Lung infections cause caused problems in different areas of the body, not just the airway. For example, pulmonary embolisms can affect the blood vessels that get pumped into your lungs by your heart. For the sake of this article, we will focus on common lung infections that affect the airways and air sacs. If you are feeling at all sick, visit AFC Urgent Care Lyndhurst for diagnosis and treatment. In emergencies, it is best to visit the emergency room.
What Causes Lung Infections?
Lung infections can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. In other cases, they are either genetic or chronic and can be trigger by certain factors such as allergies or cigarette smoke. It’s important to avoid these triggers to keep lung infections from getting worse or requiring hospitalization.
What are Common Contagious Lung Diseases?
Acute bronchitis is caused by a virus, like the flu or a cold. It causes a persistent “wet” cough that produces mucus. It spreads through respiratory droplets, similar to a typical cold or flu. OTC medications can help with symptoms such as fever or cough syrup. Humidifiers can also help loosen up mucus to help sleep at night.
Pneumonia is primarily caused by a virus or bacteria. Pneumonia causes inflammation in the lungs that affect the air sacs, which then fill with fluid. This causes coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. Pneumonia can be life-threatening for those with low immune systems. Antibiotics can treat bacterial pneumonia, but OTC medications and rest are the only ways to treat viral pneumonia.
COVID is a very infectious illness that can seriously impact different parts of the body, including the lungs. Currently, COVID can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome that allows fluid to build up in the air sacs. This causes the lungs to not fill with enough air, which deprives other organs of getting enough oxygen. ARDS can require patients to need a ventilator, which can be fatal.
What are Common Chronic Lung Diseases?
Asthma causes the airway to become consistently inflamed, which can cause shortness of breath or wheezing and make it difficult for patients to breathe. Patients typically have asthma since birth, but it can also be caused by consistent smoking or inhaling other pollutants.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease obstructs the airway to the lungs. Similar to chronic bronchitis, it is caused by long-term exposure to smoking or other air pollutants. COPD does get worse over time, but it can be treated with medications. It causes shortness of breath, chest tightness, and a cough that produces mucus.
Lung cancer can happen in any part of the lung, but it primarily begins near the air sacs. It can be different for everyone, but mainly it causes a persistent cough, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Lung cancer can be fatal, as it is the leading cause of death in regard to cancers. Smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to asbestos or radon gas, or having a family history of lung cancer can all cause it.