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Had a chronic productive cough, doctor unhappy with right lung. Since then breathlessness, sneezing and chest pain

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 436 Questions
Hi there
My dad is 54 and had a chronic non productive cough for over 2 months. He went to doctors who said he wasnt happy with his right lung and thought possible pnumonia gave antibiotics which havet workeed and to go to hospital for a chest x-ray if cough doesnt go. At the time he saw the doctor he only had chronic cough since then he has had severe shortness of breath, ongoing cough with no phlegm, sneezing constantly and back and chest pain. The xray was done 8 days ago and doctor still has no results. If the x-ray had shown somethin urgent would this have been sent to the gp by now or does it take just as long whether they are normal or irregular?
Please help as soo worried and everythings a waiting game
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Lung Cancer
Answered by Dr. Radhika 1 hour later
Thanks for the query.

I understand, your dad has been having complaints of chronic cough since 2 months associated with chest pain, shortness of breath and sneezing.

The causes of chronic cough include asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus problems, chronic bronchitis, etc. It can also be seen in smokers. The back pain and chest pain can be due to chronic coughing.

Infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia can cause acute cough or a chronic cough. These infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics. So the medicine given may not work.

Since you have done an chest X-ray it can be diagnosed by it. Normally if it not an emergency you will get his reports in a day or two. Try to get the report early, so that diagnosis can be confirmed.

Also if it was an emergency they would have informed you earlier. Do not worry it is unlikely to be lung cancer.

Blood test like white blood cell count (WBC) and sputum examination will determine the type of pneumonia so that appropriate medicines can be given.

Meanwhile if he smokes tell him to stop it. Lukewarm water with lemon juice and pinch of rock salt will give temporary relief in coughing and congestion during the pneumonia attack. This is one of the best remedies for pneumonia .

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available for follow up queries.

Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.


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Follow-up: Had a chronic productive cough, doctor unhappy with right lung. Since then breathlessness, sneezing and chest pain 3 hours later
It has been ten days now and still havent received xray results as GP said they havent had these from the hospital now.
Is shortness of breath and fatigue related to pnumonia? I am so worried as he is never ill.
He is a non smoker but the cough is non productive and wont go it has been 2 months.
He has also done a sputum test so we are also waiting for this to come back so until then nobody will give further meds.
What does a sputum test for
Answered by Dr. Radhika 25 hours later

Thanks for the follow up.

Sorry for the delay in replying you back.

Shortness of breath and fatigue could be related to Pneumonia. It is good to hear that he is a non smoker. Pneumonia can last from 1 week to several weeks if not treated.

The most common symptom of Pneumonia is fever, hacking, dry (non-productive) cough, which may change to a productive cough later. So if the disease progresses it may be productive later.

The color of the mucus (sputum) sample coughed up from the lungs can reveal the severity of the disease. Only a sputum sample will reveal the organism causing the infection.

Since it it already 10 days and you have not got the report, it might be misplaced. It is better if you do a repeat x-ray if you do not get the previous one. It is necessary in finding out the extent of Pneumonia.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you do not have further queries.

Wishing you good health.


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