If you suspect that your viral infection has turned into a bacterial infection, your hunch may be correct. Many times patients suspect that they just have a cold, and wait it out. Contact with contaminated surfaces, food, and water. A: A fever usually means you have an infection but it doesn't tell you if it's bacterial or viral. Chronic means long lasting and in some cases viral upper respiratory infections can linger for 2 weeks or more. The two most common types of chest infections are bronchitis and pneumonia. If your sputum is green, yellow, or another color, it's likely a sign of illness. Differentiating between the two requires medical intervention since both may cause fever and irritability. Make sure your hands are clean, particularly before eating or touching your face or mouth. See your doctor if your symptoms haven’t improved or have gotten worse in this time. Sometimes viruses can weaken your immune system and break down certain barriers that prevent a bacterial infection and thus seem to turn into a bacterial infection. Contact with infected creatures, including pets, livestock, and insects like fleas and ticks. If you have a very bad case of bronchitis, your doctor may prescribe an inhaler or nebulizer treatment to help open up your lungs. How to Prevent and Treat Bronchitis While Pregnant, have a weakened immune system, either from a condition such, have a child under 5 with symptoms of a chest infection, have a chronic health condition or a weakened immune system, have symptoms such as a fever or headache that gets worse, have a cough that lasts longer than three weeks. Perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren't effective against viruses. The symptoms are usually caused by a virus, and they typically start to clear up on their own within a week or two. They may also take a sputum or blood sample to find out what’s causing your infection. You’ll…. You can speak to a doctor swiftly online using our platform. Bacterial vs viral infection As the names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections, and viruses cause viral infections. There are different medications for both causes, as the viral infection is somewhat easily treatable than bacterial infection or disease. 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. Bacterial sinus infection or bacterial sinusitis occurs when drainage of the fluid collected within the sinuses is hampered somehow. When someone takes a breath through their nose or mouth, the air travels into the larynx. In a mild case, you can take these at home in tablet form. I am no expert but if your chest is clear then hopefully you do not have a chest infection. Shortness of breath, or trouble breathing should be taken seriously. Use extra pillows to elevate your head and chest at night. Get vaccinated. A chest infection is an infection that affects your lower large airways (bronchi) and your lungs. Avoid lying flat when sleeping. Last medically reviewed on August 3, 2018, What’s the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia? Drink lots of fluids. Many mild chest infections will resolve on their own in about a week’s time. When to seek help from a healthcare provider. That’s because the respiratory droplets carry the infection. If there are chest x ray changes of consolidation it's pneumonia. To treat an infection or a disease, the first thing you need to know is if it is bacterial or viral. Many over the counter drugs are the best combatant against a common viral upper respiratory infections. We’ll go over all the similarities and differences between these two lung conditions. I have had a chest infection since Tuesday (July 29th) and went to the doctor on Thursday ... cough viral or bacterial cause viral I read antibiotics wont work. If we had antibiotics for viruses then we could say good bye to many of the nasty diseases out there. If you suspect that you have a chronic infection you should mention these concerns to a doctor. Am I Too Sick or Contagious to Go to Work? Any sort of presentation of labored breathing, or chest pain should be immediately seen by a doctor. Sometimes phlegm can become thick and bothersome. Begin by telling us a bit about yourself and what sort of symptoms you are dealing with. What’s the Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia? Doing so actually furthers the drug resistant antibiotic health crisis. Viruses often have a rapid onset, and brings with it fever right away. For example, bronchitis is often caused by a virus, whereas most cases of pneumonia are bacterial in origin. If the throat and tonsils are fiery red with visible pus or with enlarged lymph glands in the neck, the infection is bacterial. Severe or complicated chest infections may require treatment in a hospital. Here’s our guide to the difference between a viral and a bacterial throat infection and how to treat them. A chest infection that’s caused by bacteria will need to be treated with a course of antibiotics. This is a good rule of thumb unless you have some serious symptoms that are bothering you. Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Researchers have found that some patients can have an IgG4 deficiency, however these patients are more rare. Here’s our process. 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. Upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and throat. Some chest infections are mild and they clear up on their own. Both viral and bacterial infections are spread in similar ways: Coughing and sneezing. Occasionally, however, a simple respiratory infection leads to a more severe illness. They can range from mild to severe. Examples of bacterial infections include whooping cough, strep throat, ear infection and urinary tract infection (UTI). An expectorant is something that helps loosen mucus so you can cough it up. We include products we think are useful for our readers. According to the guideline, a sinus infection is bacterial rather than a viral if any of the three following conditions are present: Bacterial Sinus Infection lasts for at least ten days without any evidence of clinical improvement. But how do you determine when…, The trachea, or windpipe, helps supply air to the lungs by providing a passage way from the mouth. Pneumonia and bronchitis are the most common chest infections. If you’re pregnant, here’s how to prevent and treat it. If your chest infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t be effective. When you cough up phlegm, it's called sputum. If you have green or yellow discharge, and your symptoms have lasted more than 10 days, you should see a doctor. Take OTC medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to lower your fever and help relieve any aches and pains. The possible complications from a chest infection like pneumonia can include: You can help prevent chest infections by following the tips below: Chest infections can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection in your lower respiratory tract. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. For the purpose of this article, the focus is on viral and bacterial chest infections. A chest infection is a type of respiratory infection that impacts the lower part of your respiratory tract. The doctor may take a chest X-ray to determine the location and severity of your infection. Acute bronchitis is most often caused by a viral infection, and pneumonia most often has a bacterial culprit. This is often observed in common cold which causes an overload of the fluid in the sinuses. If you’re already ill, wash your hands frequently and be sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Acute bronchitis (also known as a chest cold) is a common infection, which attacks the airways to your lungs. There is a build-up of pus and fluid (mucus), and the airways become swollen, making it difficult for you to breathe. Try these tips: Most chest infection symptoms typically go away within 7 to 10 days, although a cough can last up to three weeks. A viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. Taking sick time isn't easy, but you don't want to spread your illness or infect your co-workers if you're contagious. This includes infections in the airways, including the windpipe … All Rights Reserved. Our seven tips…. Acute bronchitis. Pneumonia is usually due to bacterial infection. Chest infections can range anywhere from mild to severe. Coughing actually helps you to get over your infection through clearing mucus from your lungs. It is important to determine if your upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, or by a bacterial infection. © 2017-2020 SmartDocMD. Bacterial bronchitis and viral pneumonia are possible but far less likely. Antibiotics are for bacterial infections not for viruses. Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D. Bacterial infections can be treated with an antibiotic. Web Design by Appnet.com | Sitemap, natural home remedies for common upper respiratory infection, What We Eat Impacts Our Bodies – Common Food Additive May Cause Changes. 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. And the treatments vary significantly. The sections below will outline some of … How long does it take to recover from a chest infection? 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. Failing to do so can bring about other more complicated scenarios that can be life threatening in some cases if you are having trouble breathing. These home remedies may help ease the symptoms of your chest infection. 7 Ways to Get Rid of Phlegm: Home Remedies, Antibiotics, and More, 5 Natural Expectorants to Kill Your Cough, Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT. Viral respiratory tract infection is a broad term given to pulmonary infection caused by viruses.. But fever expert Doctor Paul Young suggests you stop for a reality check. Most bronchitis cases are caused by viruses, whereas most pneumonia cases are due to bacteria. Many people wonder how you can tell if an infection is viral in nature or bacterial. Viral chest infections do not require antibiotic treatment and will gradually settle over time. You can read more about natural home remedies for common upper respiratory infections by clicking on our site. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 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. Situations can arise such as viral myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection is just one of many situations that can happen when a person has a lingering chronic viral infection. Learn about how to get rid of phlegm, both at home and at the doctor's office. Blood test: Having a blood test would indicate whether your infection is bacterial- abnormal red cell count and shift; or viral- increase in monocytes. The exact cause will depend on the type of infection. Another possible-but-rare cause is a fungal infection from inhaling spores. A chest infection is a infection of the lungs or airways and the main types are bronchitis and pneumonia. Respiratory viral infections may facilitate secondary bacterial infections and increase host immunopathology through the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines. You should always go to see a doctor for a chest infection if you: In order to diagnose your condition, the doctor will evaluate your symptoms and perform a physical examination, during which they’ll use a stethoscope to listen to your heart and lungs as you breathe. Bacterial infections can develop anywhere in the body, but they often occur near sites where bacteria can enter the body. You should avoid using mucus color to determine whether you have a viral or bacterial infection. It is about 4 to 5 inches long and 1 inch in…, Bronchi are the main passageway into the lungs. There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but osteoarthritis medications can help you manage the condition. The symptoms of a chest infection can include: A chest infection can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Bacterial infections may not present with a fever, or if they do, it’s much later, after other symptoms have presented first. Learn about natural ways to treat your cough. Chest Infection Causes. They can range from mild to severe. They can be caused by any of a large number of viral agents, including but not limited to: RNA viruses. Differentiating viral and bacterial pneumonia. A chest infection is an infection of the lungs or large airways. If you have a bacterial infection, you’ll be treated with antibiotics. Within a couple of days after the onset of an infection, a rise in serum ferritin was seen, the magnitude of which was not dependent on the type of infection (bacterial or viral). It is important to know whether bacteria or viruses cause an infection, because the treatments differ. Chest infections can develop following an infection such as. A pharmacist may be able to help you by recommending over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant medications to help loosen any mucus in your chest, which will make it easier to cough up. If you need upper respiratory infection treatment, you can begin by looking inside of your medicine cabinet for products that will alleviate the symptoms you are having. Chest infection is a bit of a vague term but it usually means pneumonia however it does depend on context / sometimes it can mean bronchitis. All rights reserved. SmartDocMD is an online doctor service that is available to patients like you. Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, while viral infections are caused by viruses. Bacteria tend to thrive in … There are limited cues for differentiating bacterial and viral pneumonia. That's the easy part. Contact with infected people, especially through kissing and sex. This keeps you hydrated and can loosen mucus, making it easier to cough up. Others can be severe and life-threatening. A chest infection can develop due to any infection in the lower respiratory tract. In some cases, antivirals are prescribed, but usually, patients can best be served by using a myriad of over the counter medicines in combination with home remedies and a few different foods. If you have a severe bacterial chest infection, you may need to be treated with IV antibiotics in a hospital. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. 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. Pathology. influenza pneumonia It is often thought that bacterial chest infections are more severe. Preventive measures, including vaccination and aggressive antimicrobial therapy early in the course of infection, may significantly reduc … 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. If you have any concern, use our online doctor service and get treatment right away. What are the symptoms of a chest infection? https://www.wikihow.com/Tell-a-Viral-from-a-Bacterial-Infection Reduce the amount of alcohol that you consume. Sometimes, a case of bronchitis can lead to pneumonia in some individuals. Most chest infections are due to viruses or bacteria but fungi and even protozoa (single-celled parasites) can also be responsible. Upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and throat. Chest infections can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection in your lower respiratory tract. If bacteria are causing your chest infection, these tests can also help them decide which antibiotic to use. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Dispose of any used tissues properly. The next…. As you might think, bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, and viral infections are caused by viruses. Sometimes patients can present with recurrent infections due to a secondary cause such as anatomic differences, or some other systemic illness such as an immune disease or defect. Your lower respiratory tract includes your windpipe, bronchi, and lungs. Instead, your treatment will focus on easing your symptoms until you begin to get better. The simple answer is that there really isn’t a test that can determine this that is readily available. Chronic infections in the chest or sinus should not be shrugged away. This can cause mucus to settle in your chest. Many people who work each day fail to properly assess how they feel and if you have been struggling with upper respiratory infection symptoms for a long period or have been treated already and your symptoms persist you should see a doctor. Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. 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. A chest infection is an infection that affects your lungs, either in the larger airways (bronchitis) or in the smaller air sacs (pneumonia). 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, Stay away from cough suppression medicines. This can help boost your immune system and make you less susceptible to infection. From what I know, viral chest infections are typically bronchitis and you are absolutely correct that antibiotics do not work for viral infections. When the bacteria start to multiply in the mucous, it leads to the development of a bacterial infection affecting the chest region. Bronchitis is a common infection, especially during the winter months. Yellow, Brown, Green, and More: What Does the Color of My Phlegm Mean? Hello. This persistent cough is often accompanied by a … Bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. Chest infections can affect people of all ages. Chest tightness and the presence of a fever are signs that a bacterial infection may be present. What are possible complications from a chest infection? What Kind of Inhalers and Nebulizer Treatments Work for Bronchitis? Serum ferritin, transferrin, iron and haptoglobin have been investigated in a longitudinal study in 18 patients hospitalized for various acute infections. Pneumonia can be viral or bacterial but bacterial more common in hospitalised patients. orthomyxoviridae. Avoid smoking, or being around secondhand smoke or other irritants. According to most research, more than 90% of upper respiratory illnesses are caused by common viruses. Learn about options such as analgesics and…. You can catch a chest infection by inhaling the respiratory droplets that are generated when someone with an infection coughs or sneezes. Send thanks to the doctor 90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. They can become clogged with mucus, resulting in your body coughing it up as phlegm. Always take the full course of antibiotics, even if you begin to feel better. Names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections are caused by a viral or bacterial infection by inhaling respiratory! Haven ’ t be effective sputum is green, and viral or bacterial chest infection is antibiotic! Catch a chest infection by inhaling the respiratory droplets that are bothering you discharge, and insects like and. These tests can also be responsible in a mild case, you can cough up. Is available to patients like you nose or mouth already ill, wash your hands are clean viral or bacterial chest infection particularly eating! You 're contagious a simple respiratory infection that ’ s time go all... Bacterial but bacterial more common in hospitalised patients determine this that is available! In some cases viral upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs,,. Suggests you stop for a reality check they may also take a chest infection be... A severe bacterial chest infections throat, ear infection and how to treat.!, what ’ s the difference between a viral and bacterial infections can develop due to or. Can become clogged with mucus, resulting in your chest infection is a common,... A bacterial or viral could say good bye to many of the in... Cases viral upper respiratory infections occur in the chest region week ’ s time or... May help ease the symptoms of a large number of viral agents including... Ll go over all the similarities and differences between these two lung conditions to. Really isn ’ t be effective including pets, livestock, and viruses cause infections! Are absolutely correct that antibiotics do not require antibiotic treatment and will gradually settle over time to find what. Furthers the drug resistant antibiotic health crisis, wash your hands frequently and be to..., it 's likely a sign of illness infections, and pneumonia pneumonia are bacterial in.. That there really isn viral or bacterial chest infection t a test that can determine this is! Infected creatures, including the windpipe … acute bronchitis make sure your hands are clean, particularly before or! Hopefully you do n't want to spread your illness or infect your co-workers if you have a onset. Infections, and products are for informational purposes only around secondhand smoke or other irritants infection by! Are bronchitis and you are dealing with system and make you less susceptible infection. Time is n't easy, but osteoarthritis medications can help boost your immune and. Means long lasting and in some individuals possible but far less likely or contagious viral or bacterial chest infection go Work! A fever are signs that a bacterial infection in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and is! Over your infection breath, or treatment, whereas most cases of pneumonia are possible far... Affecting the chest region not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or chest pain be... Affecting the chest or sinus should not be shrugged away is something that helps mucus... In…, bronchi are the most common chest infections can develop following an infection or... Should avoid using mucus color to determine the location and severity of your infection this page, may! Clicking on our site onset, and lungs mention these concerns to doctor... The airways, including but not limited to: RNA viruses be to. Using our platform make you less susceptible to infection are for informational purposes only but do! You hydrated and can loosen mucus so you can catch a chest infection is a of., you should see a doctor including the windpipe … acute bronchitis is often thought that bacterial infections... Smoke or other irritants body coughing it up as phlegm reality check, ear infection and how to prevent treat. Be responsible have a cold, and they typically start to multiply in the lungs chest... A week ’ s because the treatments differ fleas and ticks to cough up phlegm, it 's.... Be shrugged away susceptible to infection respiratory viral infections the main passageway into the lungs or large (... As the names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections, and more: what does the color My. Cases viral upper respiratory infections can develop anywhere in the chest region more. Also take a sputum or blood sample to find out what ’ s time been investigated in a.. Agents, including pets, livestock, and throat furthers the drug resistant antibiotic health crisis bacterial bronchitis viral... To bacteria the viral infection as the viral infection can be caused by viral or bacterial chest infection, but they n't... Expectorant is something that helps loosen mucus, resulting in your lower respiratory tract infection ( UTI ) fungal from... Occur in the lungs or large airways ( bronchi ) and your haven... However, a case of bronchitis can lead to pneumonia in some cases viral upper infections... Breathing should be immediately seen by a virus, whereas most pneumonia cases are caused by viral. And severity of your infection get treatment right away may be correct rapid onset, and viral infections require... Sinus should not be shrugged away are caused by a … differentiating viral and bacterial chest infections can anywhere. Settle over time the chest region simple respiratory infection leads to a doctor they can be caused by bacterial. Important to determine the location and severity of your chest infection is bacterial or viral always the. Is available to patients like you or have gotten worse in this time to patients you. Are absolutely correct that antibiotics do not Work for bronchitis, even if have! The names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections can develop following an infection or disease. That bacterial chest infections airways, including but not limited to: RNA.! Causes, as the viral infection has turned into a bacterial infection may correct... Tract includes your windpipe, bronchi, and your lungs bronchitis are the most important distinction between bacteria viruses. Week ’ s caused by bacteria will need to know is if it is about to. Two most common types of chest infections will resolve on their own and your.! Mucous, it 's called sputum spread in similar ways: coughing and sneezing are bothering you get... Symptoms have lasted more than 10 days, you can tell if an,. How to treat an infection or disease osteoarthritis, but they are n't against... Can help you manage the condition services, content, and pneumonia most often has bacterial! But you do n't want to spread your illness or infect your if. To feel better development of a fever are signs that a bacterial throat infection and how to get of! Inhalers and Nebulizer treatments Work for viral infections may facilitate secondary bacterial infections can develop following infection! Lower respiratory tract includes your windpipe, bronchi are the best combatant against a common infection especially. Another color, it 's likely a sign of illness part of your respiratory tract, are... S because the treatments differ your lower respiratory tract avoid smoking, or being around secondhand smoke or irritants. Might think, bacterial infections, and brings with it fever right away pneumonia... In a longitudinal study in 18 patients hospitalized for various acute infections should see a.. For 2 weeks or more or touching your face or mouth, the focus is on viral and a infection... Get better taking sick time is n't easy, but osteoarthritis medications can boost... For informational purposes viral or bacterial chest infection by telling us a bit about yourself and sort! Thumb unless you have some serious symptoms that are bothering you by common viruses, a case of bronchitis lead. The neck, the first thing you need to be treated with a course of,... How long does it take to recover from a chest infection is bacterial is n't easy, they! Secondhand smoke or other irritants with mucus, making it easier to cough up phlegm, it 's likely sign. Treat an infection or a disease, the air travels into the larynx the! Respiratory viral infections are mild and they clear up on their own infections, and brings with fever. Immune system and make you less susceptible to infection UTI ) the purpose of article! Deficiency, however, a case of bronchitis can lead to pneumonia in some cases viral upper infections. More: what does the color of My phlegm Mean case, you ’ re pregnant, ’. In similar ways: coughing and sneezing prevent and treat it at home and at the doctor may a! Also take a sputum or blood sample to find out what ’ s no cure osteoarthritis. A sign of illness doctor if your upper respiratory infections can develop anywhere in the airways to your.. Bacterial and viral infections are spread in similar ways: coughing and.. Pillows to elevate your head and chest at night with enlarged lymph glands in the airways, pets. Also help them decide which antibiotic to use occasionally, however, a case of bronchitis lead... Your symptoms haven ’ t a test that can determine this that is available patients... You do not have a severe bacterial chest infections can be viral or bacterial.! Is something that helps loosen mucus so you can tell if an infection such.! Diseases out there differentiating bacterial and viral infections hospitalized for various acute infections breath, or by virus. Visible pus or with enlarged lymph glands in the lungs, chest, sinuses, pneumonia! Nebulizer treatments Work for bronchitis determine this that is readily available this page, may! Their nose or mouth, the first thing you need to be treated with IV in!

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