toa grasshopper. (probably around 45 years) Sometimes its twice to three times a year. My GP claims I have had pneumonia 3 times in the last 3 years but on further investigation they say it was not pneumonia that they saw on the xrays it was a 'depressed sternum!'. So, I have now had 3 chest infections in the last 3 months. I, like the rest of you are so over this. I practice hypnotherapy and I have been doing a ton of research into chest infections and hypnotherapy. I have been listening to hypnotherapy audios which have stopped my infections without the anti biotics. I have also read that if you have someone who is 'smothering' you or is overpowering you in your life this can also be the cause. I would like to start my own research on the later. Are any of you willing to help withmy research? If so, then post me a 'yes' and Ill advise you of my email. Cheers guys. Smile
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Users who thank infectionbegone for this post: elliexpeox 

replied May 29th, 2012
Hi i am also stressed and keep getting chest infections.
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replied February 24th, 2012
Recently came down with my 3rd chest infection in 4 months,initially i was prescribed amoxycillin for a week that i thought had cleared it up,within days it had returned only this time with more mucus and feelings of exhaustion,went back to dox and have been given erythromycin or whatever it's called,dr thinks i've been over prescribed Amoxycillin[drs and dentists]and no longer works due to over use,basically the first infection hadn't cleared up and as a result moved to the lungs,plenty of rest for the duration of the medication-8 a day!
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replied August 10th, 2012
I have my 6th chest infection in 12 months. I have been prescribed amoxycillin and steroids and have finally been for a chest xray this morning. I'm a little relieved to see there are other poor people like me as my G.P fobbed me off with my concerns. I feel 6 infections and pneumonia is a bit much. I keep myself healthy, take vitamins and have an excellent diet and nothing helps. My employers have disciplined me for absence and i feel so tired all of the time. All blood tests show is low iron levels. It's getting very worrying.
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