- by Specialist Hospital
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- Nov 13 2017
Symptoms of a Lung Infection
Not everyone who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has an active lung infection. But, people with COPD are predisposed to lung infections. And having a lung infection when you are diagnosed with COPD can be quite serious.
If your lung infection may be bacterial in nature, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, which can help improve your symptoms. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for three to seven days for bacterial lung infections in COPD. Be sure to take the entire course of antibiotics until they are completely gone. Do not stop taking them if you feel better. Stopping antibiotics too early can lead to antibiotic resistance.
The following signs and symptoms of lung infection should alert you to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Normal body temperature varies from person to person, but in general, it is 98.6 degrees. Having a fever - meaning a temperature higher than this - is one sign that you may have a lung infection.
Increased Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is one of the hallmark symptoms of COPD. However, if it begins to worsen, this could be a sign that you are developing a lung infection and need to contact your doctor.
While a chronic cough is a common symptom of COPD, a cough that gets worse and becomes more productive may be a sign that a lung infection is brewing and medical attention is needed. A productive cough is one that brings up mucus, also known as sputum or phlegm.
Many patients complain about having an increased amount of mucus when they have COPD. When a lung infection is present, however, mucus production not only increases in amount, but it also generally gets thicker and stickier and changes in color. It can also have a foul odor to it.
Pleuritic Chest Pain
Pleuritic chest pain is not cardiac in nature, meaning it is not a result of a heart condition. Chest pain associated with infection of the lungs is sometimes described as a sharp, aching pain that gets worse when breathing deeply or coughing. It may feel like pressure, or tightness, inside the chest wall. However, any type of chest pain is abnormal and needs to be addressed immediately with a health care professional.
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