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, and 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, the severity of the infection, and the overall health of the patient. General symptoms include headache, drowsiness, excessive sweating without exertion, decrease or absence of appetite, sore muscles & joints, & fatigue.

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.

Main 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.

Most chest infections 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 3553 1798
City of London, EC3V