Chest Cold – What it is
Chest cold is a term that is generally used for Acute Bronchitis, a contagious disease of the lower respiratory tract. It is mainly caused due to viral infection like influenza which causes the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs to get inflamed.
This condition is quite common and it occurs in any season of the year, although there are more cases which occur in winter. Although a chest cold can affect all kinds of people, the most susceptible ones include young children, infants and old people.
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Chest Cold – The Symptoms
The severity of symptoms caused due to chest cold can vary depending on age, medical history and general health. Generally, those with chronic illnesses suffer from more severe symptoms.
The most common symptoms of chest cold are
- Chest pain
- Tightness of the chest while coughing
- Chest congestion
- Wet cough with yellow or white phlegm
- Breathlessness and exertion
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Life – Threatening Symptoms
Although chest cold is a mild condition in most of the cases, there are certain cases where serious complications can occur with life-threatening symptoms like
- Consciousness level changes
- High fever
- Rapid pulse
- Severe breathlessness
If such symptoms are seen, immediate medical treatment is essential.
Chest Cold – Causes
Chest colds can be caused by any of the following factors
- Viral infection like influenza- this is the most common cause
- Air pollutants
- Bacterial infection- very rarely
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Factors that increase susceptibility to chest cold
- chronic lung or heart diseases like COPD, lung cancer, asthma
- exposure to air pollutants like smoke and lung irritants
Chest cold risk reduction
The following steps can be taken to avoid the chance of catching a cold
- Prevent contact with an infected person
- Reduce exposure to lung irritants and air pollutants
- Strictly sticking to the treatment plans in case of chronic illnesses
Possible Complications Resulting from Chest Cold
In a serious case, chest cold can lead to complications, some of which are as follows
- Lung abscess
- Respiratory arrest or respiratory failure
- Pleural effusion
Chest Cold Treatment
There is particular medication that can cure chest cold. However, the treatment of chest cold refers to using intervention that can help in reducing symptoms as much as possible and to avoid the chances of development of any kind of complications.
General Medical Treatment
Chest cold treatment generally includes the following
In case of bacterial infection, antibiotics can be helpful in reducing symptoms. In case of severe infection, intravenous antibiotics administration can become necessary.
These can help in relieving symptoms like breathlessness. They help in opening up the airways by relaxing the bronchioles thereby aiding in easy breathing. A device known as an inhaler can be used for this purpose.
In severe cases of breathlessness, airway intubation with mechanical ventilation and breathing tube can become necessary. This becomes necessary in the event of occurrence of respiratory failure, hypoxia, shock, pneumonia, etc.
A mask or nasal prongs can be used to relieve breathlessness and to make sure that the important organs of the body aren’t deprived of oxygen. The devices used to deliver oxygen and the delivery concentration can be varied according to how severe the patient’s condition is.
If there is too much phlegm clogging the sinuses, medical suction to get rid of it can be helpful in providing relief from chest congestion.
Home Remedies for Chest Cold
In most cases, where the condition is only mild, home treatment is effective in helping the improvement of symptoms. Some of these include
Increasing fluid intake
Chest cold causes the body of the infected person to get dehydrated and in order to avoid any severity, the fluid intake should be increased. Drinking plenty of water can be helpful thinning out the mucus and phlegm so as to get rid of it quickly. Also, juices with Vitamin C can be very helpful as they increase the body’s immunity, thereby aiding in speedy recovery.
Steam inhalation is one of the best home remedies for chest cold as the steam helps in opening up the clogged sinuses caused due to cold, thereby making breathing easier. A few drops of eucalyptus oil and peppermint added to the steaming water can increase the effect.
Drinking Hot Tea
Hot tea made with herbs such as peppermint and chamomile is a great home remedy for chest cold as it helps in loosening the mucus that clog the airways thereby instantly alleviating chest congestion.
Vapor balm massage of the chest can be helpful in relieving chest congestion in patients.
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