Chest infections: we've all had them
There is a small number of sicknesses we've all have gone through, often more than once. We all know how a cold or a fever makes you feel. These are caused by very common infections, and they often heal by themselves in a matter of days. They rarely cause complications, especially if we don't have risk factors, and a pill and some rest usually do the job.
Most chest infections fall under this category. Chest infections happen when tiny creatures like viruses and germs get inside our respiratory system, causing some symptoms. The body fights back with its resources, tying to kill the microorganisms inside of it and clean itself; fever serves the first purpose, and coughing and muccus the second.
Most chest infections happen as a consequence of a flu or cold. The same microorganisms or viruses that affect our throat, nose and mouth can travel deeper into our respiratory system and get to our chest. Altough chest infections have more severe symptoms than a flu, they are often very mild and get better by themselves. However, every once in a while, viruses or bacteria can get to the lung tissue and cause a more severe infection called pneumonia, that might require hospitalization and even intensive care.
Types and symptoms
Chest infections are classified according to which part of our respiratory system is affected. When only the airways have viruses or bacteria they're called bronchitis. This infection is mild and often heals by itself. When the lung tissue is infected, it's called pneumonia and there is a higher risk of complications. However, not all cases of pneumonia require special medical assistance.
Symptoms for both pneumonia and bronchitis are very similar. They include fever, headaches and other flu-like manifestations; chesty coughing, chest pain and/or breathing difficulties, like coughing when tring to take a deep breath. These symptoms are more severe in the case of pneumonia.
When the condition gets worse, you could get shortness of breath, coughing blood or dark muccus. If any of these symptoms happen, or the ones above get more severe, you should see a doctor. You will get an X-ray on your chest to check your condition as well as a blood test, phlegm test or throat swab to determine what kind of virus or bacteria is affecting you. You can click on this link to learn more about chest infections.
What's the treatment for chest infections?
The majority of chest infections are caused by viruses. There is no treatment for them, so medication is often not prescribed. However, you can take measures to increase your healing rate and fight back the symptoms. Taking fever medication like ibuprofen or paracetamol will help lower your temperature as well as reduce the pain and discomfort associated with it. You should get plenty of rest and drink abundant water so your body has all it needs to recover and clean itself from the infection. Vapour baths alre also great to help the muccus and phlegm get out of your system, and you can add some mint or eucaliptus to the water in order to make it more effective.
When the infection is caused by bacteria, you can take antibiotics to fight it. The most common antibiotic used to fight bacterial chest infections is Amoxicillin. This is a penicillin-based wide range antibiotic and it helps fight many different bacterial infections, as well as it prevents them from occurring when you are at increased risk - in example, in dental surgery. This antibiotic is very easy to find and you can buy Amoxicillin online without a prescription. However, you must follow the instructions closely, and we advice that you consult a doctor before taking it for the first time.
Amoxicillin will help fight the infection in most cases. However, if the symptoms recur after two weeks or get worse, you might be advised by a doctor to try a different antibiotic. Doxycycline is used where Amoxicillin has failed. In these cases it isn't rare to switch antibiotics, especially if the results of your tests suggest that the kind of bacteria that's making you sick is better fought with different medication.
Some people are allergic to penicillin, so they are also allergic to Amoxicillin. This is why you should consult a doctor before taking it for the first time. If you take Amoxicillin and feel an allergic reaction, like swelling or difficulty to breath, you must stop taking it immediately. There are other options available in these cases, and doctors often prescribe Clarithromycin in penicillin allergic patients. Even if you stopped taking Amoxicillin by yourself, you should consult with a doctor before taking Chlaritromycin.