(A little bit more than) post-flu asthma

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trailgumby
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(A little bit more than) post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:16 pm

About a month ago I came down with a respiratory virus, might have been Influenza A, not sure. About a third of our office has had it over the last 5 weeks. Most explosively violent and sustained dry coughing I've experienced - intercostal muscles between my ribs were in agony for days.

So the good news is I got over the virus itself relatively quickly due I think in some measure to the vaccinations I'd had a few weeks prior. It hit me Thursday afternoon, I had the Friday off, the fever was gone by Sunday night.

The bad news is it appears to have done some damage to my airways and nasal passages. A heavy dose of prednisone last week helped, but since rolling off that I find it difficult talk with out coughing continuously, and I've done a couple of bike rides that have not had good outcomes. A change in my asthma meds has had limited effect.

So back to the doctor tomorrow for referral.

Has anybody else had this and faced similar struggles?
Last edited by trailgumby on Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Thoglette
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby Thoglette » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:12 pm

trailgumby wrote:Has anybody else had this and faced similar struggles?

All I'll say is that this year's lurgy seems to be a hard one to kick off.
I had it a week ago (bugger all symptoms beyond, well, being buggered) but I'm still shattered. I've got staff who have been sub-par for weeks. Again, little of the traditional symptoms - more like mini-cronic-fatigue. Alone with a very bad affect on morale/motivation.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby marty_one » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:26 pm

A couple of years ago I came down with multiple bouts of Bronchitis. Was on anti-botics for nearly 3 months. The worst part was that my lungs were left extremely sensitive, which meant that just breathing was causing me to cough. This lasted for just on 5 months and I only rode three times in that period, which I suspect made the recovery last longer than it should.

My advice is if your coughing from just talking stay off the bike. Don't exercise. You just have to ride it out your fitness will return faster than you think when you start riding again. This is unfortunate but it is what it is. It would be unlikely that the doctor will be able to do anymore than what has already been done.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby CXCommuter » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:55 pm

After two bouts of pneumonia I have a sensitivity to colds/flu's and cold dry weather after exercise. I end up with bronchitis following either case which can be alleviated with standard asthma medicine (puffer). The bronchitis (as opposed to asthma) was medically diagnosed btw as I ended up in hospital with an extreme reaction one night (ie trouble breathing).

The bronchitis leaves me coughing for weeks if not fixed immediately with the puffer
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:03 pm

Have had the same this year, and it really kicked the crap out of me. Took 3 different courses of antibiotics to resolve the primary sinus infection and secondary chest infection with a 5 day course of prednisone on top. All up, was 3 mths. So far am yet to get any meaningful riding back in, and that's since March. I suffered from mild Asthma as a child-teenager but rode daily as training for Soccer and found that if I rode with a scarf or something similar over my mouth and nose in low air temp conditions it minimised the wheeze and that ache you get in the lungs from frigid air.

My plan post-flu was to rebuild bike fitness on the trainer before I went out again, and did a 40 minute session 4 weeks ago at night (5-6 deg C) with a light woollen scarf over nose and mouth and went ok..until the next day when my left hip and sacrum area pinched and locked up. Turns out I had hyper-extended and pinched a nerve in the Sacrum. 3 weeks to resolve.

Particularly disappointed as was the first test of my restomod Peugeot PE10 which rode like a brand new bike except wouldn't get up onto the 26t under load.

So yeah, the scarf thing may help. (sorry, just realised I'd written an essay).
Last edited by 10speedsemiracer on Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:51 pm

The frustrating thing is I've committed to a charity ride from Canberra to Sydney over 3 days at the end of October.

At my current fitness level (going anaerobic at <200W compared to pre-illness wattages of 300+) I'm going to need the full 3 months to rebuild to comfortably handle 3 x 100km+ consecutive days in the saddle. Looks like that's not gonna happen now. :(

I'll try to work on strength in the meantime so that I don't lose *everything* - I don't really break a sweat with the weights, fortunately.

I'll hit up the doctor for a medical certificate in the meantime so that I can say to the charity that I won't be able to get a medical clearance,and see where we go from there.

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:59 pm

Is a static trainer an option for you ?
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:49 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote:Is a static trainer an option for you ?

Potentially. The issue is with inhaling large volumes of air. It sets me off. :(

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:56 pm

Same. Rapid intake, especially of cold air, spasms my bronchial. The scarf over the mouth/nose sort of helped ameliorate that for me.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby find_bruce » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:47 pm

Thats a bugger TG - I feel your pain. Have you got in to see a specialist respiratory physician? I was not overly impressed with the drugs my GP prescribed

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:38 pm

find_bruce wrote:Thats a bugger TG - I feel your pain. Have you got in to see a specialist respiratory physician? I was not overly impressed with the drugs my GP prescribed

That was the next step the doc mentioned, so off to see him momentarily.

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby Baalzamon » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:11 pm

trailgumby wrote:
10speedsemiracer wrote:Is a static trainer an option for you ?

Potentially. The issue is with inhaling large volumes of air. It sets me off. :(


Perhaps train to your heart rate so you can breathe thru your nose easily. ie if your 40yr heart rate aim for 140bpm. Train in the aerobic zone.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:51 pm

So I've come back with a referral to a respiratory specialist, a slight tweak to the inhaled preventer regime, some serious cough suppressant (codeine linctus :x ) and a request for a chest x-ray.

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:09 pm

Hope it works out. Good luck.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby g-boaf » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:25 am

trailgumby wrote:The frustrating thing is I've committed to a charity ride from Canberra to Sydney over 3 days at the end of October.

At my current fitness level (going anaerobic at <200W compared to pre-illness wattages of 300+) I'm going to need the full 3 months to rebuild to comfortably handle 3 x 100km+ consecutive days in the saddle. Looks like that's not gonna happen now. :(

I'll try to work on strength in the meantime so that I don't lose *everything* - I don't really break a sweat with the weights, fortunately.

I'll hit up the doctor for a medical certificate in the meantime so that I can say to the charity that I won't be able to get a medical clearance,and see where we go from there.


I think that charity ride has to stop - you can't do that in your current state. You'll only prolong the illness by doing that. There are things more important than the charity ride, your health and wellbeing being some of them.

In the mean time, try to keep yourself as warm as possible - particularly on these cold mornings. And keep off the bike as much as possible (no commuting to work!).

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:44 pm

g-boaf wrote:I think that charity ride has to stop - you can't do that in your current state. You'll only prolong the illness by doing that. There are things more important than the charity ride, your health and wellbeing being some of them.

In the mean time, try to keep yourself as warm as possible - particularly on these cold mornings. And keep off the bike as much as possible (no commuting to work!).

That's the direction I'm heading. Lung function test booked for 9am Friday and I see the specialist 8am Monday.

I'll raise it with the specialist and ask about getting a letter asserting that I won't get a medical clearance due to ongoing complications from a recent upper respiratory tract infection and the resulting impact on my ability to train, or something to that effect.

Feeling down about this. Low motivation. Had to force myself out the door lunch time today to go restart strength work at the gym.

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:17 pm

Lung function test seems to indicate that either I have no asthma or it is being very well managed. Still waiting on report on X-rays to rule out fungal infection.

Things took a turn for the worse last week with the return of the fever so I was off work Wed-Fri. The cough deteriorated markedly over the weekend so I went to see my usual GP (missed him Wednesday) and I'm back on the Prednisone and an antibiotic.

I pulled out of the CAN4CANCER ride and was able to get my money back.

This is really starting to drag.

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby ValleyForge » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:11 pm

trailgumby wrote:Lung function test seems to indicate that either I have no asthma or it is being very well managed. Still waiting on report on X-rays to rule out fungal infection.

Things took a turn for the worse last week with the return of the fever so I was off work Wed-Fri. The cough deteriorated markedly over the weekend so I went to see my usual GP (missed him Wednesday) and I'm back on the Prednisone and an antibiotic.


Odd treatment - if the RFTs (lung function tests) are good, I don't see what the prednisolone is for. I'm assuming that the antibiotics cover mycoplasma, and someone has suggested some PPIs (proton pump inhibitors - Nexium/Losec et al as these fix post-viral cough in at least 20% of sufferers.

Seen the Specialist yet?

And BTW a chest X ray won't "rule out" fungal infection. You'd need sputum samples, a CT scan and a bronchoscopy. Fun times.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:22 pm

The prednisone seemed to help the irritation last time. I have this unbearable tickle and cough reflex. There was a change to the cough suppressant as well, another codeine variant.

Yeah, weird. There doesn't seem to be very much mucus at all. Very rare to cough anything up .

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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby kb » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:39 pm

trailgumby wrote:The prednisone seemed to help the irritation last time. I have this unbearable tickle and cough reflex. There was a change to the cough suppressant as well, another codeine variant.

Yeah, weird. There doesn't seem to be very much mucus at all. Very rare to cough anything up .

I've got that atm. Doesn't seem too bad cycling but late nights and early mornings are pretty awful. And the struggle not to wake the baby.
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Re: Post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:31 pm

Well, it's been an interesting second half of the week.

On the way to work on Wednesday morning I almost passed out 100m from home. Regathering myself, by the time I'd walked about 80m up the moderate hill towards the bus stop I was done. Completely out of breath, struggling to get enough oxygen.

A neighbour spotted me in trouble and called an ambulance.

After a number of ECGs, cardiac ultrasounds, contrast CTs, it was determined I had a "massive bilateral pulmonary embolism", and pneumonia. That's blood clots in both lungs. When described as massive they weren't kidding. It was across the saddle that joins both lungs. I asked to see the scan. I said one word: "F@#K!" :shock:

I was put on aspirin immediately, and an anticoagulant. Then IV antibiotics. Then came the hunt for the cause of the blood clot. I haven't got all the results back yet, but the torso CT scan showed nothing malignant. Still awaiting PSA blood results, but expect those to be negative too.

If I'd made it to the bus stop I'd probably have dropped dead in the street in the CBD or later that day at work or at home.

So what caused it? No idea. I've heard from a friend that her surgeon husband travelled exactly the same journey. Could have been the virus doing something to my clotting, or it might have been the almost complete inactivity I've enforced on myself the last few weeks to try and settle the irritated airways. Or both.

Anyway, it's going to be a 6 month journey. No strenuous cardiac exercise for 3 months. Off work for another week.

Upside: I'm still here.

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Re: (A little bit more than) post-flu asthma

Postby find_bruce » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:19 pm

Wowsers, that's a bit startling TG, glad you are still with us & I hope your recovery goes well

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Re: (A little bit more than) post-flu asthma

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:53 pm

Bloody hell, TG! :shock:

You're a very lucky boy, from what ya say. :idea:

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Re: (A little bit more than) post-flu asthma

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:20 pm

Sorry to hear of your prognosis, but happy that you're still upright and kicking. Best of luck for recovery from someone who who went thru post-flu asthma, I can empathise.
Again, best wishes for the recovery.
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Re: (A little bit more than) post-flu asthma

Postby trailgumby » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:36 pm

Thanks guys. It was indeed a near thing.

The medical staff were amazed there was no heart pain. The previous day I had been out of breath walking the hill. I had assumed it was just declining cardiac fitness from self-imposed inactivity. How wrong I was.

That same friend with the surgeon husband looked back at my strava feed yesterday and commented that the pattern followed pretty much the same pattern as him and it had probably been running from the start 8 weeks ago, coinciding with the initial viral bout.

I'll be listening to my body with a different ear from now on.

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