The viral infection may go away in the affected individual but the congestion in the chest that it causes leads to the production of mucous which provides a breeding ground for bacterial infections. Avoid lying flat when sleeping. For example, bronchitis is often caused by a virus, whereas most cases of pneumonia are bacterial in origin. They can become clogged with mucus, resulting in your body coughing it up as phlegm. We treat all types of infections including upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, colds and viruses, urinary tract infections, eye infections, common allergies, and vaginal yeast infections. This is often observed in common cold which causes an overload of the fluid in the sinuses. Bacterial infections may not present with a fever, or if they do, it’s much later, after other symptoms have presented first. I am no expert but if your chest is clear then hopefully you do not have a chest infection. When you cough up phlegm, it's called sputum. From what I know, viral chest infections are typically bronchitis and you are absolutely correct that antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Your lower respiratory tract includes your windpipe, bronchi, and lungs. If you have a severe bacterial chest infection, you may need to be treated with IV antibiotics in a hospital. It is often thought that bacterial chest infections are more severe. There is a build-up of pus and fluid (mucus), and the airways become swollen, making it difficult for you to breathe. That's the easy part. The cause of your sore throat isn’t always obvious, but they are usually caused by an infection which can be either viral or bacterial. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. It is important to know whether bacteria or viruses cause an infection, because the treatments differ. In a cohort of 310 patients with viral or non-viral community-acquired pneumonia viral pneumonia was associated with: Rhinorrhea, multivariate (OR 3.52; 95% CI, 1.58-7.87) Higher lymphocyte fraction in the white blood cells, Dispose of any used tissues properly. Avoid smoking, or being around secondhand smoke or other irritants. Doing so actually furthers the drug resistant antibiotic health crisis. Pathology. You may be at an increased risk for a chest infection if you: In some cases, a chest infection, such as acute bronchitis, will go away on its own and you won’t have to see a doctor. Pneumonia is usually due to bacterial infection. Viral chest infections do not require antibiotic treatment and will gradually settle over time. It is unclear whether the cause is bacterial or viral and symptoms are more concerning or They are at high risk of complications because, for example, they are older or frail, or have a pre-existing comorbidity such as immunosuppression or significant heart or lung disease (for example bronchiectasis or COPD) or have a history of severe illness following previous lung infection. Chest infections can develop following an infection such as. Upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and throat. Differentiating viral and bacterial pneumonia. SmartDocMD is an online doctor service that is available to patients like you. A viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. Bronchitis is a common infection, especially during the winter months. Many mild chest infections will resolve on their own in about a week’s time. Stay away from cough suppression medicines. Chest tightness and the presence of a fever are signs that a bacterial infection may be present. We include products we think are useful for our readers. Most bronchitis cases are caused by viruses, whereas most pneumonia cases are due to bacteria. Bacterial vs viral infection As the names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections, and viruses cause viral infections. They can range from mild to severe. Upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and throat. Reduce the amount of alcohol that you consume. If your sputum is green, yellow, or another color, it's likely a sign of illness. Try these tips: Most chest infection symptoms typically go away within 7 to 10 days, although a cough can last up to three weeks. All rights reserved. Additionally, coming into contact with a surface that’s contaminated with the virus or bacteria, and then touching your mouth or face can also spread the infection. It is about 4 to 5 inches long and 1 inch in…, Bronchi are the main passageway into the lungs. You can speak to a doctor swiftly online using our platform. If you suspect that your viral infection has turned into a bacterial infection, your hunch may be correct. If you suspect that you have a chronic infection you should mention these concerns to a doctor. Take OTC medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to lower your fever and help relieve any aches and pains. There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but osteoarthritis medications can help you manage the condition. They can range from mild to severe. Viral germs are spread easily from one person to another when infected people cough, sneeze, touch their nose, or rub their eyes, and distribute tiny droplets of the virus to surfaces or the air. Both viral and bacterial infections are spread in similar ways: Coughing and sneezing. Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. These home remedies may help ease the symptoms of your chest infection. Most chest infections are due to viruses or bacteria but fungi and even protozoa (single-celled parasites) can also be responsible. Learn about how to get rid of phlegm, both at home and at the doctor's office. Yellow, Brown, Green, and More: What Does the Color of My Phlegm Mean? Instead, your treatment will focus on easing your symptoms until you begin to get better. And the treatments vary significantly. Severe or complicated chest infections may require treatment in a hospital. Acute bronchitis is most often caused by a viral infection, and pneumonia most often has a bacterial culprit. What are possible complications from a chest infection? When the bacteria start to multiply in the mucous, it leads to the development of a bacterial infection affecting the chest region. A chest infection is an infection that affects your lower large airways (bronchi) and your lungs. 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