Lung infections, often referred to as lower respiratory tract infections, most commonly consist of tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis and other bacterial or viral infections. The team at Riverview Cardiac Surgery becomes involved to support the diagnostic side of identifying the particular infection. In rare cases where surgical intervention is necessary, our team has the experience to support an operative solution.
The symptoms you may experience are directly related to the specific type of lung infection taking place. For instance, an individual with bronchitis may have a mild fever, a general feeling of tiredness and a change in the amount, color, and consistency of mucus. An individual suffering form pneumonia on the other hand may experience chills, shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat or chest pain often exacerbated by coughing.
Common symptoms include:
Viral lung infections are often spread between individuals by coughing, sneezing, or through touch of an infected area or host. Bacterial lung infections, while less common, are often the aftermath of a viral illness such as a cold or the flu. Smoking increases the chances of acquiring a bacterial or viral lung infection. Good hygiene habits are essential in preventing the spread of lung infections.
In the instance that a lung infection is suspected, the doctor will perform a respiratory exam where they will check the patient’s breathing and for fluid and inflammation in the lungs. Furthermore, they may choose to test the level of oxygen entering the lungs and may take a sample of material from the lungs in a procedure known as a biopsy to determine the type of virus causing the infection.
Medication is the most common form of treatment for lung infections. The majority of medications can be purchased without a prescription; however, in the case of a severe infection special medication and antibiotics may be necessary. A large amount of rest and a high intake of fluids is recommneded as well. Surgery may be required if severe complications arise; however, this is uncommon.