What You Must Know about Lung Infections
Life Care Diagnostic
January 13, 2021
Lung infections happen when pathogens collect in a person’s air sacs and begin to grow. The air sacs may become filled with pus and fluid, which can make breathing more difficult, cause chest pain, and lead to a cough.
The primary types of lung infection include pneumonia, bronchitis and bronchiolitis. These conditions are typically caused by bacteria and viruses. It’s much rarer for a lung infection to be caused by fungi. Fungal infections are generally more common in people who have weakened immune systems.
Frequent Symptoms – Your First Signs
The following signs and symptoms of lung infection should alert you to contact your doctor right away.
About 38 °C (100.4 F) degrees is called a low-grade fever, and above 39 °C (103 F) degrees is a high-grade fever.
- Increased shortness of breath
In addition to a feeling of breathlessness, rapid breathing (tachypnea) and a rapid heart rate (tachycardia) may also be signs of a lung infection.
- Productive Cough
Coughing up greenish, yellow, or bloody mucous. It can also have a foul odor to it.
- Pleuritic Chest Pain
Chest pain associated with infection of the lungs is often described as a sharp, aching pain on one side that gets worse when breathing deeply (pleuritic chest pain). It may also feel like pressure or tightness inside the chest wall.
Your skin, lips, and nails may take on a slightly bluish cast, a symptom called cyanosis. This is rare yet significant, as it means that you’re not getting enough oxygen in your bloodstream and should seek medical help immediately.
A collection of infected fluid (pus) in the space between the lung and the surrounding membrane (pleural space), an empyema can build up and put pressure on the lungs.
An excess of fluid in the pleural space that can make it hard for the lungs to fully expand and breathe deeply.
A lung abscess is a rare but serious complication that forms when the body’s immune system attempts to wall off the infection.
An untreated abscess could result in the onset of sepsis, a dangerous overactive and toxic immune response.
Diagnosis for Lung Infections
A combination of imaging studies, including chest X-ray and computed tomography (CT scan) may be used to diagnose lung infections. In addition, a sputum examination and blood tests may be required to determine the type of infection.
When to See A Doctor
Lung infections can get worse if left untreated. If you’ve noticed a change in mucus, cough or wheezing that seems worse than usual, see your doctor at once.
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