Causes of Inflammation of the Chest Cavity

The chest cavity contains the lungs, the primary organs that filter air and supply oxygen to the blood. Inflammation in the chest cavity is due to an inflammation of the lungs or the bronchial tubes. This condition is related to bronchitis, allergic reactions and pneumonia. Inflammation in the chest cavity is typically treatable, but in rare cases chest inflammation can be life-threatening for older people and for very young children, according to 2. Chest pain could be the sign of another condition and should be evaluated by a physician.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Bronchitis is a viral or bacterial infection in the airways of the lungs called the bronchial tubes. Most cases of bronchitis begin as a cold in the sinuses that spreads into the lungs. The infection causes inflammation in the bronchial tubes, leading to swelling and an over-production of mucus. Symptoms of bronchitis are wheezing, difficulty breathing, fever, body chills, coughing and chest discomfort. Only a doctor can accurately diagnose bronchitis. Bacterial bronchitis is treated with prescribed antibiotics and rest, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Viral bronchitis is treated with rest and over-the-counter medication to alleviate symptoms. Use cough suppressants, expectorants and fever reducers to treat symptoms.


Not all allergies can chest inflammation, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 1. People who suffer from allergic asthma are more prone to develop inflammation in the chest cavity. Allergic asthma is inflammation in the lungs due to exposure to airborne allergens. An allergen is any substance that the immune system has a hypersensitivity to that most people do not. The most common airborne allergens causing allergic asthma are dust, pollen, pet dander and mold spores 1. Someone with allergic asthma will experience shortness of breathe, chest pain and wheezing 1. Treatment for allergic asthma is avoiding allergens, using antihistamine and corticosteroid inhalers 1. Allergy shot therapy is used to treat allergic asthma 1.


Pneumonia is defined by as an infection in the lungs that causes inflammation 2. Pneumonia is typically without concern for most healthy adults, but could become a life-threatening condition in young children or the elderly. Many of the symptoms for pneumonia are similar to bronchitis and needs to be examined by a medical doctor. Pneumonia may cause shaking, extreme chills, fever, chest pain and muscle pain. Bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics and will begin to improve symptoms within 48 hours. Viral pneumonia is typically treated with rest and increased fluid intake.