What Is A Chest Infection
A chest infection can affect your windpipe, bronchi , or the deeper parts of your lungs. The infection causes the affected part of the lung to become inflamed, which in turn can cause a buildup of fluid or mucus, sometimes making it difficult to breathe. Chest infections can be caused by viruses or bacteria.
Is A Chest Infection Contagious
Viral chest infections are contagious and are normally passed on through coughing or sneezing. You can catch a chest infection by breathing in the respiratory droplets of an infected person coughing or sneezing near you, or sometimes by touching your nose or mouth after touching an infected surface.
Diagnosis Of Acute Bronchitis
When you see your doctor, be ready to talk about your symptoms in detail. You should be able to answer:
- How long have you had your cough?
- Are you coughing up mucus?
- Is there blood in your sputum?
- Did you ever have a fever or other symptoms, such as chest tightness?
- Did you have a cold before the cough?
- Do you have trouble catching your breath?
- Have you been around other people who have the same kinds of symptoms?
At the appointment, your doctor will go over your symptoms and give you a physical exam. Theyâll listen to your chest while you cough. This may be enough to make a diagnosis. You may not need any tests. However, there are other times when you might need one or more.
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What Causes Chest Infections
A chest infection is an infection of the lungs or airways. The main types of chest infection are bronchitis and pneumonia.
Most bronchitis cases are caused by viruses, whereas most pneumonia cases are due to bacteria.
These infections are usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This launches tiny droplets of fluid containing the virus or bacteria into the air, where they can be breathed in by others.
The infections can also be spread to others if you cough or sneeze onto your hand, an object or a surface, and someone else shakes your hand or touches those surfaces before touching their mouth or nose.
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing serious chest infections, such as:
- babies and very young children
- children with developmental problems
Read more about the causes of bronchitis and the causes of pneumonia
Antibiotics Are Not Always Needed
Most of the time, antibiotics are not indicated for use in treating the common cold or flu. A Cochrane report analyzing the available research into the use of antibiotics to treat colds, published in 2013, found that antibiotics do not work for the common cold, and side effects of antibiotics used for the common cold are common.
White, yellow, or even green snot during your cold doesnt necessarily mean its a bacterial infection, so it isnt a reason to ask for antibiotics.
Overuse and overprescription of antibiotics when they arent effective leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant infections. Not only is this a big problem for the entire world, but antibiotics can have nasty side effects for the person taking them.
If you go to the healthcare provider with a cold, theyll generally treat your symptoms, including suggesting you:
- Hydrate with water or electrolyte sports drinks
- Rest and let your body heal
- Suck on lozenges, hard candies, or ice pops to soothe a sore throat
- Try antihistamines or decongestants for symptom relief
- Use saline nose drops or sprays or a neti potstyle sinus rinse to help clear congestion
- Take pain relievers and fever reducers, including Tylenol and Advil , to address those symptoms
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For Parents: Chest Infection In Children
Children coughing is usually a result of mucus trickling down their throats not a chest infection. Providing your child is eating and drinking normally, and they arent wheezing, coughing is usually no cause for concern.
If you suspect your child might have a chest infection, there are signs to look out for and some effective ways to make your child feel better again quickly. We can help with:
What are the signs of your child having a chest infection? And how are chest infections in children treated?
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pneumonia
Common stages of pneumonia recovery:
| Recovery time | Prognosis||—————|———————————————————————–|| 2 days | your temperature should start to settle after 48 hours of antibiotics || 1 week | your fever should be gone || 4 weeks | your chest pain and mucus production should be substantially reduced || 6 weeks | your cough and breathlessness should be substantially reduced || 3 months | most symptoms should be gone but you may still feel very tired || 6 months | you should feel back to normal |
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Can Children Pass On A Chest Infection
Many parents worry if their childs chest infection might be infectious before sending them to school. Chest infections can be passed on between children. However, it is generally advised for a child to go to school if they only have a minor cough and mild chest infection.
If your childs chest infection is accompanied by a more severe cough or fever, you should keep them home until their symptoms start to improve.
Make sure your child knows to cover their mouth when they cough and throw away any used tissues straight away to prevent further spreading of their chest infection.
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
- Symptoms – a doctor will suspect pneumonia from asking about your symptoms and how you are feeling. They may also ask about your medical history and that of your family. They will be interested in whether you smoke, how much and for how long. The examination may include checking your temperature. Sometimes your doctor will check how much oxygen is circulating around your body. This is done with a small device that sits on the end of your finger. The doctor will listen to your chest, so they may want you to lift or take off your top. If you want a chaperone during the examination, the doctor will arrange one. If you have asthma, they may ask you to check your peak flow measurement. They will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. Tapping your chest over the infected lung is also sometimes performed. This is called percussion. An area of infected lung may sound dull.
- X-ray – a chest X-ray may be required to confirm the diagnosis and to see how serious the infection is.
- Other tests – these tests are usually carried out if you need to be admitted to hospital. They include sending a sample of phlegm for analysis and blood tests to check if the infection has spread to your blood.
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Ranking The Best Antibiotics For Uti Of 2021
Antibiotics for UTI alleviate the pain and discomfort of urinary tract infections quickly and reliably.
Every year more than six million Americans visit their doctors seeking treatment of UTIs. The overwhelming majority are women, who are 30 times more likely to suffer UTIs than men.
In nearly all confirmed UTI cases, antibiotics are prescribed and start providing relief within 24 hours. Typically, within a few days, most or all symptoms have been eliminated.
There are more than 100 different antibiotics, but not all are useful in treating a UTI. The following are the best antibiotics for UTI of 2021. Speak to your doctor to determine which one is right for you.
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What Is Acute Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is an infection of the bronchi – the main airways between the trachea and lungs. The infection is usually viral but can also be bacterial. It causes the bronchi to become inflamed and produce excess mucus. Common symptoms include coughing , wheezing, shortness of breath or fever.
Early signs of acute bronchitis may appear to be the common cold or the flu, particularly in winter. Symptoms are usually mild and can often be managed at home. Although rare, acute bronchitis can turn into pneumonia – a more serious health condition. Acute bronchitis is not a direct cause of its namesake, chronic bronchitis.
Severe or chronic bronchitis, known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , is not caused by an infection. Instead, the lungs and airways become inflamed and damaged over time due to breathing in harmful substances. Smoking is the main cause of COPD, but other factors include occupational exposure to certain dusts and fumes.
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Causes And Associated Symptoms Of Blood In Mucus
Blood in mucus may appear due to several conditions. Some may indicate small problems that resolve quickly. But, you can also see blood in the sputum due to some severe health complications. It is always better to see your doctor to check the exact reason triggering the problem. By detecting the issue, you can get treatment to rectify the issue and prevent it from worsening. So, the common causes associated with the issue are:
Antibiotic No Better For Coughs Uncomplicated Chest Infections Than No Medication
Amoxicillin, the antibiotic doctors often prescribe for persistent coughs caused by uncomplicated chest infections such as bronchitis, is no more effective at easing symptoms than no medication at all, even in older patients. This was the finding of the largest randomised placebo controlled trial of antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infections done to date.
The study, which was led by the University of Southampton in the UK, is from the GRACE consortium and was funded by the European Communitys Sixth Framework Programme.
A paper on the findings appears in the 19 December online issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
First author Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research at Southampton, says in a statement:
Patients given amoxicillin dont recover much quicker or have significantly fewer symptoms.
In fact, he adds, using amoxicillin to treat patients with respiratory infections who dont have pneumonia could not only be ineffective, but might actually harm them.
Overuse of antibiotics, which is dominated by primary care prescribing, particularly when they are ineffective, can lead to side effects such as diarrhea, rash, vomiting and the development of resistance, he explains.
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How Long Does A Chest Infection Last In Children
The infection itself can last between 7 to 10 days in children. However, your child might still have a cough from the chest infection for up to 3 weeks. It can sometimes be difficult for your child to cope with a chest infection for this long. Read our tips on how to treat chest infection in children to help relieve some of your childs symptoms.
Having Ivs In Hospital
- Some people come into hospital for their IV antibiotics and stay there while they have the course of treatment .This may be because youre unwell or dont have the support to continue your treatment at home. In this case, hospital is the safest place to be. Often being in a place of safety and having the opportunity to rest and recover will enhance your recovery from a flare up of bronchiectasis
- In additional to your IV antibiotics treatment, you will also meet a range of health professionals who can help you with your disease. These will include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians and other members of staff.
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Antibiotics For Cough From Other Causes
While its not likely that youll be prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis, it is possible that youll need antibiotics for an incessant cough caused by another bacteria.
An infection called whooping cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis and can cause a lingering cough. Luckily, its prevented in most cases by the pertussis vaccine, which has reduced whooping cough infections drastically.
If you havent been vaccinated against whooping cough , its possible a cough could be caused by the pertussis bacteria.
The symptoms of pertussis are very similar to those of bronchitis. They include initial cold-like symptoms, including:
- A sniffly, runny nose
- A mild, occasional cough
- Unusual pauses in breathing
In pertussis, especially in those who havent been vaccinated, these symptoms worsen and develop into unusual coughing fits with an accompanying high-pitched whoop sound. This usually happens one to two weeks after the initial infection.
These coughing fits can cause exhaustion and vomiting, and can last a long timeup to 10 weeks or more.
Pertussis infections are treated with antibiotics, and early treatment is essential to ease symptoms and prevent the spread of the disease.
Also, try to stay away from others, especially those too young to be vaccinated. Whooping cough is extremely dangerous to infants.
Antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat pertussis include:
When To Get Medical Care
See a specialist if you have:
- Breathing problems or rapid breathing
- The Dehydration
- A fever lasting more than 4 days
- Symptoms that last without relief for more than 10 days
- Symptoms that strengthen but then rebound or intensify, such as fever or cough,
- Worsening Chronic Psychiatric Problems
This is not an all-inclusive collection. For any signs which are extreme or troubling, please see a doctor.
Since colds may have flu-like effects, the distinction between the two conditions, based on symptoms alone can be hard to say. Both the flu and the common cold are infectious infections, but various viruses cause them.
The flu is generally worse than a cough because the effects are more extreme. It is more likely that people with colds may get a runny or stuffy nose.
In general, colds do not lead to severe health issues, such as asthma, strains of bacteria, or hospitalizations. The flu may have very severe problems associated with it.
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Treatment For A Chest Infection
If your chest infection is making your asthma symptoms worse, your doctor might give you a course of steroid tablets or make changes to your inhaled medicines to treat the flare up.
Your doctor will probably be able to tell whether you need antibiotics, although they might send a sample of your phlegm away to be tested.
If theyre not sure, they might give you a delayed prescription of antibiotics, meaning you should only take them if you dont feel better in a few days. Most chest infections are caused by viruses, which cant be treated with antibiotics.
Viral chest infections cant be treated by antibiotics. It can be tempting to ask for antibiotics just in case because you want to get rid of your symptoms. But its important that you only take antibiotics if you really need them.
Know What Causes A Chest Infection
Pneumonia accounts for more than 5% of all deaths in the UK every year. You can make small lifestyle changes to strengthen your immune system and help prevent this deadly disease. From good hygiene to a balanced diet, your decisions can help stave off infection.
Smoking massively increases the chances of getting a chest infection, and once you have a chest infection smoking also aggravates the infection and worsens your condition. Its important to learn what causes a chest infection so you can make the right choices to reduce the risk of developing one. We can help with:
How are chest infections caused? And what can you do to reduce the risk of getting one?
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How To Prevent Chest Infections In Children
Chest infections in children can sometimes be difficult to prevent. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the chances of your child getting a chest infection. This includes:
- Avoiding smoking in the home or around your child. Inhaling secondhand cigarette smoke has been shown to be a major risk factor for chest infections in children.
- Ensure your child is up to date with their vaccines. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is given to all children as part of their routine immunisations. This vaccine is administered in three separate doses: at 16 weeks, 1 year and 8 years old.
- Ensure your child has the annual flu vaccine.
To stay updated with your childs vaccinations, the NHS provides a useful resource where you can find out more about when your child will be receiving their vaccinations throughout their childhood.
When To See A Gp About A Chest Infection When Pregnant
If you are pregnant and suspect that you might have a chest infection, you should visit your GP. They will be able to examine you by listening to your lungs and monitoring your oxygen levels. If there is evidence to suggest your chest infection is bacterial, your GP might prescribe you with some suitable antibiotics for pregnancy to help fight your infection.
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Infection Can Still Occur After Symptoms Have Stopped
The symptoms of shigella gastroenteritis may clear up after a week or so, but the person can have Shigella bacteria in their faeces for at least four weeks after the symptoms stop. Occasionally, a person may excrete the bacteria for months after the symptoms have stopped.
Some people are carriers of shigella, which means that they have the bacteria in their body, but dont feel sick. These people can still pass the disease on to others.
What Happens If A Baby Gets Pneumonia
Like many infections, pneumonia usually produces a fever, which in turn may cause sweating, chills, flushed skin, and general discomfort. The child also may lose her appetite and seem less energetic than normal. Babies and toddlers may seem pale and limp, and cry more than usual.
How do I know if my infant has pneumonia?
What are the symptoms of pneumonia in a child?
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