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A Chest Cough and Infection

By Diane Marks ; Updated August 14, 2017

A chest cough and infection are considered bronchitis, according to the Merck Manuals. Bronchitis is an infection in the bronchial tubes, or the airways. The infection causes increased mucus production and swelling in the airways, which restricts breathing and causes a consistent cough. A chest cough and infection is caused by a virus or bacteria and could be the result of allergies, asthma or the common cold. Seek medical advice on how to treat a chest cough with an infection properly.

Cause

MedlinePlus states that the most common type of bronchitis is a viral infection that begins in the nasal cavity and spreads into the lungs. The viral infection could lead to a secondary, bacterial infection. A doctor will determine the type of infection and how to treat it. People who smoke or have heart or lung disease are at a higher risk for a chest cough and infection. Young children, infants and the elderly are also at higher risk.

Symptoms

A chest cough and infection will be accompanied by other symptoms, such as wheezing, fatigue, increased mucus secretions, chest discomfort and body chills, according to MayoClinic.com. Wheezing is the result of inflamed airways that produces a high-pitched sound while breathing. Mucus secretions may be coughed up and will appear white, yellow or green in color. The chest feels tight and can develop minor pain. Body chills are the result of the body’s temperature rising to fight off the infection. If someone coughs up blood, he should talk with a doctor.

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Treatment

Common treatment for a chest cough and infection are the use of cough suppressants, expectorants and antibiotics, if caused by a bacterial infection, according to the Merck Manuals. MayoClinic.com states that the best treatment for viral bronchitis is to get plenty of rest, drink increased fluids and breathe in moist air. Before using any medication, talk with a doctor.

Complications

Bronchitis can develop into pneumonia, complicating the condition, according to MedlinePlus. A chronic chest cough and infection can lead to one-sided heart failure, emphysema or pulmonary hypertension. If someone coughs up blood, notices the cough continually returns, develops a high fever or feels as if she cannot breathe, she should seek immediate medical attention.

Prevention

A chest cough and infection can be preventing by not smoking, avoiding people who appear to be sick, washing the hands regularly and getting the annual flu vaccine, according to MayoClinic.com. Not all sickness is preventable, but taking precautionary measures can reduce the chances of developing bronchitis.

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