Chest Infection: Types, Symptoms and Treatments

Chest infection includes acute bronchitis and pneumonia. The symptoms and treatments vary for those two conditions and you should learn more so as to get treated early.

Chest infection is a disease that influences your lungs, either in the bigger aviation routes (bronchitis) or in comparatively small air sacs (pneumonia). Acute bronchitis and pneumonia are the two main types. This condition makes the aviation routes get swollen, making it troublesome for a person to relax. Chest contamination can lead to serious problems for those who are vulnerable to it.

How Common Is Chest Infection?

The condition is very common, particularly during the seasons of winter and autumn. It happens frequently following cold of influenza and anyone can be vulnerable to them, however the following groups of people are at utmost risk: kids, elderly, smokers and asthma patients.

It is important to note that it may not be as alarmingly contagious as other infectious such as flu, but it can spread among people. Resulting from bacteria or virus, it has the potential of travelling through air rapidly. It can be caught on if an infected person is in our surroundings specially when he sneezes or coughs.

What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Chest Infection?

The symptoms are broad in nature but the prominent ones are mucus accumulation, pain in the chest and breathing difficulties. However, symptoms further branch in two different types as explained below.

Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

This is mostly caused by virus. For the most of acute bronchitis cases, the following symptoms are observed:

  • Dry hacking cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • exhaustion
  • felling cold
  • Cough with white mucus which may change colour
  • shoulder and chest pain

At the point when bronchitis is serious, fever may be marginally higher at 101° to 102° F and may keep going for 3 to 5 days, yet higher fevers are abnormal unless bronchitis has resulted from flu. Cough is the last indication to subside and frequently takes 2 to 3 weeks or significantly more to do so. Infections can harm the epithelial cells lining the bronchi and the body needs time to repair.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Symptoms of this type of chest infection are rapidly effective as their transfer medium is bacteria. If you sense even a slight bit of these symptoms then do see your doctor to be on the safe side. The most evident sign is cough. Cough will contain mucus which may be stingy or yellowish green in color, however in severe cases this mucus can contain blood. There are more symptoms of this type of infections, which may not be this evident, as mentioned below:

  • Teeth chattering chills or shaking
  • High body temperature which may lead to fever
  • Sweat
  • Quick breathing
  • Pain in the chest which gets sharper as you take a breath
  • High rate of heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea

The condition of mild symptoms is termed as ‘walking pneumonia’. In some cases one symptom can be present whereas the rest are not traced. For instance, one may cough up mucus but not feel feverish.

When to See a Doctor

You are advised to see a doctor if your breath begins to get shorter and it is difficult for you to perform daily exercises or chores. Moreover, if your fever keeps increasing and your body get shaking chill then it is one of the alarming signs that your bronchitis is now turning into pneumonia. Pain in the shoulders can be one of the signs that you need chest infection treatment.

Here is more on chest infection: Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia

How to Treat Chest Infection


In order to diagnose, two medical tests need to be carried out: X-ray and blood (phlegm tests).

X-ray will identify the infection and blood or phlegm tests will indicate the type of bacteria causing the infection so that a suitable antibiotic is used to counter its effect. Sometimes the doctor will have to switch the antibiotic already in use because bacteria have a tendency of becoming tolerant.


Some cases can be life threatening while others are mild and wither away on their own. It can take 6 to 7 days for bronchitis to get better on its own. It is advised to consult a general physician if bronchitis does not die down on its own even after 7 days.

Please note that not all chest infection is caused by bacteria; acute bronchitis is usually caused by a virus, which does not respond to antibiotics.

In case you have pneumonia you must take certain steps for making it easier for medicines to work:

  • Take rest
  • Consume fluids
  • Lie down with your head higher than your body so that it is easier to breathe
  • Quit or decrease smoking
  • Add menthol to steam
  • Cold and cough are symptoms of chest infection and the illness itself. You should take cold and cough remedies from a prescribed pharmaceutical to get better faster. Moreover, these medicinal cures can make you feel drowsy so it is recommended to check if the medicine contains sedation. If it does, then consume it prior to your bedtime.

Prognosis of Chest Infection

Acute Bronchitis, as mentioned earlier, is capable of disappearing on its own without taking medicines. But in some unfortunate cases it can reach your lung tissues and result as pneumonia. If someone can look after you in condition of pneumonia then there is not much to worry about. This outlook is still not worrisome until you have had diseases such as heart failure, diabetic condition or illness related to lungs.  



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