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Avatar universal

What is this some kind of new disease?

My husband contracted this coughing right after a trip to Kentucky from Maryland at Thanksgiving 2008. At first he started with a fever and a slight sore throat. This later developed into a sever cough whitch went on for 2 weeks straight. No sleep and sever non-productive coughing. We went to a pulmonologist after two trips to the ER for some relief, of which he received none. His primary care doctor subscribed anti biotics, biaxin, and the pulmonolgist subscribed steroids and codine cough medicine. The codine slowed down the cough after the 5th week. He still has fevers, diarrhea, coughing, headaches, and his feels stuffed up. It has now been 2 months and he gets better then it comes back full force. He was diagnosed initially with whooping cough but after a second round of tests, which came back the same as the first set, we are starting from scratch once again. He is now going through a larger scope of blood work and stool samples. If nothing comes back from that then he is going to be admitted into the hospital for evaluation. Can anyone give anymore advice or results from testing for this strange coughing sickness?
23 Responses
212161 tn?1537898045
been throught it my self in oct 2007 got the cold , now jan still feel bad got a sinus infection with it , put me on meds for asthma cant get over it short of breath or feel like i cant breath good. just went back to dr today got another inhaler . my chest hurts with it so not sure but its everywhere . let us know how he does and answers maybe it help us all.
212161 tn?1537898045
p.s after 3 monts i cough very little just got everything elsa
Avatar universal
There's so much of this about in the UK too.  The Doctors don't know what's causing it. They seem to diagnose the same symptoms differently. One says asthma, the next bronchitis, the next pneumonia and those that diagnose it as viral still offer antibiotics to cure it . It's the way it keeps reacurring that is making it a problem I guess. They seem at a loss to treat it at the moment.
If anyone has been treated and cured by it I'd like to hear please.
Avatar universal
Kentucky & Keef,
See my post today, Feb 11 2009, by ggreg.  I entitled it something like "Who else has this chest cold flu thing?"  Please post over there, too, if you like, I have asked others who have this cold-flu thing to reply to me.  This morning, the third day of this, I laid there at 3 a.m., couldn't sleep, legs hurt, feet on fire, fever and aches, and a big-time chest cold where it is a deep strangling sensation when I cough, and I said to myself, "This ain't no ordinary chest cold."  I've had pneumonia and bronchitis, but this one takes the cake.  

I caught mine from my husband, some relatives had it a month ago.  About the only thing I can suggest about how to stop how it's been lingering for you all, is to sterilize with a disinefectant, perhaps alcohol, all the surfaces in the house that you touch a lot, like doorknobs, spigots, the refrigerator door.  Don't use alcohol on the computer, tho, it will wash away the letters on the keyboard.  The mouse you can, but just use real hot water to wipe off the keys.  Also, either get a new toothbrush or sterilize the old one with alcohol.  Wash hands constantly.  Drink enough water, too.

Keef, I'm fascinated to know the U.K. has a bunch of this going around.  Is it in the news?  I live in the U.S. on the East Coast, and I posted my own post about this, to find out just how many people have this thing in our area.  I also read an article that a particular type of flu is apparently getting thru the flu shot stuff, it's just the way the strains mutate to survive, so they're treating it with a variation on the usual antibiotics.  But anytime a bunch of folks get this sort of thing, I REALLY worry about it.  You see, I haven't been sick with a bad cold like this for about 10 years.  
Avatar universal
hi guys, i have been getting crazy flu symptoms ever since i went to australia..i'm from singapore.

funny thing is that i never had fever. i've had rash, meningitis, sores in mouth, difficulty swallowing....basically all the hiv type of infection.

http://www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=hiv_aids/4460

so it's really weird..im negative for hiv. i've had this twice. about three months apart. the meningitis is sooo bad that it has progressed to disturbing my sensory nerves...i get muscle twitches every few seconds and eyelids too.

am gonna try the flu shot and see how things go.
Avatar universal
My husband is finally feeling better. It has gone away on it's own but he still coughs every now and then. It is a strange thing that has baffeled his doctors. They were going to send him to a specialist, (pulmonary), in Washington, D.C. at the university. But he is doing a lot better so I think his doctor will let him go back to work now. He was coughing so much for so long I was afraid he would collapse his lungs. He had chills, fevers, muscle aches, and just felt very tired all the time. His remaining symtoms are: sore muscles, body aches, sensitve hands and feet. I don't know what it was or if it will return but I hope not.
Avatar universal
Hi Kentuck,
Yup, I was scared for my husband, too.  He literally could not catch his breath and I freaked out.  When I got sick after that, I was scared for myself, altho I could still breathe okay, the symptoms were just so awful that I thought life would never return to normal, really overwhelming.  I am feeling better now, thank goodness, and I hope it doesn't return, the way it seems to have for so many.
GG  
Avatar universal
Well it's back! My husband was doing great last week, only a slight cough throughout the day during the week, (2/9-2/13), then on Sat and Sun he was doing very well. No coughing. Then comes Monday and he is terrible again, the coughing is back full force and he is running a fever of 101. We go back to the doctor on Wednesday and he FINALLY decides that he will do a bronchoscopy and see if he can find anything in the lungs. I had to literally beg the doctor to do this. There has to be something if all the test come back normal and his lung x-rays are clear. The doctor said that he may have a touch of pnuemonia but I don't know what he was looking at because I looked, and although I am not a doctor, I did not see anything that would constitute that diagnosis.

I think the doctor is grasping at straws. He even told us he was embarrased that he did not know what was going on. Another doctor in the office told him, in the hall way out side the room, that he would have done the bronch on him day one.

The coughing is terrible and there is no other symptoms to go along with it except he is really tired, which could be from the exertion of coughing. He is very sore in his joints and he has no desire to do anything.

The doctor put him back on two antibiotics for the pnuemonia. Amox and Ethro. He has the bronch next Tuesday. I will post the findings if any. He has also been referred to a specialist, Pulmonary, at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC. That will take a while.
Avatar universal
Kentuck,
Yeah, I had a fever, too.  I'm two weeks out from the worst of the cold, and I'm STILL tired.  Whatever it was, it took the life right out of me.  It's bad when the lungs get clogged with mucous, which is part of the immune system doing its job.  The cough was right in the center of my chest.  If it's a bacteria, the drugs will help your husband.  I'm glad you're seeking professional help, because what I had was one rough experience.  And I've heard others are having a hard time getting rid of this thing.  My husband is still well.  But both of us are pretty spaced out.  Even tho it will be a while, I would like to hear what the Georgetown guy says when you go.  If you want, just message me thru my name link and it'll come to my personal email.
GG
Avatar universal
My husband had the endoscopy 2/24/09. Nothing showed up. Nothing at all except visual signs of irritation from continous coughing. The doctor is completely stumped and has no answer. Now I think they think he is making this up. Why would someone make this up, why would someone cough so much that they are constantly miserable and are drastically changing their way of life?
We have no alternatives at the moment but to file bankruptcy and move back to Kentucky. Maybe he can find another doctor there who can help him. Wish us luck. And good luck to everyone else.
Avatar universal
Dear Kentucky,
Oh, dear, is it really so bad you gotta pack it in?  I know, you gotta keep working.  Let me say from everything you've said, it is possible your husband now has a sinus infection.  See, if the sinuses drain, it'll make a person cough.  Perhaps the doc could give him something stronger than he did before, for his nose situation.  Poor guy.  
GG
Avatar universal
We are still hanging on to hope. He does not have sinus problems at the moment. Every avenue, except  for gastro, has been examined. We went to his primary last Friday, 2/27/09, and he prescribed him  Spiriva, I think that is the name of it, and some heavy stomach medicine. The stomach medicine makes him sleep all the time and have very vivid dreams but his coughing has dropped down to maybe two or three fits during an 8 hour period. But now he is so depressed and tired all the time. This has taken it's toll on him. His cough sounds different now. It is not like it was before and his raspiness in his voice is gone. It may be from the new breathing medicine. I just hope he can recover fully. I think that when the weather gets warmer that he may get better. He is on long-term disability now and I do not think he will go back to work where he is now. I think we will find a warmer climate. Something else I thought about was, it may be from living in these small apartments with no ventalation. We have been living in small apartments for almost three years now. We do not open our windows and patio door much, one, because he does have allergies, two, because we live on the first floor and there are a lot of break- ins in the warmer months.
He has allergies in the summer which make his nose run but they are not real severe. This did not start like and allergy but it did start like a head cold. One other fact that he has remembered was that where he was working, about two months before this started, he was dealing with bacteria that was used to make a vaccine for TB. and he was sprayed in the face with some type of chemical. He says it would not have caused it but I am not so sure. I am still trying to figure it out.
Avatar universal
Dear Kentuck,
Wow, that was an interesting bit of info, on the TB vaccine.  But I assume he has told the docs and has been tested for TB.  Take a vacation, even tho you cannot afford it, get as far south as your money will take you, to a coastal region, like Charleston SC at the minimum, or Florida if you can.  That way he can sit out in the sun and breathe in that warm coastal air.  If that's just not possible, I'm in NC and we're getting a warming trend this weekend, so if the weather makes it up to MD, you guys take a nice easy walk in the neighborhood daily, as long as the improved weather continues.  Even tho it goofs up his allergies, the fresh air, sun, and exercise WILL help him more.  Another alternative is to check into a really nice hotel in Baltimore, perhaps, since it's close to the water, and stay there a few days, do some good eating, and just lounge in the room, might help too.  All those things would improve his mood, too.  And on his job, don't worry about whether it will still be there or not... you'd be amazed how nice employers will be to their sick workers, or once he gets well, they can even talk over with him about referring him to a similar place further south, as you had wanted to try.  It's not his fault he is sick.  You guys hang in, I'll be thinking of you.  I'm disabled permanently from a car wreck, and I'm older, so I know what it's like to have a sickness descend on the household, pretty scary stuff.
GG
Avatar universal
Thanks a lot for all your "excellent" suggestions. I had already planned on getting outside this weekend. It is supposed to be in the 60's here also. We have lot of local parks here so I am going to try my best to get him to get out. One thing we have noticed is, when it is cold or when he goes out side in the cold air, the coughing comes back and it lasts for a day or so. We are trying to keep warm and also keep our electric bill down so it gets a little cold in our apartment and he is coughing again. He stopped taking the stomach medicine and now he is trying just the inhaler to see if that has more effect.
I wish we could afford to go somewhere or stay in a hotel but unfortunatley, he has yet to receive a check from either work or his disability insurance. We are getting further and further behind on our bills and I don't know how much longer we will be able to make it. Each of them is blaming the other and neither is helping us. If we dont find out today then we are going to have to find help somewhere. It's not bad enough that he is sick but now he has the added worry of this.
Thanks for listening it helps to talk to someone.
Avatar universal
Hey Kin-tuck,
Sure, I'm glad to help you talk it through.  Cough drops might help coat his throat, to soothe his throat.  To open his breathing tube so it won't strangle, breathing in steam from boiled water helps.  Small amounts of orange juice is good for the mucous membranes and soup opens up the breathing passageways too.  I assume you've got a humidifier going, makes what little heat you got to feel warmer, and of course keeps the throat from drying out.

And oh, those bills.  I recall when I got sick and couldn't work no more, the bills piled up before I got disability, and that's the worst thing when you don't feel good.  You can go to the Department of Social Services for your county, and they might be able to very quickly bridge the gap until you get your work monies.  You can also tell them about your bills and maybe they can refer you to someone to deal with the utility folks.

By the way, I assume he takes a pill for his allergies.  I developed an allergy to some pet rabbits we kept in our house, and had to take that medicine the whole time we had them.  I was SO sick from the allergies, that if I hadn't had that medicine, I thought I was going to die.  I might also say, in case you hadn't thought of this, that if you can find the filter for the furnace, it probably could use changing.  And of course while the weather is warm right now, open all the windows for an hour, to air out the house.

One more thing, sometimes acupuncture helps people with health issues, and so a similar thing you can do for him is, massage his feet real good, there are pressure points on the foot that correspond with parts of the body... when I had that flu recently, I found out if I rubbed between my last three toes, I immediately could breathe in real deeply and it just felt so good, altho that part of the foot doesn't supposedly go to the lungs, but anyhow it worked for me.

I think soon there will be a turning point, because it does sound like your husband has gotten a little bit better in the last few days.  I'll be thinking of you two and hoping for the best.  Glad I could help a little when this situation got so helpless for you guys.
GG
Avatar universal
I live in Miami and Ive been coughing for 2 weeks now. It started out with a cold and now Im coughing with a lot of clear mucus ( it was yellow b4). I havent been to the doc cos i know theyre gonna tell me the same thinglike last year..bronchitis, post nasal drip, etc and gave me antibiotics that diidnt work. I work in retail and there are a lot of tourists at the mall im workint at. So maybe it is in the air. A lot of people here are getting it too..! First cold then turns into a horrible and crazy cough. Now Im turning into homeophaty medicine, right now Im taking Umcka Coldcare medicine, echinicea and goldenseal pills, multivitamins every morning. And with that I also drink hot tea with boiled ginger, honey and lemon, eat lotsa fruit and make soup with carrots and kale toss in together. Im also going to try the B rich food regimen ! Hope this works out..im getting sick and tired of this cough

Btw, if a lot of people are catching this weird flu cough thing, why dont we hear anything in the media?
Avatar universal
Kyuni,
I like your approach.  I agree with you that the Echinacea tea I drank helped.  I also sterlized the house, including my toothbrush, refrigerator door, etc.  I have relatives in Orlando who also have this flu, and there's a poster in this forum in the UK who has this.

ALL,
Here is a LINK to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control concerning the flu going around:
www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

It tells a bunch of stuff about the flu in 2009, and other years of the flu, and they update it about every two weeks.  I don't know if they get their info just from hospitals, or also from doctors, I didn't read the website very closely becuz it had so much hard-to-read info in there.

Anyhow, I am now one month and a few days past when I got it from my husband, and I'm STILL unbelievably tired.  But I am very lucky in that my symptoms are mild, altho I still cough occasionally and blow my nose once in a while.  But the main of it is over.  But while it was going on, it was really awful, first cold/flu illness I've had in 10 years.
GG
Avatar universal
Well this is an update as of 4/2/09. Not much has changed for the better. My husband has had an upper endoscopy, results: gastritis, a bronhcoscopy, results, negative for anything. Multiple blood and stool tests, results: nothing significant. Yesterday he saw his pulmonologist again and had blood drawn. He now has an infection somewhere. His stomach has swollen quite large and is hot to the touch at times. He complains of stomach pains and has diarrhea a lot. He runs fevers up to 102 degrees. The fevers have come and gone throughout this whole period of illness. So now he has and infection and they do not know what is causing it. Also his sugar is very high. I think that some of the medicine he is on is caused it but I am no doctor. They have not suggested checking his gallbladder. He really has not shown any of the classic signs of gall bladder trouble though. I think maybe it is an infection in his intestines from all the medications. We shall see, I hope.
Avatar universal
wow, I thought I was the only one fighting this cough.  I just finished my second batch of antibiotics and feel no different.  I have had this cough for 2 months now with occassional cold symptoms thrown in for good measure.  Like everyone the doctor says the samething bronchitus, or something, this is crazy.  I hope someone has a suggestion or do i just ride it out and hope it goes away.  My chest hurts from coughing, but no fever and very little congestion.
Avatar universal
I noticed all the blogs about this cough after seeking some type of remedy for myself. It is about 1 month since I caught a common cold that has left me with a cough. The worst of it is that I cough so much that I end up peeing myself. I was placed on the z pack (azithromycin), that did not work. Test sent for pertussis was negative. I wish somebody could find a cure for this "thing" thats going around. Maybe the CDC should should start taking notice. I am really tired of it. Good luck to everyone.
Avatar universal
I ONCE HAD THE EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS FOR ABOUT A YEAR !
started with extremely sore throat ,fever weakness, followed by tiredness lack of energy and unable to sleep and even sometimes neck stiffness .I can tell you this its not the flu , it is however a virus and in the same family of Mono and CMV  from what I've been able to find out from other sources there is a type of test for EBV that it may show up on (not the standard tests). I was never able to get that test done myself, mainly due to doctors not listening and cutting corners in Canada and the fact that I eventually completely recovered.
At any rate here is what will work .
L Lysine you can buy it at any pharmacy for $8 a bottle, you will need to take 2 - 500mg pills at least twice a day or even 3 times a day  for at least 3 months.
I personally took them 3 times a day for 4 or 5 months then dropped down to 1 -500 mg pill in the morning and one at night for another 3 months and then stopped completely.I also noticed a difference in not being tired within a month or so.
I should also note I took multivitamins,calcium supliments,ate lots of green vegetables ,and drank lots of water. And as soon as your able working out is required in order to get your energy levels back up.
The Lysine does work you will notice on the label that it is recognized for prevention of herpes outbreaks, and all these viruses are in the same family (mono. CMV, chicken pox herpes etc. and I've been told it may even work on a lot more, even in the regular flu variety.)  
all I ask is that someone please try it and post your results so the rest of you will know I'm not full of ****.
Avatar universal
I have had the same exact symptoms as all of you describe.  It has been one year now and I have had a cold at least 7 months of it off and on.  It seems to get better and the coughing starts to go away for 3 weeks or a month (if I am lucky) I feel like "hey this is starting to finally go it's way and then boom...here it comes again.  I work in a local hospital ER and have been told "it is just different viruses that you have come in contact with".  I have been on so many different antibiotics that it's frightening ( they eat good bacteria too!), I am at my wits end and soooo tired.  Here are my exact symptoms, sure would like to here back from all of you as to if this is what you are feeling.
sometimes sore throat
non stop coughing
chills
aching bones
tired all the time, could sleep at least 12 to 14 hours per day no problem.
have been to the doctor multiple times with no real answer or diagnosis
bladder control loss (I think because of the non stop coughing)
and last but not least depression.
Sound familiar?  I think something is out there that is causing this and I agree the CDC should be if they aren't already looking into it.
Avatar universal
Anyone consider or been tested for pertussis?
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