Chest infection is quite common among both adults as well as small children. It is of two different types. One is related to upper respiratory tract infection where the nose, sinus cavities, larynx and pharynx are involved. In the other one, the lower respiratory tract is attacked and the lungs get affected. This is a more serious condition and is found in people suffering from pneumonia.
Chest infection is caused either by the different viruses that are responsible for cold and flu or some bacteria. Its symptoms are usually observed within 2-3 days after you catch the infection and may continue to bother you for the next few weeks.
Symptoms in Adults
The symptoms of upper and lower respiratory tract infection have lots of similarity but their intensity becomes much severe when the lungs get infected. Here are the commonly observed symptoms of chest infection:
Chest Congestion: A dull, heavy feeling inside the chest is one of the obvious signs of infection in the chest. This is because of phlegm in chest. When there is a heavy congestion, it gives pain and discomfort. Persistent cough often aggravates this pain further.
Cough: An inflammation in the air passage that lies in between the nose and the lungs causes a lot of irritation inside the throat which gives rise to a chesty cough. Initially, it is a dry cough but as mucous gets accumulated, thick mucus is expelled which is yellow or green in color. Repeated cough contracts the thoracic cavity so badly that traces of blood may come out with the phlegm. The cough bothers the patient for at least 7-10 days, if not weeks.
Breathing Difficulty: As the nose and rest of the respiratory tract gets blocked with thick mucus, breathing problem arises. As a result, one starts taking shallow and rapid breaths. It also produces wheezing sound during inhalation.
Fever: The body temperature often rises because of the infection. If it is an upper respiratory infection, then usually one gets a mild fever. However, the fever due to pneumonia, could go beyond 101 degrees F.
Pain: Chest infection makes your body weak and it is susceptible to pain. One may experience headache quite frequently. The joints, bones, muscles and nerves of the body becomes tender and pain is experienced in various parts of the body. In this condition, back and neck pain mostly arise due to achy muscles.
Symptoms in Babies
The symptoms in children and babies are more or less the same as adults. You must observe them carefully as the symptoms may have severe impact on their health. They often have swallowing difficulty in this condition. So, they should be fed with great care to avoid choking. There are some symptoms in babies that require emergency medical intervention, for example, shortness of breath, which is accompanied by a bluish tinge in lips, tongue, and face and abnormal drowsiness.
When the symptoms are mild, they may not require any medical treatment, they may subside on their own. Moderate to serious infections are diagnosed with the help of laboratory test like X-rays and mucus sample test.
- Bacterial chest infection is treated with the help of antibiotic medicines.
- However, if it is caused by virus, then antibiotics are ineffective on them. In that case, the symptoms are controlled with the help of suitable medicines.
- For pain and fever, pain relieving medicines are prescribed by the doctors.
- Expectorants and cough suppressants can be used to check a bad cough.
- When you are suffering from chest infection, you must take adequate amount of rest which will help the body to recover from it.
- You should also keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
- Inhalation of steam facilitates thinning up of the mucus and ensures its faster elimination.
Disclaimer:This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.