What is Chest Infection?
A chest infection is a type of respiratory infection that affects the lower respiratory tract. Your windpipe, bronchi, and lungs are all part of your lower respiratory tract. Bronchitis and pneumonia are the two most common types of chest infections. Chest infections can range from minor to severe.
Atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries, is the most common cause of carotid artery disease. A similar buildup occurs in the blood vessels of the heart when someone has coronary artery disease. The plate contains clumps of:
- Chesty cough (wet or phlegmy)
- Coughing up yellow or green mucus
- Feeling short of breath
- Discomfort in your chest
- Muscle aches and pains
- Feeling tired or fatigued
A bacterial or viral infection can cause a chest infection. The precise cause will be determined by the type of infection.
Bronchitis, for example, is frequently caused by a virus, whereas most cases of pneumonia are caused by bacteria.
Inhaling respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes can expose you to a chest infection. This is due to the fact that the infection is carried by respiratory droplets.
Furthermore, touching your mouth or face after coming into contact with a surface contaminated with the virus or bacteria can spread the infection.
You are more likely to get a chest infection if you:
- Are elderly
- Are pregnant
- Are a baby or young child
- Have a chronic illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or diabetes
- Have a weakened immune system as a result of a condition such as HIV or being a recipient of an organ transplant
How to treat
Antibiotics will not help if your chest infection is caused by a virus. Instead, your treatment will concentrate on relieving your symptoms until you begin to improve.
Antibiotics will be prescribed if you have a bacterial infection. In a mild case, you can take these tablets at home.
If you have a severe bacterial chest infection, you may need to be treated in a hospital with IV antibiotics.
Even if you begin to feel better, always finish the entire course of antibiotics.
- To reduce your fever and relieve aches and pains, take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- To help loosen mucus and make coughing easier, take over-the-counter decongestants or expectorants.
- Make sure you get enough rest.
- Drink plenty of water. This keeps you hydrated and can loosen mucus, making coughing easier.
- When sleeping, avoid lying flat. This can cause mucus to accumulate in your lungs. Extra pillows can be used to elevate your head and chest at night.
- To relieve coughing, use a humidifier or inhale the steam vapor.
- If your throat is sore from coughing, drink a warm honey and lemon drink.
- Avoid smoking
- Cough suppressant medications should be avoided. Coughing actually aids in the healing process by clearing mucus from the lungs.
How to Prevent
Before eating or touching your face or mouth, make sure your hands are clean. Consume a healthy, well-balanced diet. This can help boost your immune system and make you more resistant to infection.
Obtain a vaccination. Chest infections can develop after an infection such as influenza, for which a seasonal vaccine is available. You should also consider getting the pneumococcal vaccine, which protects against pneumonia.
Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.
Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink
If you are already sick, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of any used tissues in a proper manner.
A viral or bacterial infection in your lower respiratory tract can cause a chest infection. They can range in severity from mild to severe.
Many minor chest infections will go away on their own in about a week. A bacterial chest infection will necessitate the use of antibiotics.
Severe or complicated chest infections may necessitate hospitalization.