What Are Chest Infections?
Chest infections are quite common, especially after you have been dealing with flu or a 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, also known as chest congestions are caused when the lungs or the airways get infected. The two most common chest infections are pneumonia and bronchitis. Bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, while pneumonia is caused by bacteria. Babies, young children, elderly people, smokers, pregnant women, and overweight people can be affected more severely by these chest infections.
Chest Infection Symptoms
The main symptoms are: a sinus infection, chest tightness, a cough that is persistent, coughing phlegm, a high temperature, chest pain, an increased heartbeat. While these symptoms can go away usually, but if your chest infection doesn’t get any better, you should not waste any time and consult a doctor, because serious cases of chest infection can cause even death in some cases. On the other hand, the cases where it’s not severe, you can treat it at home.
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How Long Does a Chest Infection Last?
The worst of the chest infection symptoms will generally last from seven to ten days. Chest colds, often referred to as acute bronchitis, goes away and gets better on its own. 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 remained 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, both 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 compile 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 the mucus from pooling in your chest by elevating your head. 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.