A chest infection affects lungs, either in the smaller air sacs or in the bronchitis. Generally elderly people and children are most exposed to chest infections; however it can be serious for those people who smoke or the ones who are in poor health.
People with a weak immune system can easily have chest infection symptoms, which usually starts with a sore throat, a cough that produces mucus and cold. In light of the virulent disease that has spread across the world, it is highly recommended to get checked periodically.
Chest infections are especially common, during winter and autumn, or after a flu or cold. Mainly short term coughs are caused by a viral infection and they usually subside within three weeks. While most are meek and get better on their own, few cases may become very serious, even critical and life threatening.
Before we get to common chest infection symptoms in adults lets discuss two main types of chest infection:
- Type 1 – Acute bronchitis is an infection of bronchi which is the large airways in the lungs. This type of chest infection is widespread and is often caused by a viral infection.
- Type 2 – Pneumonia is a relatively serious infection of lungs. It usually entails treatment with called antibiotics medicines.
Common chest infection symptoms include:
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up or green yellow phlegm (i.e. thick mucus)
- Coughing up blood
- Shallow and rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Tightness or pain in chest
- High temperature (fever)
- Feeling disorientated and confused
Some people may also experience more general chest infection symptoms, like fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, and muscle or joint pain.
How can you save yourself from these chest infection symptoms?
You can take a few measures to reduce your risk of developing chest infections and to avoid spreading them to others. Wise precautions include:
- Maintaining Good Hygiene – While chest infections aren’t normally as contagious as other common infections like flu, you could still catch them from other people when they sneeze or cough. Our suggestion I s- avoid close contact with people in poor health.
- Alcohol – Prolonged and excessive alcohol misuse weakens the natural defenses of your lungs against infections. This in turn can make you highly susceptible to chest infections. If you consume alcohol, do not go beyond the suggested daily limits (2 to 3 units a day for women and 3 to 4 units a day for men).
- Quit Smoking – For smokers, one of the best precautions to prevent chest infection symptoms is to quit smoking. Smoking can damage your lungs and it may weaken your resistance against chest infection.
- Diet – A healthy and balanced diet can help in strengthening your immune system and in making you less susceptible to developing chest infections.
- Vaccinations – Anyone who is at a high risk of chest infections, can get vaccinated against pneumococcal (a bacterium which may cause pneumonia) and flu infections. These vaccinations will help in reducing your chances of developing chest infections in future as well.
How long chest infection last?/
Chest infections if not to severe can usually lasts for 7 to 10 days, although they can persist for up to 3 weeks. In case of acute bronchitis people typically begin to feel better within a couple of days, although they usually can expect to have a mild cough for one to two weeks or more as the airways in the lungs heal. On the other hand chronic bronchitis symptoms may last longer or might not be resolved at all, because the damage to the lungs could be permanent. At times, pneumonia may develop in an individual already suffering from acute bronchitis. If someone is already affected by a disease, bronchitis will end up making their condition even worse. Chronic bronchitis might lead to heart failure, as it makes the heart work harder to recompense for the lack of oxygen.