What Is a Lung Infection?

The human respiratory system, showing the trachea, bronchioles, and lungs.
The lung infection known as tuberculosis is often detected during a chest X-ray.
Tuberculosis, a lung infection, can be diagnosed by a skin test.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jae Jones
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A lung infection is inflammation around the lungs that is caused by a virus, fungi or bacteria infection. Asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis are the common causes of a lung infection. Antibiotics usually are prescribed to treat the inflammation around the lungs. Most antibiotics do not work against viruses but are used to treat the symptoms associated with the infection.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder that obstructs the airway. The lung infection affects both children and adults. The condition is caused by bronchial edema, an increase in mucus and constriction of the bronchi.

Signs and symptoms of asthma include tightness in the chest, wheezing, coughing and dyspnea. Triggers to asthma are mold, mildew, seasonal pollen and certain food. Some conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and allergic rhinitis also contribute to asthma attacks. The lung infection is treated with inhaled inflammatory agents such as bronchodilators and glucocorticoids.

Bronchitis is a lung tissue inflammation that is caused by a virus or bacteria. The lung infection is brought on by inflammation of the air passages. The infection occurs when the windpipe and the bronchi in the lungs become infected and swollen. The incubating period for the infection is four days after a cold or influenza. Bronchitis is often seen in both adults and children.

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Pneumonia is an acute inflammation of the lungs, and it is sometimes referred to as an acute respiratory tract infection of the alveoli. The infection is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and staphylococci. Pneumonia ranges from mild to severe and sometimes can be life-threatening. Antibiotics are used to treat the lung infection, but there are some strains that are resistant to certain antibiotics. The infection is seen most often in elderly patients.

Tuberculosis is a serious pulmonary infection that is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. The lungs usually are the main organ affected, but the infection can spread. The early stages of the condition usually do not produce symptoms. The infection is usually detected during a chest X-ray or tuberculosis test.

Symptoms of progressive tuberculosis include coughing, night sweats, back pain and weight loss. There are several drugs that have to be given to people who have the infection. Most medications taken are effective against the infection.

Lung problems can be dangerous, and some are contagious. It is important for people to avoid other individuals who are sick with these types of infections. If it is necessary to be around them, one should take health precautions, such as washing one's hands often and avoiding direct contact with the sick individual. Hand sanitizer should be kept handy for places that do not have easy access for hand washing.

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Discuss this Article

Talentryto
Post 2
This is true, Rundocuri. Many people wait to see a doctor in hopes of getting better. They often also try over the counter medications that do little to help lung infection symptoms.
Rundocuri
Post 1

Lung infections make you feel miserable, and need to be treated as soon as you get a diagnosis for your symptoms. Waiting it out to see if you get better can result in the infection leading to serious complication.

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