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Chest infection

Treatment & care for chest infection

These common & often very unpleasant infections are usually caused by bronchitis or pneumonia, & affect the lungs & airways.
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A chest infection may develop slowly, or more quickly, & can be mild or severe. Pneumonia is more frequently contracted during seasonal shifts (autumn to winter & winter to spring). Bronchitis is more common in children, the elderly, those who have environmental allergies, & smokers.
The symptoms of a chest infection vary depending on age, severity of the infection, & the overall health of the patient. General symptoms include headache, drowsiness, excessive sweating without exertion, decrease or absence of appetite, sore muscles & joints, & fatigue.
The main symptoms are:

Causes

Chest infections are viral or bacterial, caused by the bronchitis virus, or the pneumonia bacteria. They can often develop after a cold or influenza virus if the infection travels deeper into the body, & in some cases they can become serious.
You can catch a chest infection the same way you catch a cold or ’flu – by breathing in or touching droplets from the coughs & sneezes of a person who has the infection. Chest infections are more common in babies & young children, pregnant women, obese & significantly overweight people, the elderly, & those who smoke.
Some chronic health conditions also make a person more susceptible to chest infection, including asthma, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, & COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Chemotherapy treatment & immunocompromised patients are also at risk.

Symptoms

Persistent cough with thick phlegm (yellow or green)
Coughing up blood (this is a serious symptom)
Shortness of breath or wheezing
Difficulty breathing
Chest tightness & pain
Fever
Raised heartbeat
Confusion or disorientation
Chest infections should always be treated by a medical doctor. Many of them are mild, but they can develop quickly & become more serious. In some cases they are life-threatening.

What to do next?

If you have the symptoms of a chest infection or are feeling at all unwell, please ensure that you come to see us & get a professional medical opinion & care, including any referrals to specialists that may be appropriate. Give us a call or use our online booking system to make your appointment.

020 7323 1023
Harley Street Area, W1
020 7101 0355
City of London, EC3