What Are Chest Infections?
Chest infections are quite common, especially after you have been dealing with flu or a common cold. In most cases, they are only mild and get better on their own. However, some of them can be dangerous and should be treated by a doctor. Chest infections, or congestions are caused when the lungs or the airways get infected.
What is initially a chest infection, can, in a worst case scenrio, develop into pneumonia or bronchitis. Bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, while pneumonia is caused by bacteria. Vulnerable age groups, and smokers are most at risk.
Chest Infection Symptoms
The main symptoms are
- A sinus infection
- Chest tightness
- Persistent, productive cough
- A high temperature
Home Remedies for a Chest Infection
Home remedies can be very effective at keeping your infection under control, enabling you to feel more comfortable and rested.
Add a couple of drops of eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint essentail oils to a large bowl of steaming hot water. Drape a clean towel over your head and the bowl, and inhale the steam. The mixture of warm moist air and essential oils will loosen the phlegm in your chest, allowing it to disperse, and through coughing, be expelled from your body.
This oil can help to ease your throat, relieving the pressure on your sinuses and chest.
After having suffered myself from a chest infection a while ago, I had tried several remedies, until this was suggested by a friend. I was impressed by the results, my coughing lessening, and breathing becoming markedly easier. They also smell delicious!
How Long Does a Chest Infection Last?
The worst of the chest infection symptoms will generally last from seven to ten days. However, a cough, whether a dry or a chesty one, can sometimes continue for two to three weeks after most of the chest infection symptoms are gone. This is your body’s natural way of getting rid of any irritants that remain inside your airways.
While a chest infection needs approximately about a week to run its course, there are some guidelines you can follow to alleviate some of the symptoms and speed up your recovery process.
One of the things that you can do is taking painkillers and fever-treating over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen (popularly referred to as Advil) or acetaminophen (known as Tylenol). You can also help your body to cough up the mucus from your airways by staying hydrated and use over-the-counter decongestants, nasal sprays and cough syrups, all of which function to loosen the mucus.
Sometimes, excessive coughing can irritate the throat as well, so you can prepare a mixture of lemon and honey to soothe your sore throat. Additionally, you may find it difficult to lay flat during a chest infection because this causes the mucus to collect in your chest. So, if you’re someone who sleeps on their back, make sure you get some additional pillows to prop yourself up to prevent that happening. Finally, while this should go without staying – remember to stay away from irritants such as smoking or secondhand smoke until your chest infection runs its course.