Chest Cold is one of the most common health conditions. Read on to know the causes, symptoms, diagnosis of the condition and also learn what to do for a chest cold.
What is Chest Cold?
Chest Cold refers to congestion of chest due to cold. It is actually a contagious disease that is known by the name “Acute Bronchitis”.
Chest Cold Symptoms
Some of the main symptoms of Chest Cold congestion include
Wet Cough – Bronchial infection and inflammation causes a wet cough that involves yellow or white colored phlegm. It is one of the main symptoms of a chest cold.
Fever – Bronchial infection is usually associated with high body temperatures. Fever gives rise to chills and aches in the body of sufferers. It is also accompanied by cold feeling in chest.
Respiratory Difficulties – Affected people often suffer from shortness of breath due to chest cold.
Some other signs of this disorder are wheezing, inflammation of the tongue and a general weakness in the body.
What Causes Chest Cold?
Chest Cold usually starts off as a normal case of cold. The condition affects the chest when mucus and phlegm drains into the lungs. Some of the main Chest Cold causes are
- Viral Infection
- Bacterial Infection
- Exposure to smoke or pollutants in air
- Mild Fever
Infection usually begins in the lungs during the end of conditions like flu. In case of a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, microbes quickly spread to the lungs. This causes a bronchial infection and leads to swelling of the bronchi as well as the bronchioles, the tiny hollow passages inside the lungs through which air is transported while breathing.
Chest Cold Diagnosis
The initial diagnosis of Chest Cold is generally done on the basis of physical examination. If viral or bacterial infection is suspected, a blood test may be carried out. If Pneumonia is believed to be the cause, a Chest X-Ray may be carried out. A sample of the phlegm may be analyzed for bacterial or viral presence. In some cases, a sterile swab is passed very slowly through the nostril to collect secretions from the Nasopharynx. Lung Function Tests may also be performed. In some patients, sensors are attached to the toe or fingertips of patients to check the level of oxygen in blood.
If you are suffering from chest cold, the doctor will ask you about your medical history. You will also be asked whether you recently had conditions like pneumonia or flu or if you have been exposed to fumes, dust, air pollutants or vapor.
Chest Cold Treatment
The treatment for Chest Cold depends on the underlying cause. Short term Chest Cold cure aims at reducing the symptoms and providing relief to patients.
Chest Cold medications include :
Antibiotics – In infants, individuals suffering from chronic disorders and older people antibiotics may be administered in an intravenous way. This is effective in curing mild to severe disorders.
Oxygen Therapy – People suffering from shortness of breath may be provided with oxygen through masks or nasal prongs. This ensures that the essential organs like the brain and the heart receives enough oxygen for proper functioning. The instruments used for providing oxygen vary depending on the seriousness of the condition.
Suctions – Suctions may be used if the chest of a patient has been severely congested with phlegm. Mucus is sucked out from the chest and removed to clear the air passages. This is commonly done in infants and older adults.
Bronchodilators – Bronchodilators are medicines that help loosen and expand the bronchial passages and improve the airways into the lungs. These are put in air inhalers and breathed in to open the lower air passages in the lungs.
Ventilation – Mechanical ventilation and breathing tube may be used in severe cases of breathing difficulties caused by respiratory failure, hypoxia, shock or pneumonia.
Cool Mist Vaporizer – Cool Mist Vaporizer provides artificial air to the lungs and provides fast relief from chest congestion by taking out mucus from the lungs.
Chest Cold Home Remedies
For patients of Chest Cold home remedies include the following :
Increasing Intake of Fluids – People with chest cold may suffer from dehydration. Increasing fluid intake is necessary for such people. It is necessary to drink lots of water every day. This will also help thin out the mucus and remove it completely with time. It is best to drink fluids rich in Vitamin C. This can be done by having juice of fruits rich in Vitamin C, such as Cranberry, Tomato, Orange and Grapefruit. Vitamin C boosts the natural immunity of the body and helps it recover itself quickly.
Drinking Warm Tea – Warm tea, especially those made with herbs like Chamomile and Peppermint help loosen the mucus that obstructs the air passages. This provides relief from chest congestion.
Inhaling Vapors – Heating a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil and taking in the steam can reduce chest colds.
Massaging the Chest - Patients of congestion can massage their chest with vapor balm or essential oils to provide relief from coldness in chest.
How to Get Rid Of A Chest Cold Fast?
Certain natural remedies are extremely useful in curing the disorder. These include :
Thyme – Add two tablespoons of fresh thyme into a small-sized cup containing boiling water. Boil the mixture under cover for four to five minutes. Drink the mixture while it is still quite warm. This promotes expectoration of the phlegm and helps slacken the lungs. It is one of the best natural chest cold remedies.
Saltwater Gargle – Dissolve half teaspoon of salt in a glass containing 8 ounces of warm water. Combine the mixture well and gargle with it. Saltwater gargle helps provide relief from scratchy and sore throat during chest congestion.
Echinacea Tea – Pour a few drops of Echinacea tincture into warm tea. Add a few drops of honey to sweeten the drink. Drink this at least two times every day. Echinacea enhances the natural healing powers of the body and helps cure chest cold very fast.
Ginger – Ginger is a rich source of enzymes that is widely regarded as a chest cold remedy. It combats cold virus and also provide relief from irritation and inflammation of the throat. You can boil a piece of ginger in a pot filled with water and add tea leaves to prepare ginger tea. Consuming this will provide a soothing sensation to the throat.
Chest Cold Prevention
Chest congestion can be prevented by following these ways.
Healthy Diet – A diet comprising of healthy foods including Vitamin C, multivitamins, flax seeds, almonds and seafood (rich in Omega-3) can boost the immunity and help the body fight back against cold virus infection.
Water – Drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water on a regular basis can keep the system clean by flushing out the toxins.
Wash Hands – It is very important to wash your hands frequently during winter months. You should avoid touching your face with unclean hands as this may spread flu virus infection throughout the body. It is also necessary to wash your hands after taking care of a family member who is suffering from flu. You may also contract the disorder while touching your face with hands infected by body fluids of the person.
Avoid Smoking – Excessive smoking can damage and eventually destroy the hair-like projections known as cilia. Cilia can be found in the bronchial tubes. These hair-like projections trap and remove germs and pollutants out of the lungs. Absence of cilia makes people susceptible to continuous mucus production from unrestricted entry of impurities. It is necessary to avoid smoking due to this reason.
Chest Cold Recovery
With proper treatment, chest congestion goes away in a week. However, complete recovery from exhaustion can take some more days for patients.
If you are suffering from Chest Cold symptoms, try home remedies for a day or two. You should seek medical attention in the absence of any improvement. It is also necessary to get immediate medical cure in case of infants and older members of your family.
Written by Shoummojit
on June 17th, 2011. The article was last updated on August 30th, 2011