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What is a chest infection and what causes it? Acute bronchitis This is an infection of the large airways in the lungs (bronchi). Acute bronchitis is common and is often due to a viral infection. Infection with a germ (bacterium) is a less common cause. Pneumonia This is a serious infection of the lung. Treatment with medicines called antibiotics is usually needed. How common are chest infections? Chest infections are very common, especially during the autumn and winter. They often occur after a cold or flu. Anyone can get a chest infection but they are more common in: Young children and the elderly. People who smoke. People with long-term chest problems such as asthma. What are the symptoms of a chest infection? The main symptoms are a chesty cough, breathing difficulties and chest pain. You may also have headaches and have a high temperature (fever). The symptoms of an infection of the large airways (bronchi) in the lungs (acute bronchitis) and a serious lung infection (pneumonia) may be similar; however, pneumonia symptoms are usually more severe
Waist circumference a better indicator of health than BMI is a better indicator of increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes or any cause.
Can I prevent a chest infection? There are measures you can take to help prevent chest infection and to stop the spread of it to others. You can pass a chest infection on to others through coughing and sneezing. So if you have a chest infection, it's important to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and to wash your hands regularly. Throw away used tissues immediately. Immunisation against the pneumococcus germ (bacterium) - the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia - and the annual flu (influenza) virus immunisation are advised if you are at increased risk of developing these infections
What about cold and cough remedies? You can buy many other cold and cough remedies at pharmacies. There is very little evidence of any benefit from taking cold and cough remedies. Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines should not be given to children aged under 6. There is no evidence that they work and they can cause side-effects, such as allergic reactions, effects on sleep, or hallucinations. These medicines are available for children aged 6-12 but they are also best avoided in this age group
Lung cancer (cancer of the lung) is common worldwide. Around 8 in 10 cases develop in people over the age of 60 years, usually in smokers. If lung cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, there is a chance of a cure. In general, the more advanced the cancer (the more it has grown and spread), the less chance that treatment will be curative. However, treatment can often slow the progress of the cancer.
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