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Avatar universal

Chemical Bronchitis? Doctors say I'm fine but what if?

Dear all,

I am worried sick to my stomach and need some insight.

My concern dates back to the beginning of May. It was the second day in a row where I was working with etching copper in Hydrochloric pool acid (that is available in most hardware stores). I am very responsible and careful so I did everything outside in a well ventilated area. After completion, I closed the door to the outside section and went to bed. The next day I woke up, went to work and came back home. Upon my return, the house had a mild stench to it. Nothing too pungent, nothing irritating, just mild and not smelling like a well ventilated house should smell. I aired it out that night and went back to bed. Upon waking up, I couldn't smell anything, yet, when coming back from work on the second day, exactly the same smell lingered albeit alot more subtle. I did the second and last etch on the 6th of May. That time I ensured all doors leading to the outside were closed. When going back inside I could somehow still smell the same stench. I aired out the house and went to bed. Next day upon returning from work, the same smell lingered. I called it quits and packed everything away from the house and never made any other attempts.

Fast forward to the 13th of May, I was working with a colleague with a very bad case of flu. On the 14th I fell ill with flu presumably from the colleague and stayed home that day, runny nose and feeling terrible. A cough developed on the 14 of May exactly 1 week and 1 day after the chemical experiment. Since then my cough has persisted.

It has been one month of terrible coughing and tight chest with recent difficulty of breathing. I always wake up after 3 hours of sleep with an impending sense of doom and as if something is wrong with my lungs. The cough sound is very dry but it always produces a water-like spit. Only at one brief point in time did it produce a thicker clear white frothed salty mucus. The cough happens mostly whenever I talk. When I breath in to talk I have this gag reflex to cough and there is always spit coming from deep down. The nose and throat are also bone dry and feel inflamed.

I went to the doctor on the 4th of June, didnt mention anything specific. Stethoscope sounded a bit off and was prescribed 5 days of Penicillin Antibiotics, Bronchodilator and Celestamine steroid (which I only started taking recently). Didnt help, cough persisted. Eventually went to the hospital on the 7th of June, the nursing triage showed 99% oxygen and normal blood pressure. Proceeded to doctor and mentioned my story and they found mild Bronchitis on xray, prescribed me some flu tablets along with another Steroid Prednisone. Didnt help, went back to the hospital on the 13th and re-hashed my chemical story. Second triage showed the same 99% oxygen and an elevated pressure because I was a bit panicked. A different doctor said she re-looked at my xray, did stethoscope and ECG (just incase) and she said, I quote:

"Your lungs are clear, nothing to worry about. If it was a chemical related injury, there would be signs of Bronchospasms. Instead because of anxiety over the incident the chest seems to be tight". She then gave me a number of a pulmolagist (spelling?) for me to go and have a peace of mind. Not because she thinks there is any concern but because she said its to calm my own fears and put my mind to rest.

That is basically where I am now. Last night I awoke once again after 3 hours sleep I awoke and felt very wrong. My cough was so bad at night I was coughing heavily for 4 hours until falling asleep. I awake with Delirium and sense of mental confusion and strain..

My ultimate question is, do I have anything to worry about with my lungs?

Thank you all so very much
2 Responses
535822 tn?1443976780
yup me too been coughing for a few months ..dry ,wakes me up I think its an environmental allergy and am letting it take its course, or a virus going round I do live in desert lots of nasty winds blowing up dust .
Avatar universal
Thanks Margypops.

Update: Since this post I began anxious about the whole thing and couldn't get it off my mind. I began to loose weight, lost all appetite, and coughed up more violently into what tasted more like blood/iron. I went to a fourth doctor and redid xray - he picked up nothing. They asked for 3 day cough sputum samples of which I have so far handed in one. He mentioned I could have developed some allergy especially since the air is terribly dry now.

I went to psychologist since I am also suffering from an anxiety episode which flares up once every 1.5 years and had my first session. She requested my GP prescribe me Citalopram for Anxiety (worked wonders last time and I successfully weaned off and was doing great for 1.5 years without it) along with a tranquilizer for future episodes in case. Whilst at the GP for Anxiety related issues, I informed him of everything just as I have stated above in the first post and the update first paragraph of this post related to the chemical exposure.

He did another blood check for anything else related perhaps sugar or cholesterol and checked all vital signs. To be safe he requested a Spirometry and I performed 102% of predicted value. If I didn't have a cough (which came up 2-3 seconds during the blowing phase) and tight chest - high anxiety, I would've probably hit even more. He re-looked at the 2 Xray reports from the other hospital (who faxed it to us). He said I have absolutely nothing to worry about and it is a case of mind over matter. I went back in my car and cried for hours in what was my third nervous breakdown in 4 years.

Exactly 12 hours after taking Citalopram and a tranquilizer I woke up the next day with a very noticeable reduction in cough and reduction in the watery post nasal drip. Then, yesterday while at my brothers house, I really felt better and myself in the early evening. This morning for the first time, my nose is finally not as dry and produced significant mucous which is better because the dry nose was crippling me. Improvement.

Yet, going to be bed last night my lungs started to burn very much and I awoke during the night with a racing heart and rapid breathing/delirium feeling which I described above. I felt huge anxiety and since then my lungs have been burning and I have been taking deep breaths this whole day and feeling short of breath. Just when I thought this things was completely gone, its not gone completely. Based on my last experience and numerous reports, I do know that when starting Citalopram it makes anxiety hugely worse but tapers off within 4 weeks

The burning sensation in my lungs and taking big deep breaths/feeling of breathlessness the whole day is really still concerning me despite all the doctors assurances.

I am doing the "what-ifs" in my head again and reading online chemical inhalation symptoms and descriptions which is making it worse.

Is there any doctor/pulmonologist on here that may provide some insight into why I am gasping for air and burning in my chest despite having being checked up 5 times?

Thanking you for your time - I would REALLY appreciate input.
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