A chest cold results from inflammation in the respiratory tract, which makes the passage of air to and form the lungs difficult. Infection of flu virus is one of the most commonly found causes of this. There are some other forms of bacteria, virus, and irritants like chemicals and tobacco smoke that are also responsible for this condition. In general, chest cold symptoms show up within first two to three days of getting the infection, and may last for about a week or two. Following are the common symptoms of a chest cold:
- Nasal Congestion:
One of the first signs of a chest cold is obstruction in the nasal passage due to excess mucous. It is accompanied by a runny nose and frequent sneezing. When the infection turns severe, one may find it difficult to breathe normally and feel short of breath because of the blockage.
- Chest Congestion:
Due to this, one experiences a lot of discomfort in the chest and sometimes it may give rise to pain as well. There will also be a wheezing sound while breathing. Congestion in the chest results into accumulation of mucous in the air passage, which gives rise to a bad cough. At times, mucous may even get expelled while coughing. This is one of the most irritating symptoms, as it disrupts the normal day-to-day activities, like sleep. Other symptoms of bronchial infection disappear in 1 or 2 weeks, but coughing is one such symptom which refuses to go till 4-6 weeks after the infection.
- Other Symptoms:
There are some symptoms which have a lot of similarity with cold and flu. They are low-grade fever, chills, headache, fatigue, weakness, dehydration, muscle pain, lightheadedness, etc. Sometimes, when the symptoms intensify, children may experience pain while swallowing due to swelling in lips. As a result, they find even talking a difficult task.
Chest cold is diagnosed with the help of a physical examination of the chest and laboratory tests, like throat cultures and X-rays. To bring down the symptoms of pain and fever, doctors prescribe pain relieving medicines. If it is found that the infection is caused by bacteria, then antibiotics are administered. Cough medicines and drops are given to control the annoying coughing. Medicines should be accompanied by drinking of plenty of water, juices, broth, etc., to replenish lost fluids. Water also helps to flush out the harmful substances from the body. Eating hot foods that contain peppers and chilies also helps to kill the bacteria. It also helps in thinning up the mucous, which can give relief from congestion. Most importantly, the patient is advised to take adequate amount of rest to speed up the healing process of the body. Use of humidifiers at home twice a day for about half an hour is also helpful in this regard. They add moisture to the air, which helps in breaking down the mucus.
If you are suffering from bronchitis, you should avoid irritants, like dust, smoke, and chemicals, as exposure to these substances may aggravate your symptoms further. You should also ensure that the germs does not spread to other people by maintaining proper personal hygiene.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.