Chest cold symptoms

See if your cough is a sign of a chest cold

While often originally caused by the same virus, a chest cold is distinguished from a simple common cold in that the infection is focused, of course, in the chest. The term chest cold usually refers to a condition called acute bronchitis, which affects a patient’s respiratory tract and continues down into the lungs. The infection leads to swelling and increased mucus production in the lower respiratory tract, which causes coughing and sensitivity in the chest area.

There is a wide range of symptoms of a chest cold, but this condition is almost guaranteed to bring about coughing in the patient. Bronchitis shows up in two forms: Chronic bronchitis and acute bronchitis. While initial symptoms of these two are similar, their differences lie in their longer-term effects. Chronic bronchitis is, of course, a longer-lasting condition, which often occurs as a result of smoking cigarettes for a prolonged period, or being exposed to secondhand smoke, especially as a child. To be classified as chronic bronchitis, symptoms generally last for a few months per year, for more than two years. Acute bronchitis, on the other hand, normally lasts for no more than a couple of weeks.

The most common symptoms of a chest cold include:

Persistent coughing
The coughing usually produces mucus and may be mild or may be almost uncontrollable. This symptom usually is seen about four days after becoming infected with the illness.
Sore throat
Often the result of constant coughing, a sore throat is a very common symptom of a chest cold and can be relieved with a salt water gargle or hot tea with honey.
Breathing difficulty
Due to inflammation in the lungs and respiratory tract, it is common to see patients with chest colds wheezing heavily or having problems breathing.
A chest cold is not always accompanied by a fever, but it is common for patients to have a mild fever of no higher than 102° F.
Chest pain
This occurs in the upper- to mid-chest area and is usually described as unusual pressure or soreness.
As the body attempts to defend itself from the impending infection, it devotes a great deal of energy and attention to immune function and less to other tasks. This means that it’s common for people suffering a chest cold to feel extremely tired or worn out and drained of energy.
A mild headache is often a result of constant coughing.
If any of these symptoms last longer than 14 days, you should contact a medical professional to assess your situation.
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Michelle Spatz, Amanda Maynes

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