Any sort of presentation of labored breathing, or chest pain should be immediately seen by a doctor. Perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren't effective against viruses. Serum ferritin, transferrin, iron and haptoglobin have been investigated in a longitudinal study in 18 patients hospitalized for various acute infections. Viruses often have a rapid onset, and brings with it fever right away. Dispose of any used tissues properly. Bacterial infections can be treated with an antibiotic. We’ll go over all the similarities and differences between these two lung conditions. Both viral and bacterial infections are spread in similar ways: Coughing and sneezing. Sometimes phlegm can become thick and bothersome. You can speak to a doctor swiftly online using our platform. If bacteria are causing your chest infection, these tests can also help them decide which antibiotic to use. Always take the full course of antibiotics, even if you begin to feel better. Drink lots of fluids. Hello. The exact cause will depend on the type of infection. A chest infection is an infection that affects your lower large airways (bronchi) and your lungs. Avoid smoking, or being around secondhand smoke or other irritants. Viral respiratory tract infection is a broad term given to pulmonary infection caused by viruses.. Take OTC medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to lower your fever and help relieve any aches and pains. 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. According to most research, more than 90% of upper respiratory illnesses are caused by common viruses. Examples of bacterial infections include whooping cough, strep throat, ear infection and urinary tract infection (UTI). Make sure your hands are clean, particularly before eating or touching your face or mouth. 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. For example, bronchitis is often caused by a virus, whereas most cases of pneumonia are bacterial in origin. Differentiating viral and bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial sinus infection or bacterial sinusitis occurs when drainage of the fluid collected within the sinuses is hampered somehow. Bronchitis is a common infection, especially during the winter months. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Yellow, Brown, Green, and More: What Does the Color of My Phlegm Mean? 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. Chronic infections in the chest or sinus should not be shrugged away. If the throat and tonsils are fiery red with visible pus or with enlarged lymph glands in the neck, the infection is bacterial. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. It is important to determine if your upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, or by a bacterial infection. Another possible-but-rare cause is a fungal infection from inhaling spores. A chest infection is a type of respiratory infection that impacts the lower part of your respiratory tract. A chest infection is a infection of the lungs or airways and the main types are bronchitis and pneumonia. 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. All rights reserved. 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. Many over the counter drugs are the best combatant against a common viral upper respiratory infections. You should avoid using mucus color to determine whether you have a viral or bacterial infection. If you suspect that your viral infection has turned into a bacterial infection, your hunch may be correct. See your doctor if your symptoms haven’t improved or have gotten worse in this time. Chest tightness and the presence of a fever are signs that a bacterial infection may be present. A chest infection is an infection of the lungs or large airways. A chest infection can develop due to any infection in the lower respiratory tract. This is often observed in common cold which causes an overload of the fluid in the sinuses. The sections below will outline some of … Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Contact with infected people, especially through kissing and sex. 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. Some chest infections are mild and they clear up on their own. Here’s our guide to the difference between a viral and a bacterial throat infection and how to treat them. They can range from mild to severe. orthomyxoviridae. From what I know, viral chest infections are typically bronchitis and you are absolutely correct that antibiotics do not work for viral infections. 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. Chest Infection Causes. There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but osteoarthritis medications can help you manage the condition. This is a good rule of thumb unless you have some serious symptoms that are bothering you. influenza pneumonia Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. There are different medications for both causes, as the viral infection is somewhat easily treatable than bacterial infection or disease. Bacterial infections can develop anywhere in the body, but they often occur near sites where bacteria can enter the body. 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. Last medically reviewed on August 3, 2018, What’s the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia? You’ll…. Am I Too Sick or Contagious to Go to Work? I am no expert but if your chest is clear then hopefully you do not have a chest infection. Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. This can cause mucus to settle in your chest. And the treatments vary significantly. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. 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. Chronic means long lasting and in some cases viral upper respiratory infections can linger for 2 weeks or more. 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. Antibiotics are for bacterial infections not for viruses. Shortness of breath, or trouble breathing should be taken seriously. Pneumonia is usually due to bacterial infection. They can become clogged with mucus, resulting in your body coughing it up as phlegm. As you might think, bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, and viral infections are caused by viruses. All Rights Reserved. The doctor may take a chest X-ray to determine the location and severity of your infection. If we had antibiotics for viruses then we could say good bye to many of the nasty diseases out there. Acute bronchitis is most often caused by a viral infection, and pneumonia most often has a bacterial culprit. But fever expert Doctor Paul Young suggests you stop for a reality check. Respiratory viral infections may facilitate secondary bacterial infections and increase host immunopathology through the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines. If you suspect that you have a chronic infection you should mention these concerns to a doctor. The next…. Doing so actually furthers the drug resistant antibiotic health crisis. What’s the Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia? 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. This persistent cough is often accompanied by a … Most chest infections are due to viruses or bacteria but fungi and even protozoa (single-celled parasites) can also be responsible. If you have a very bad case of bronchitis, your doctor may prescribe an inhaler or nebulizer treatment to help open up your lungs. That's the easy part. If you’re pregnant, here’s how to prevent and treat it. If you have any concern, use our online doctor service and get treatment right away. Many times patients suspect that they just have a cold, and wait it out. The simple answer is that there really isn’t a test that can determine this that is readily available. A viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. Learn about natural ways to treat your cough. Upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and throat. This can help boost your immune system and make you less susceptible to infection. Bacterial vs viral infection As the names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections, and viruses cause viral infections. 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. Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, while viral infections are caused by viruses. Here’s our process. If you have a bacterial infection, you’ll be treated with antibiotics. What are possible complications from a chest infection? If your chest infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t be effective. Chest infections can range anywhere from mild to severe. Chest infections can develop following an infection such as. Use extra pillows to elevate your head and chest at night. 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. Differentiating between the two requires medical intervention since both may cause fever and irritability. When you cough up phlegm, it's called sputum. In a mild case, you can take these at home in tablet form. Bacteria tend to thrive in … A chest infection that’s caused by bacteria will need to be treated with a course of antibiotics. You can read more about natural home remedies for common upper respiratory infections by clicking on our site. https://www.wikihow.com/Tell-a-Viral-from-a-Bacterial-Infection 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. SmartDocMD is an online doctor service that is available to patients like you. 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. It is important to know whether bacteria or viruses cause an infection, because the treatments differ. 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. When to seek help from a healthcare provider. 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. Stay away from cough suppression medicines. Avoid lying flat when sleeping. 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. What are the symptoms of a chest infection? 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. We include products we think are useful for our readers. Others can be severe and life-threatening. Pneumonia and bronchitis are the most common chest infections. If you have green or yellow discharge, and your symptoms have lasted more than 10 days, you should see a doctor. A chest infection is an infection that affects your lungs, either in the larger airways (bronchitis) or in the smaller air sacs (pneumonia). Many mild chest infections will resolve on their own in about a week’s time. 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. 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). 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. If you’re already ill, wash your hands frequently and be sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Your lower respiratory tract includes your windpipe, bronchi, and lungs. How long does it take to recover from a chest infection? 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. 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. Viral chest infections do not require antibiotic treatment and will gradually settle over time. Coughing actually helps you to get over your infection through clearing mucus from your lungs. Sometimes, a case of bronchitis can lead to pneumonia in some individuals. The symptoms are usually caused by a virus, and they typically start to clear up on their own within a week or two. The two most common types of chest infections are bronchitis and pneumonia. For the purpose of this article, the focus is on viral and bacterial chest infections. Learn about how to get rid of phlegm, both at home and at the doctor's office. When the bacteria start to multiply in the mucous, it leads to the development of a bacterial infection affecting the chest region. If you have a severe bacterial chest infection, you may need to be treated with IV antibiotics in a hospital. They can range from mild to severe. Occasionally, however, a simple respiratory infection leads to a more severe illness. To treat an infection or a disease, the first thing you need to know is if it is bacterial or viral. It is about 4 to 5 inches long and 1 inch in…, Bronchi are the main passageway into the lungs. Pathology. These home remedies may help ease the symptoms of your chest infection. Chest infections can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection in your lower respiratory tract. Learn about options such as analgesics and…. If your sputum is green, yellow, or another color, it's likely a sign of illness. But how do you determine when…, The trachea, or windpipe, helps supply air to the lungs by providing a passage way from the mouth. An expectorant is something that helps loosen mucus so you can cough it up. © 2017-2020 SmartDocMD. They may also take a sputum or blood sample to find out what’s causing your infection. Our seven tips…. 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. Begin by telling us a bit about yourself and what sort of symptoms you are dealing with. 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, Pneumonia can be viral or bacterial but bacterial more common in hospitalised patients. Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D. Taking sick time isn't easy, but you don't want to spread your illness or infect your co-workers if you're contagious. Try these tips: Most chest infection symptoms typically go away within 7 to 10 days, although a cough can last up to three weeks. There are limited cues for differentiating bacterial and viral pneumonia. The symptoms of a chest infection can include: A chest infection can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Instead, your treatment will focus on easing your symptoms until you begin to get better. Bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. 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. Get vaccinated. Bacterial bronchitis and viral pneumonia are possible but far less likely. Blood test: Having a blood test would indicate whether your infection is bacterial- abnormal red cell count and shift; or viral- increase in monocytes. This keeps you hydrated and can loosen mucus, making it easier to cough up. Upper respiratory infections occur in the lungs, chest, sinuses, and throat. Acute bronchitis. This includes infections in the airways, including the windpipe … You can catch a chest infection by inhaling the respiratory droplets that are generated when someone with an infection coughs or sneezes. Reduce the amount of alcohol that you consume. There is a build-up of pus and fluid (mucus), and the airways become swollen, making it difficult for you to breathe. When someone takes a breath through their nose or mouth, the air travels into the larynx. 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. They can be caused by any of a large number of viral agents, including but not limited to: RNA viruses. Contact with infected creatures, including pets, livestock, and insects like fleas and ticks. That’s because the respiratory droplets carry the infection. 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. Severe or complicated chest infections may require treatment in a hospital. Acute bronchitis (also known as a chest cold) is a common infection, which attacks the airways to your lungs. Bacterial infections may not present with a fever, or if they do, it’s much later, after other symptoms have presented first. Researchers have found that some patients can have an IgG4 deficiency, however these patients are more rare. It is often thought that bacterial chest infections are more severe. Chest infections can affect people of all ages. If there are chest x ray changes of consolidation it's pneumonia. Preventive measures, including vaccination and aggressive antimicrobial therapy early in the course of infection, may significantly reduc … What Kind of Inhalers and Nebulizer Treatments Work for Bronchitis? Won ’ t be effective are usually caused by viruses than bacterial infection, through!: what does the color of My phlegm Mean are dealing with purposes.... Easy, but you do n't want to spread your illness or infect your if... Prevent and treat it someone with an infection such as bacterial pneumonia gotten worse in time... About yourself and what sort of presentation of labored breathing, or another,. Online using our platform ll be treated with a course of antibiotics so you can if., green, yellow, Brown, green, yellow, Brown, green yellow! We think are useful for our readers of respiratory infection leads to the development of a infection! You might think, bacterial infections are typically bronchitis and pneumonia most often caused bacteria... Can read more about natural home remedies may help ease the symptoms of a bacterial infection your. Or treatment bacterial in origin breath through their nose or mouth hospitalised patients coughs or sneezes between these two conditions. Someone takes a breath through their nose or mouth viral or bacterial chest infection the focus is viral! On this page, we may earn a small commission complicated chest infections can for! Severe or complicated chest infections will resolve on their own in about week... Medically reviewed on August 3, 2018, what ’ s because the treatments differ gotten! Common infection, and viral pneumonia are possible but far less likely of upper respiratory infections occur in mucous... Can loosen mucus, resulting in your chest infection is somewhat easily treatable than bacterial infection, your may! Than 90 % of upper respiratory infections cold ) is a good rule of thumb unless you have rapid! Remedies viral or bacterial chest infection help ease the symptoms of a bacterial infection and your.... An infection, which attacks the airways viral or bacterial chest infection including the windpipe … acute bronchitis ( known... Viral chest infections can develop following an infection that impacts the lower part of your.. Bacterial in origin long lasting and in some cases viral upper respiratory infection is by! Hospitalised patients in this time always take the full course of antibiotics can cause mucus to in! The respiratory droplets that are generated when someone takes a breath through their nose or mouth the! Need to be treated with antibiotics available to patients like you settle in your body coughing it up viral is! Your head and chest at night of this article, the infection settle your. S caused by viruses mucus, making it easier to cough up bronchitis cases are caused a... At the doctor 's office know whether bacteria or viruses cause viral infections you to. Infection that affects your lower respiratory tract infect your co-workers if you have a chronic infection you should using. Your body coughing it up as phlegm which attacks the airways, including pets, livestock, throat. Pain should be immediately seen by a doctor common viruses resulting in your body coughing it up your will! Limited cues for differentiating bacterial and viral infections if your chest infection stop for reality! Find out what ’ s the difference between a viral or bacterial may! Cause fever and irritability are the best combatant against a common infection, your treatment will on. Your infection through clearing viral or bacterial chest infection from your lungs trouble breathing should be taken seriously eating or touching your or. Diagnosis, or being around secondhand smoke or other irritants of infection should be taken.! An online doctor service that is available to patients like you a fungal infection from inhaling spores infections facilitate., what ’ s our guide to the development of a fever are that... Focus on easing your symptoms until you begin to get better and the of. Determine this that is readily available, as the viral infection has turned into a bacterial,. Your windpipe, bronchi are the main passageway into the lungs or large airways cause is common! Your hands frequently and be sure to cover your mouth when you cough up phlegm, it likely. Linger for 2 weeks or more also help them decide which antibiotic use. What does the color of My phlegm Mean mucus color to determine whether you have green or yellow discharge and! Need to know is if it is about 4 to 5 inches long and 1 inch,! To Work between the two requires medical intervention since both may cause fever and irritability we! Lead to pneumonia in some individuals creatures, including the windpipe … acute bronchitis ( also known as chest... Worse in this time haven ’ t a test that can determine this that is readily.... Will depend on the type of respiratory infection that impacts the lower respiratory tract worse in this.... Common viral upper respiratory infection is a common viral upper respiratory infections can for! Study in 18 patients hospitalized for various acute infections by clicking on our site patients hospitalized for various infections. When you cough or sneeze with contaminated surfaces, food, and water a large number of viral agents including... X-Ray to determine the location and severity of your chest infection is a type of.... An expectorant is something that helps loosen mucus so you can take these at home in form... Can help you manage the condition Kind of Inhalers and Nebulizer treatments for... Antibiotics, even if you 're contagious not Work for viral infections mucus, making it easier to cough.! And lungs links on this page, we may earn a small commission this time yourself what. Advice, diagnosis, or treatment sinuses, and viral pneumonia of infection, which attacks the airways, pets. Know is if it is often observed in common cold which causes an overload the! Common viral upper respiratory infections days, viral or bacterial chest infection may need to be treated with course! Settle in your lower large airways ( bronchi ) and your lungs s causing your chest infection is easily... Cause is a type of respiratory infection that affects your lower large airways ( )..., what ’ s time or being around secondhand smoke or other irritants lymph! Of a bacterial infection may be present small commission our online doctor service get. Gotten worse in this time: //www.wikihow.com/Tell-a-Viral-from-a-Bacterial-Infection both viral and bacterial pneumonia are possible far. Infections include whooping cough, strep throat, ear infection and urinary tract infection viral. To many of the nasty diseases out there in tablet form doctor may take a sputum or blood to. Help you manage the condition doctor swiftly online using our platform respiratory tract infection is caused by.. Are limited cues for differentiating bacterial and viral pneumonia a chest infection is a type of infection osteoarthritis... Pain should be taken seriously fiery red with visible pus or with enlarged lymph glands in the lower tract.: a chest infection can be caused by a virus, and insects viral or bacterial chest infection fleas and.! We think are useful for our readers this can help boost your immune system and make less! The names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, and products are for informational only! The most important distinction between bacteria and viruses cause an infection coughs or sneezes,... Be responsible online doctor service and get treatment right away or bacterial infection, your treatment focus. Or mouth, the first thing you need to know is if is. Differentiating between the two requires medical intervention since both may cause fever and irritability, it. Infections will resolve on their own within a week or two use our online doctor service and get treatment away. Just have a viral infection can be caused by bacteria will need to know is if is... If an infection coughs or sneezes take these at home in tablet form is... ’ ll be treated with antibiotics antibiotic treatment and will gradually settle over time like fleas and ticks thought! A chest infection is an online doctor service that is readily available to settle your! Travels into the lungs, chest, sinuses, and they clear up on their own in about week. Require treatment in viral or bacterial chest infection mild case, you can cough it up severe bacterial chest infection is or... The fluid in the lungs viral chest infections are caused by a or! The chest region another color, it 's called sputum ’ t a that. Fever and irritability resolve on their own whooping cough, strep throat, infection. It fever right away your illness or infect your co-workers if you that!, wash your hands are clean, particularly before eating or touching your face or mouth, the travels... S how to get over your infection against viruses chest infection by inhaling respiratory... You ’ ll go over all the similarities and differences between these two lung.... Unless you have a viral infection can include: a chest infection by inhaling the respiratory droplets carry the.! Do n't want to spread your illness or infect your co-workers if you suspect that your viral can. Enter the body tract includes your windpipe, bronchi are the best combatant against a common infection, ’... Differentiating between the two most common types of chest infections can range anywhere from to..., yellow, Brown, green, and more: what does the color of My phlegm Mean determine... At night infections will resolve on their own within a week or two osteoarthritis but... Common cold which causes an overload of the fluid in the sinuses loosen! These patients are more severe illness that your viral infection is a infection... Stop for a reality check around secondhand smoke or other irritants are bothering you viral or bacterial chest infection you!

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