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Basic Types of Lower Respiratory Tract Infections

Chronic and Acute BronchitisOften lower respiratory tract infections are considered as only pneumonia, but they include other diseases, such as acute and chronic bronchitis, pleurisy and others. These health conditions are characterized by such symptoms as overall weakness, fatigue, fever, difficulty breathing, etc. Most doctors prescribe antibiotics to their patients who have these infections, but such diseases as acute bronchitis commonly revolve on their own over time.

Chronic and Acute Bronchitis

Bronchitis can be either chronic or acute, and it’s the inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes that carry the necessary air to and from lungs. Patients who have this lower respiratory tract infection tend to cough up thickened mucus. This disease often develops from other respiratory infections, and its acute type is quite widespread, while the chronic one is a more serious health condition because it’s an ongoing inflammation or irritation of the lining of bronchial tubes. The good news is that acute bronchitis often improved within several days, and it has no lasting negative effects. However, if patients have repeated bouts, they are suspected to have chronic bronchitis that requires close medical attention.

There are certain symptoms that characterize both acute and chronic bronchitis, including:

  • Coughing and fatigue;
  • Chest discomfort and shortness of breath;
  • Slight chills and fever;
  • Production of mucus that has white, clear, green and yellow colors.

For patients diagnosed with acute bronchitis, you may have nagging coughing that lasts for a few weeks, even when inflammation is gone. This condition is often caused by harmful viruses, and this means that it can’t be treated by antibiotics. When it comes to chronic bronchitis, it’s all about productive coughing that lasts for a few months with frequent bouts. Smoking is one of the most common causes of this disease in addition to toxic gases and air pollution.

Important Information about Pneumonia

lower respiratory tract infectionBasically, it’s a lower respiratory tract infection characterized by the inflammation of air sacs in 1 or 2 lungs. They can be filled with fluids and pus, thus, causing coughing, chills, fever and trouble breathing. This medical condition can be caused by different microorganisms, such as fungi, viruses and bacteria, and it’s classified based on the type of germ that causes it and where people got this lower respiratory tract infection. Pneumonia can range in its severity from mild to severe or even life-threatening while minors and seniors are in the risk group.

The symptoms of pneumonia may vary from mild to serious, but everything depends on specific factors, including the type of germs, patients’ age and their overall health. For example, the most common signs include the following:

  • Fatigue and cough with phlegm;
  • Chest pain when coughing or breathing;
  • Sweating, fever, and shaking chills;
  • Mental changes and confusion;
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting;
  • Low body temperature;
  • Shortness of breath.

What Patients Should Know about Pleurisy and Empyema

Pleurisy is a medical condition where the pleura (the membrane that consists of layers of tissues lining the inner side of chest cavities and lungs) become inflamed. Sometimes, it’s called pleuritis, and it results in sharp chest pain that may worsen when patients breathe. There are different pre-existing conditions that are responsible for its development, and its effective treatment involves eliminating underlying conditions and pain control.

Some of the most common symptoms experienced by patients with pleurisy include:

  • Coughing and fever in some cases;
  • Shortness of breath as they’re trying to minimizing breathing in and out;
  • Chest pain the often worsens when coughing, sneezing and breathing.

Commonly, pain caused by this disease affects people’s back and shoulders and fluid may build up in small spaces between the layers of tissues, and this condition is called pleural effusion. When there is a lot of fluid, pleuritic pain disappears or reduces as the layers of pleura don’t contact, but it may create a lot of pressure, thus, compressing patients’ lungs to the point when they are completely or partially collapsed. This is what makes their breathing difficult and may lead to coughing.

Sometimes, this extra fluid becomes infected, and this medical condition is called empyema, which is often accompanied by fever. This disease is caused by the collection of fluid and pus from infected tissues in body cavities. The main function of two thin and large layers of tissues called the pleura is separating lungs from the chest wall. Between them, there is some small space filled with a small amount of fluid, and they act by allowing lungs to expand and contract when people breathe.

Pleurisy happens when the pleura are inflamed and irritated, and patients tend to feel pain when breathing. In conclusion there are different factors that may cause this health condition, including:

  • Viral infections, like influenza;
  • Fungal infections;
  • Bacterial infections, such as pneumonia;
  • Specific medications;
  • Rheumatoid diseases, including arthritis;
  • Lung cancer located near a pleural surface.

ENT Disorders – Complex Conditions that Affect the Whole System

While there is a great number of ear-nose-throat problems, and each of them has its own symptoms and peculiarities, they are similar in a way as they belong to a single group and system. Despite each condition causes its peculiar symptoms, the most common side signs associated with ear, nose or throat infection include:

  • Swollen ear;
  • Hearing disorders and even hearing loss;
  • Full or blocked sensation in the ear;
  • Buzzing sounds;
  • Sneezing;
  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Dizziness;
  • Watery and itchy eyes;
  • Sneezing;
  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Sore throat;
  • Swollen throat or neck;
  • Jaw pain;
  • Cough and others.

Ear-Related Conditions: Infections and Their Symptoms

Ear infections are the most frequently occurring ENT conditions. The infection appears the moment germs become trapped within the inner ear. Usually, Eustachian tube helps to keep off unwanted germs. However, if the tube is clogged, too small or swollen, bacteria cannot be released; they enter the ear, leading to infection. The main symptoms of ear infections include:

  • Coordination loss;
  • Hearing problems;
  • Fever;
  • Pressure or pain in the ears;
  • Vomiting and nausea;
  • Upper respiratory infections and others.

The reasons of ear infections are numerous, though the main cause is the Eustachian tube blockage. The condition can be activated by:

Nose Disorders with Their Consequences

Sinusitis (nose infections) appears when the nasal cavities get inflamed and swollen. The condition is commonly caused by a virus and can aggravate after the upper respiratory signs are gone. Bacteria and fungus can also serve reasons for nasal infection. Additionally, sinusitis can be activated by nasal polyps, allergies, deviated septum and tooth infections. Among the most common sinusitis symptoms are:

  • Pain;
  • Congestion;
  • Sinus discharge;
  • Cough;
  • Headache;
  • Sore throat and others.

Having a fever is the first proof that you need to see your healthcare provider and start the treatment course. Besides, call your doctor if the infection lasts for several weeks and reappears after the treatment.

Ear-nose-throat infections

Symptoms of Severe Throat Complications

Strep throat and sleep apnea are the most serious and complicated throat disorders. Strep throat (caused by streptococci bacteria) appears when the throat and the around structures get infected with streptococci. While other conditions can have similar symptoms, you need to do a strep test before the treatment. Among the main strep symptoms are:

  • Swallowing disorders;
  • Fever;
  • Fatigue;
  • Enlarged tonsils;
  • Skin rashes;
  • Sore throat, etc.

Sleep apnea is another dangerous condition that is caused by the throat infection. The issue means a patient stops breathing at night. The most peculiar symptoms of the condition include daytime drowsiness, frequent mood changes, depression, irritability and others.

Universal Treatments of ENT Disorders

The first thing necessary for successful ENT infections treatment is the doctor’s consultation. Inform your doctor about all the symptoms you have and other health complications you are bothered with. Mention the pharmaceuticals you are using to avoid possible interactions. ENT infections can be treated in multiple ways, though the most effective one should be prescribed individually. Antifungal drugs and antibiotics are the most common infection remedies that help kill the bacteria and decrease the devastating symptoms.