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Bacterial Infection vs. Asthma



How can one tell if they have a bacterial/viral infection of the lungs,both myself and 13 year old daughter have asthma. As school begins-so do colds ect, recently,she went to doctor,prescribed prednisone,but still has chest pain,yellow phlem,uses ventolin more than she should be-4-5 puffs/day..hard to sleep,no fever mostly complains of chest pain.I wonder why she wasn`t prescribed with an antibiotic? I always assumed with those symptoms(especially yellow phlem),to be sign of infection..or at least a corticosteroid(if spelled correctly)I will be taking her back in 4 days to see the doctor.Is there a site that covers all I have mentioned,pertaining to asthmatics?Also,would allergy shots be beneficial for her as well? Help is greatly appreciated!


Asthma is frequently aggravated by upper respiratory infections which are chiefly viral in nature. Yellow sputum may appear in both viral and bacterial infections. Examination of the chest and/or chest x-ray will determine if pneumonia is present. Asthma patients should not receive antibiotics for viral infections. If asthma becomes severe after viral triggers, systemic (oral steroids) may be required. All asthmatic patients should be evaluated for allergy.

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Response by:

I Leonard Bernstein, MD I Leonard Bernstein, MD
Clinical Professor Emeritus
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati