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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.

  • Fever
    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.

Rare Symptoms

  • 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.
  • Cyanosis
    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.

Complications

EMPYEMA:

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.

PLEURAL EFFUSION:

An excess of fluid in the pleural space that can make it hard for the lungs to fully expand and breathe deeply.

ABSCESS:

A lung abscess is a rare but serious complication that forms when the body’s immune system attempts to wall off the infection.

SEPSIS:

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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