Common Chest Cold Symptoms

Chest cold symptoms usually pertain to those manifested by a person afflicted with a contagious disease known as acute bronchitis.  The disease is often caused by a type of viral infection like influenza or an infection in the upper respiratory tract that crawls up to the lungs.  This then causes the hollow air passages in the lungs (bronchi and bronchioles) to inflame.   When the bronchioles and bronchi are infected and inflamed, symptoms of chest cold such as shortness of breath, fever, and wet cough that produces yellow or white phlegm, occur. 

Although they are observed to be most common during winter, chest colds can actually happen at any time during the year.   Infants, younger children, and older adults are most susceptible to the disorder affecting the respiratory system.  People with existing diseases of the lungs, smokers, and those who have prolonged exposure to lung irritants and air pollution are also at high risk of contracting chest cold.

When caused by a viral infection, chest cold is contagious and can spread from one person to another when the sick person talks, sneezes, or coughs.  These actions send contaminated droplets through the air which can then be inhaled by other people.  The risk of spreading or catching the disease can be prevented by avoiding contact with an afflicted person, avoiding exposure to lung irritants and air pollution, and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, not smoking, and frequently washing the hands.

A multi-faceted treatment plan is normally used to treat chest cold, the implementation of which can vary depending on the patient’s medical history.  The more serious cases of chest cold can lead to pneumonia, a life-threatening disease.  It is therefore important that medical attention is sought once chest cold symptoms such as wet cough and fever are observed.  On the other hand, immediate medical care (a 911 case) is necessary if a person exhibits symptoms such as severe breath shortness, bluish coloration of the fingernails or lips, or changes in the level of alertness or consciousness.

Symptoms of chest cold are the result of the inflammation of the bronchi and bronchioles caused by irritation or infection.  The severity of the symptoms will depend on the patient’s medical history, general health, and age.  The symptoms are generally mild for healthy adults.  However, more severe symptoms are seen in people with chronic illnesses like congestive heart failure or COPD.  They are also more severe in very old or very young people. 

Common Symptoms

A lot of people often confuse chest cold symptoms with those of allergies such as chest pains or tightness in the chest when coughing, chills, chest congestion, fatigue, fever, breath shortness especially with physical exertion, and loose and wet cough that comes with thick yellow or white phlegm.

Severe Symptoms

A simple chest cold can sometimes lead to more serious and life-threatening conditions like pneumonia.  People experiencing symptoms for such conditions must immediately seek medical care.  These chest cold symptoms include disorientation or confusion, changes in alertness or consciousness level, lethargy, gurgling throat sounds, labored and rapid breathing, moderate to severe breath shortness, high fever in excess of 101 degrees F, wheezing or a whistling breathing sound, and rapid pulse.

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