I quit smoking Feb. 2007, had never coughed or wheezed, the following summer we put in a pool, within six weeks, I was having trouble breathing, with heavy wheezing, and had to cough constantly. The doctor diagnosed me with asthma. Since August, 2007, I have been on Augmentin XR 1,000 with a ten day prednisone treatment, Levaquin with prednisone, 6 months of last year I was on antibiotics with prednisone, and this fall, I have been on the same treatment for 6 weeks running. I also use pulmicort, xopenax, singulair, nasonex, synthroid 100, paxil 10, and hydocortisone 25 mg for itching...within 7 days of being off the antibiotics/prednisone, I start coughing up pea size "balls" of yellow phlegm, and the wheezing feels feels like it is also in my upper breathing. I did not have COPD, Heart problems, by the end of each day, the wheezing feels bubbly until I can cough up those "little balls", then still I wheeze but not as bad, I feel like I am struggling to breathe at all times. I was my Mother's only caregiver, she died in March 2006, and was MRSA, but my doctor says I am not. Please help, I have gained 40 lbs on all this prdnisone, and to put into the mix, had to have knee surgery in Sept. 2007. I have also had pnuemonia 3 times since 2006, but got the vaccine in November 2008.
What you describe suggests the diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) or extrinsic allergic alveolitis. This condition develops in response to the repeated inhalation of and sensitization to a wide variety of organic aerosols most notably molds and fungi and low molecular weight chemical antigens. As the name implies it is an allergic disease which if untreated and exposure to the causative agent halted, progresses from an acute to a subacute to a chronic form that can result in permanent lung damage. Epidemics of this disease have been described in groups exposed to aerosolized molds or fungi, present in swimming pools. Often but not always x-ray changes can be observed in any of the 3 stages but the diagnosis can be missed when the chest x-ray changes are subtle.
The onset of your symptoms 6 weeks after the installation of a pool is very suspicious for this diagnosis.
Here is the important part. What you have is unlikely to be just asthma. Balls of yellow phlegm and 3 bouts of pneumonia are definitely abnormal and at least one of them antedated the pool installation and so may be unrelated to the illness you acquired in the summer of 2007.
You should ask your doctor to refer you to a lung specialist to find out what exactly is wrong with your lungs.
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