Chest Cold is also known as Bronchitis and it is a special type of infection that has major impact on lungs and lower large airways of your body, they are also called as Bronchi. Although, Bronchitis and Pneumonia are almost similar kind of infections but the difference is that Bronchitis usually occurs due to viral attack whereas Pneumonia happens because of bacterial infections. The second one is considered to be much serious and patient needs immediate hospital admission in this case.
We never like cold but still we cannot avoid them; the only prevention is to live in a sterile bubble and of course that is not possible for the hyper active human beings. But, the good news is that it is possible to settle them soon with few remedies.
On the other hand, when we talk about cold feeling in chest or Bronchitis then it can range from mild to life threatening one so it becomes essential to opt right treatment on time so that serious complications can be avoided. It is right time to gather some detailed knowledge about chest cold, its causes, symptoms and available treatment options; the article below can help you to collect all useful facts about chest cold.
What is a Chest Cold or Chest Infection?
The respiratory track in human body starts from nose and it goes below to alveoli that are small air spaces inside lungs. The large airways of lungs are well known as Bronchi and these airways in combination with lungs are termed as lower respiratory tract in medical terms.
The chest infection has major impact on this lower respiratory tract and the infection that causes trouble in upper portion including throat and nose is known as Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI). Most of the URTIs happen due to viral infections but the human immune system has power to initiate fight against it and troubles can be easily recovered within few days.
Note that, as URTIs occur due to virus attack not due to bacteria so you may not find antibiotics useful in this case.
Who are commonly targeted by Chest Cold?
Chest cold or Bronchitis is very common disease, especially during winter or autumn season. Chest cold often gets turned into an infection if not treated properly. Here are few details about who can be recognised as top targets of chest cold or infections:
Elderly and young children are often affected by chest cold. People that are more addicted to smoke. Pregnant women are also a common target. It is common for people that are suffering with chest troubles from a long time such as liver disease, kidney issues, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. People that have weak immune system due to few conditions like AIDS, cancers such as leukaemia, myeloma and lymphoma etc.
Some treatments also suppress ability of immune system and then body may suffer chest cold. These treatments include chemotherapy, high dose steroids etc.
Symptoms of a Chest Cold or Bronchitis
A chest cold is often known as Upper Respiratory Tract Infection. It often begins with combination of sneezing, runny/blocked nose and sometimes may cause mild fever. Chest cold is usually accompanied by cough and it can be harsh or dry; in few cases it can sound something like Phlegm.
People may also be suffering with cold chest pain and tiredness but such symptoms are mild in nature and it will rarely affect your routine activity. Although, most of these symptoms can be treated at home but in case of some long term severe issues you may develop serious troubles that demand treatment from medical expert. You might be curious to know that how long does a chest cold last, most commonly chest cold duration is observed to be of two weeks.
There are so many symptoms associated with chest cold like fatigue, breathlessness, headache, sore throat, mild fever and coughing etc. these symptoms often stay up to 2 weeks but cough may even stay longer.
Below are few details about symptoms of chest cold so that you can identify them with ease:
1. Cough: Chest cold symptoms often cause cough and it use to last so long even when all other symptoms get recovered. A wheezing, hoarseness and carking cough may also cause viral infection. Some of the most common cough remedies include anti-tussives that can suppress cough so that mucus in airways can be loosen with ease. It is advised to consume at least two quarts of liquid per day so that a proper fluidity can be maintains in mucus. Some chest cold home remedy can also be useful to control this issue. As per the medical professionals, if you find mucus in yellow color then it is good to see a physician as soon as possible.
2. Fever: When body faces a rise in its normal temperature then this condition is well known as fever; note that this is actually an essential part of body’s mechanism that helps it to fight against infections. A person having fever feels flushed, hot and he sweats more as compared to normal people. In order to control the rise in body temperature, prefer to sponge neck, arms, legs and face with lukewarm water and then let it dry in natural manner. The water evaporation process on your body may help to reduce its temperature. As sweating causes increase in thirst so it is essential to drink more water or fluid as chest cold remedy.
3. Sore throat: Sore throat is a common trouble caused by bacterial or viral infection; it can also happen when upper airways keep on trying to clear mucus. This condition causes inflammation or irritation in the throat area with chest pain cold. As per medical experts, the most appropriate treatment for sore throat is to drink lots of fluids or you can also prefer to suck throat lozenges. In case if pain increases more then you can prefer to take acetaminophen. Pain can also be reduced with the help of chest cold home remedies like throat sprays, gargles and mouthwashes.
4. Headache: chest cold symptoms often lead to headache and may also cause generalized aches in whole body. In case if the headache rises above tolerable level and starts restricting head movements then it is essential to consult doctors as soon as possible.
5. Body aches and Fatigue: Weakness, lack of energy, fatigue and aching body are some of the most common symptoms associated with chest cold. It is believed to get rid from generalized fatigue soon when body becomes able to win the fight against virus. Sufferers can use pain relieving medicines to get rid of body aches. Drink plenty of fluid and take rest so that immune system can win the battle against disease. All these symptoms are believed to affect your body for one or two weeks but if they stay so longer then consult doctors for proper tests and treatments; they may recommend few chest cold medicine.
When to meet a doctor? Generally the symptoms of chest cold gets recovered itself within some time so there is no essential need to meet medical expert. But in case if you are facing symptoms of COPD or asthma then you may need to consider doctor’s advice. These professionals can recommend you to improve your inhaler medication doses and may also prescribe a course of antibiotic with steroid tablets to recover the signs of infection.
A person can soothe symptoms and get rid of bothersome mucus using the following methods:
1. Warm fluids
Staying hydrated thins mucus, making it easier to expel by coughing.
According to a 2008 study, hot beverages provide “immediate and sustained relief” from congestion and accompanying symptoms, such as sneezing, a nagging cough, a sore throat, and chills.
A person can benefit from drinking:
• decaffeinated black or green tea
• herbal teas
• warm water
Keeping the air moist can loosen mucus and reduce congestion and coughing. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend using a cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer.
People with difficulty sleeping may wish to use a humidifier at night. To maximize the effects, keep windows and doors closed.
Humidifiers must be cleaned regularly to remove bacteria and other pathogens that can make symptoms worse and lead to infection.
Other ways to increase moisture in the air include:
• Inhaling steam: Fill a large bowl with hot water. Lean over the bowl and drape a towel over the head to contain the stream. Gently inhale the steam to loosen mucus.
• Having a hot shower or bath: The hot water will fill the room with steam and help to alleviate symptoms.
Breathe in the steam for as long as is comfortable, then drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration.
Gargling with a mixture of salt and warm water can remove phlegm and mucus from the back of the throat and ease symptoms.
Add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Stir until the salt dissolves.
Gargle with the mixture and allow it to sit in the back of the throat momentarily. Repeat several times a day as needed.
Honey is a popular home remedy, and research suggests that it has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
A 2007 study tested the effects of buckwheat honey on upper respiratory tract infections in children. Parents consistently reported that honey provided the best relief from symptoms, compared with standard medication or no treatment.
However, a 2016 review of three studies concluded that honey treats acute coughs in children less effectively than medication.
A person can consume 1 tablespoon of honey every 3 to 4 hours, until the symptoms ease. Honey is not suitable for infants under 12 months of age.
5. Foods and herbs
Foods most commonly used to alleviate coughs, colds, and a buildup of mucus include:
• spices, such as ground cayenne and other types of chili pepper
Some research suggests that the following can help to treat respiratory viruses that may be responsible for excess mucus:
• licorice root
People taking prescription medications should speak with a doctor before trying new supplements.
Home remedies for phlegm and mucus
While many medical treatments are available, a person may prefer to get rid of phlegm and mucus with natural remedies. Learn which are effective here.
6. Essential oils
Some essential oils can ease breathing and loosen mucus in the chest. Some may even stop the growth of bacteria infecting the respiratory tract.
Beneficial essential oils include:
• cinnamon bark
• tea tree
Essential oils can be inhaled directly from the bottle, used in a diffuser, or added to the hot water in a steam inhalation.
Oils can also be applied topically in a homemade vapor rub. Mix a quarter cup of coconut oil with 12 drops of one or more of the essential oils listed above. Apply the mixture to the chest, but never on broken or irritated skin.
If a person is using an essential oil for the first time, they should test for skin irritation. Apply a small amount of oil to a 1-inch patch of skin on the inner arm. If no reaction occurs after 24 hours, the oil can be used more liberally.
Essential oils should not be taken internally.
7. Elevate the head
If an excess of mucus in the chest is disrupting sleep, it may help to elevate the head using extra pillows. Elevation promotes mucus drainage and reduces coughing and discomfort.
8. N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
NAC is a supplement that can be used to thin the mucus in the airways and reduce the frequency and severity of a cough.
After analyzing 13 studies, researchers found that people with chronic bronchitis can benefit from taking 600 milligrams (mg) of NAC daily if no airway obstruction is present. Those with an airway obstruction may need to take up to 1,200 mg daily.
Home remedies often relieve mucus in the chest, but they may not work for everyone. Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription treatments are sometimes required.
Vapor rubs have been found to provide significant relief from coughs and congestion.
Decongestants can reduce mucus in the chest. OTC decongestants are available as a liquid, tablet, or nasal spray. They may interfere with sleep if taken later in the day.
Stronger decongestants are available by prescription.
When there is also congestion in the nose, a nasal decongestant spray may be recommended. These should not be used for more than 3 days at a time, as they cause rebound symptoms.