A chest cold, also called bronchitis, often occurs when an upper respiratory infection such as the common cold spreads to the airways of the lungs. Invasion by Streptococcus pneumonia or Haemophilus influenza may follow and complicate the initial viral infection. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, symptoms of a chest cold may include coughing, a mild fever, sore throat, headache, breathlessness and fatigue. Chest cold or bronchitis symptoms can last up to two weeks, with the cough lasting longer.
Chest cold symptoms may develop into a cough that may last well after other symptoms have subsided. A barking cough, hoarseness or wheezing may develop due to the viral infection. Cough remedies usually contain anti-tussives to suppress the cough or expectorants to loosen mucus in the airways, making it easier to cough up. Try to rest and drink at least two quarts of liquids each day to maintain the fluidity of the mucus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if the cough produces green or yellow mucus, a physician may prescribe antibiotics.
A rise in body temperature, or fever, is part of the body’s mechanism for fighting infection. A feverish person is hot, flushed and sweats more than usual. To reduce the temperature and feel more comfortable, sponge the legs, arms, neck and face with lukewarm water and allow the skin to dry naturally. The evaporation of the water will cool the body. Because sweating increases thirst, drink plenty of fluid.
A sore throat can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, as well as the constant effort to clear the mucus produced in the upper airway. This causes irritation and inflammation of the lining of the throat. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the best treatment for a sore throat is to drink plenty of fluids and suck throat lozenges. If the pain is severe, take acetaminophen. Mouthwashes, gargles or throat sprays may also soothe the pain.
A headache and generalized body aches and pains often accompany a chest cold. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends that a person consult a physician if the headache becomes continuous or worse with head movement–particularly when accompanied by a fever, neck stiffness or sensitivity to light.
Fatigue and Body Aches
Fatigue, lack of energy, weakness and an aching body are symptoms normally associated with a chest cold. Generalized fatigue should subside within a few days as the body wins its battle with the virus. According to the Cleveland Clinic, using a pain reliever should alleviate the body aches. Rest and plenty of fluids help the body’s immune system fight the invading organisms. This and all symptoms should subside in a week or two, although coughing and a runny nose may persist a little longer.