Chest infection – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications, Prevention & Home remedies –

What is a chest infection?

  • Chest infection is a type of respiratory infection that affects the lower part of the respiratory tract.
  • Bronchitis and pneumonia are the two most common types of chest infections.
  • Chest infections can range from moderate to severe.
  • In the lower part of the respiratory tract of our body are the lungs, windpipe and bronchi.

What are the causes of chest infection?

Chances of spreading chest infection are more in the following conditions –

  • Getting older
  • Smoke
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Weak immune system
  • COPD
  • HIV
  • Being pregnant
  • Organ transplant etc.

Generally, the cause of chest infection depends on its type –

  • One of the two main causes of which is a bacterial or viral infection.
  • For example, most of the causes of the onset of pneumonia are believed to be bacteria. Whereas the main cause of bronchitis is virus.
  • At the same time, the reason for getting infected with chest infection is coming in contact with another infected person.
  • Example – During coughing or sneezing of an infected person, the infection spreads in the air and the place touched by them, due to which the other person comes in contact with him.
  • Apart from this, virus or bacterial infection can spread by coming in contact with such an infected place.

What are the symptoms of chest infection?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Chest discomfort
  • Wheezing
  • Mucus in the chest
  • Respiratory distress
  • Tiredness
  • Yellow or green phlegm

What is the treatment for chest infection?

  • Antibiotics are not effective in cases of chest infections caused by viruses.
  • In such a situation, treatment is given keeping in mind the symptoms.
  • Antibiotics are very effective in cases of bacterial infections.
  • In mild cases you can take the tablet at home.
  • In cases of severe chest infection, it is better to go to the hospital and seek treatment.
  • Whereas a full course of antibiotics medicines should be done.

What are the complications of chest infection?

Sometimes, cases of bronchitis can lead to pneumonia. Whereas complications of chest infection like pneumonia –

  • Filling the lungs 
  • Bacteria in the bloodstream
  • Pus in the lungs

When to seek help from a doctor

In case of chest infection, a doctor should be consulted immediately in the following situations –

  • Pregnancy
  • Chest pain
  • Cough lasting more than three weeks
  • Rapid breathing
  • Confusion
  • Children under the age of 5 who have symptoms of a chest infection
  • Being over 65 years of age
  • Weak immune system
  • Having a chronic health problem
  • Fever Headache that gets worse.

Other condition-

  • In cases of acute bronchitis, the chest infection gets better on its own.
  • You can take some OTC medicines to loosen the phlegm.

by doctor-

  • Physical examination in which the heart and lungs are examined.
  • Chest X-ray to know the severity of the infection.
  • Infection can also be checked by taking a sample of mucus or blood.

How to prevent chest infection?

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Keep your hands, mouth, face clean before and after eating.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol.
  • Sanitize or wash hands regularly after coughing or sneezing when sick.

What are the home remedies for chest infection?

  • You can take steam, it helps in loosening the mucus.
  • Mixing honey and lemon in lukewarm water and drinking it provides relief from excessive cough in the throat.
  • Make sure you take proper rest.
  • Avoid smoking and more.
  • Drink a lot of water and fluids, this helps to prevent dehydration in the body and makes it easier to cough up mucus.
  • Do not sleep directly on your waist at night, but sleep opposite to it.
  • Never take cough suppressants in such conditions. Coughing releases mucus, which helps in clearing the lungs.

(Know benefits of steam room)


The main cause of chest infection is viral or bacterial infection in the lower respiratory tract.

These types of infection can range from mild to severe. Many mild infections get better on their own within a week.

(Excessive use of antibiotics can cause side effects – read to know more)

A course of antibiotics is necessary in cases of bacterial infections. Whereas in severe cases hospitalization is required.

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