Chest infection

Chest infections are quite common especially during the autumn and winter season. The infection often occurs after common cold or the flu. Anyone can develop chest infection but more common among the following:

  • Smokers
  • Young children and elderly
  • Individuals with long-term chest issues such as asthma

Indications of chest infection

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chesty cough
  • Chest pain
    Chest infection

    Coughing up blood or phlegm turns dark or rust-colored.

These are the main symptoms of chest infection. It can be accompanied by headaches and fever. The indications of an infection involving the large airways in the lungs and pneumonia might be similar but the symptoms of pneumonia are more severe.

When to consult a doctor?

Infection of the large airways in the lungs eventually settles, thus there is no need to consult a doctor. There are symptoms that necessitates further assessment with a doctor.

  • Fever, wheezing or headache becomes worse or severe
  • Coughing up blood or phlegm turns dark or rust-colored
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Cough lasts longer than 3-4 weeks
  • Recurrent episodes of acute bronchitis
  • Presence of troublesome symptoms


Even though most cases of chest infections are relatively mild and settles on their own, some can be serious, even dangerous. Infection of the large airways in the lungs typically settle on its own within 7-10 days without requiring medications. If a severe infection of the lung is suspected, a doctor should be consulted.

  • Adequate rest
  • Increase the intake of fluids to prevent the body from being dehydrated as well as keep the mucus in the lungs thin and easy to cough up
  • The individual can inhale steam to clear up the mucus from the chest.
  • The individual should avoid lying flat at night time to clear the chest from mucus and allows easy breathing.
  • Provide medications such as ibuprofen, paracetamol or aspirin to lower the body temperature and ease the pain.
  • For those who smoke, cessation is essential.
  • If the throat is sore from coughing, a warm drink that includes lemon and honey can alleviate the discomfort.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on chest infection is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage chest issues by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.


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