The non-medical term "chest cold" often refers to acute bronchitis that may last a few days or a week. Chronic bronchitis may last from three months to two years. Both are inflammations of the bronchi and respiratory airways that exhibit symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing. The exact nature and severity of a chest cold depends on the type of infection, although many infections share similar symptoms and treatments.
Common symptoms of a chest cold include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Other side effects include mild headaches, low-grade fevers, watery eyes, fatigue and chest pain.
Chest-cold symptoms are the direct result of viral and bacterial infections. These can stem from common colds, influenza and even air pollutants, typically resulting in respiratory trouble. Respiratory complications result in inflamed airways and an increased production of mucus. Mucus used as a natural defense against harmful bacteria and viruses builds up within the airways leading to the lungs and interferes with breathing.
For chest colds caused by bacteria, prescription antibiotics can kill and prevent the spread of infections across the lungs and chest. For complications not caused by bacteria, plenty of rest and over-the-counter medication can aid your body’s natural healing process. Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day. Seek medical help, if antibiotics fail to lessen chest-cold symptoms.
Numerous alternative medicines may improve chest-cold symptoms and decrease your chance of contracting an infection. These usually come in the form of herbal drops, essential oils or pills that boost the body’s immune system. Herbs and extracts used in alternative medicine include sambucus black elderberry and supplements high in antioxidants. It should be noted, however, that alternative and holistic remedies are not replacements for conventional medication and should not be considered cures. Do not solely rely on alternative medicine to fight or eliminate chest colds.
Wash your hands often, especially after eating, to decrease the spread of germs. Stay updated with current immunizations recommended by medical professionals. Do not smoke and avoid air pollutants like secondhand smoke as much as possible.
See a doctor or health care provider if you have a fever that peaks over 104 degrees or if you have a pre-existing lung complication. Carefully monitor your chest cold and seek medical attention if symptoms continue to worsen or are accompanied by acute pain.