Health

4 common lower respiratory tract infections


Acute bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchiolitis and tuberculosis are dangerous lower respiratory tract infections in children and the elderly.

Statistics in Vietnam show that a child can have lower respiratory tract infections many times a year.

Prof. TS.BS Ngo Quy Chau, Professional Director, Senior Advisor of the Department of Respiratory Internal Medicine, Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi, said that pneumonia is one of the most common causes of hospitalized patients. hospital and can cause many dangerous complications.

Structure of the lower respiratory tract. Photo: Shutterstock.

Symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection

Lower respiratory tract infections are infections in the lower larynx, in which pneumonia and bronchitis are the two most common. The disease is transmitted through droplets containing bacteria and viruses when an infected person coughs, sneezes or clings to contact surfaces.

The symptoms of lower respiratory tract infections vary depending on the severity of the infection, Professor Chau said. In the case of a mild infection, the symptoms may be similar to those of a common cold, such as: low-grade fever; dry cough; sore throat; headache.

In cases of severe lower respiratory tract infection, the patient may have additional symptoms including: severe cough, cough with phlegm; high fever; fast heart beat; wheezing or trouble breathing; feeling heaviness or pain in the chest. In some cases, the patient may even have respiratory failure or septic shock.

Causes of lower respiratory tract infections

The causative agents of lower respiratory tract infections are usually viruses (such as parainfluenza viruses, influenza A and B viruses…) or bacteria (such as pneumococci) or fungi.

In addition, according to Professor Chau, lower respiratory tract infections often occur in people living in environments with toxic substances such as: cigarette smoke, dust caused by environmental pollution, chemicals…

Tobacco smoke is one of the causes of lower respiratory tract infections.  Photo: Shutterstock.

Tobacco smoke is one of the causes of lower respiratory tract infections. Photo: Shutterstock.

Lower respiratory tract infections are common in the autumn-winter season, appearing after flu or cold episodes.

Professor Chau said that anyone can get a lower respiratory tract infection, but the disease is at higher risk in children and the elderly, especially children under 5 years old and adults over 65 years old.

Besides, people at high risk of lower respiratory tract infections are people who have a habit of smoking; pregnant women; people with chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver and kidney diseases; people with weakened immune systems due to cancer, or have just undergone surgery, chemotherapy.

Common lower respiratory tract infections

According to Professor Chau, the most common lower respiratory tract infection syndromes are acute bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchiolitis and pulmonary tuberculosis.

Acute bronchitis is an infection in the bronchi. This is the most common disease in the acute lower respiratory tract infections, usually benign progress, leaving no sequelae.

Acute bronchitis usually occurs after a cold or flu. Patients have typical symptoms such as fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose, headache, body aches… The cough may increase over time, cough with phlegm or not. In other cases, the patient has difficulty breathing and feels chest pain.

Pneumonia Is a lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, parasites. The disease is more likely to occur in people with other chronic medical conditions. Symptoms of the disease vary depending on the body type and the type of causative agent.

Professor Chau warned, pneumonia if not detected early and treated promptly and properly can lead to dangerous complications, even life-threatening. Therefore, patients need to go to a medical facility immediately for timely examination, diagnosis and treatment when they have symptoms such as high fever over 38.5 degrees Celsius, chills, sweating, prolonged fatigue. unimproved…

Patients should immediately go to a medical facility when they have symptoms of high fever, sweating, prolonged fatigue... Photo: Shutterstock.

Patients should go to a medical facility immediately when they have symptoms of high fever, sweating, prolonged fatigue… Photo: Shutterstock.

Bronchiolitis It is a common lung infection in young children. Statistics in Vietnam show that the disease accounts for about 40-50% of the causes of children hospitalized for treatment at the respiratory department.

Professor Chau noted that the initial symptoms of the disease are similar to those of a common cold, then children may cough, wheeze, and even have trouble breathing. If not treated promptly and properly, children can be at risk of complications such as respiratory dysfunction, acute respiratory failure, pneumothorax, atelectasis, even life-threatening.

Pulmonary TB is a dangerous infectious disease that can spread in the community when an infected person coughs, sneezes or spits up phlegm. TB bacteria enter the body through the respiratory tract and travel to the lungs and other parts of the body and cause tuberculosis there.

Most patients are often subjective because the initial symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis are similar to those of common cough. However, when the disease is prolonged, not treated promptly and properly can cause adverse health effects, even life-threatening.

Thuy Nguyen

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