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Billie asked...

Hello, I had pneumonia (was on antibiotics from 3rd to 20th December I think)...

Hello, I had pneumonia (was on antibiotics from 3rd to 20th December I think) and just had my six week check up scan and have been told my lungs are clear and the infection is gone. But I am still coughing a lot (a chesty cough bringing up pale green sputum) and wheezing a lot, especially at night. My breathing has gotten a lot better and my fever is gone, but I just wanted to check this lingering cough was normal? Thanks!

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The answer

Hello, we're sorry to hear about the problems you have been having, following a chest infection the lining of the airways of the lungs can sometimes remain inflammed and somewhat irritated, this in turn can cause spasm or irritability of the bronchial tubes which then causes ongoing coughing and wheezing such as you have been experiencing. This can last up to six or eight weeks after the infection has gone.

As your symptoms are worse at night you might find sleeping with three pillows so that your chest is more upright may help to somewhat relieve this. Additionally although your lung scan was clear it may well be worth asking your Gp to review your symptoms, if inflammation is present for example they may be able to prescribe an inhaler if appropriate to help to relieve this. Pale green sputum can be caused by presence of bacteria that has not become an infection, however, you may like to think about asking your Gp to send a sample of your sputum for analysis just to check that there is no active bacterial activity present that could be contributing to your symptoms.

In the meantime try to ensure you are maintaining a good fluid intake as this can help to thin the secretions that are present, warm most air can also help to ease the coughing and wheezing by helping to loosen the mucus, standing in or near a hot shower, sipping hot tea and soup all can help achieve this.

We do hope you will find this information of use and wish you the best for a speedy recovery.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses