Worsening asthma and frequent bouts of bronchitis/pneumonia


Q: I'm 24 years old. I have had asthma since I was a child, but it has gotten worse in the past three years. Since 2011, I have had multiple bouts of bronchitis that turned into pneumonia. This past year, I have had bronchitis/pneumonia for over 12 weeks with a productive cough that lasts even longer. I also have had pleurisy twice in the past three years. Each time I have bronchitis/pneumonia, my asthma becomes much worse (more attacks and almost a constant feeling short of breath/wheezing). I have ended up in Urgent Care multiple times during each of these illnesses. I use Proair, Qvar, and Advair (Advair does not seem to work as well for me as it used to) and have gone on antibiotics and steroids during each illness. The main suggestions from my doctors were to take preventative measures (washing my hands, eating right, etc.), avoid people respiratory illnesses (but I work with young students), and if I do get a respiratory infection, go on bed rest and go to the doctor if it gets worse. I already exercise, eat healthy, and wash my hands/clean everything religiously. Are there any other preventative measures I can take? I'd like to stay at my current job with the kids, even though that does expose me to more illnesses. What is a realistic outlook for me (will my asthma/risk of infections most likely continue to get worse as I age)?

Symptoms:  Worsening asthma (continuous coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue--all symptoms are typically worse in the morning and at night regardless if I'm sick or not); bronchitis/pneumonia (productive cough: yellow before antibiotics, white/clear after; fever between 100-103.5 before antibiotics, congestion, body aches, fatigue); pleurisy (severe chest pain on left side especially when inhaling, coughing, or moving suddenly that radiates to left side, chest, back, and shoulders; fever, cough).

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