Chest Infections

Like many of us recently, I've had to go through the chore of scraping the ice of my windscreen before heading off to work or the supermarket or the gym. It's a cold and horrible task, my fingers are freezing and I make a mental note, (for the umpteenth time) to put the car in the garage overnight. Clearing the frost on the windscreen is a chore, but it's also a sure sign that winter has finally arrived.

 

Winter... the time of year when we start coughing, sniffing and spluttering, and the time of year when the NHS is providing those welcome (and for the frail and elderly, highly necessary) flu vaccinations.

 

Chest infections are rife at this time of the year and they can range from mild symptoms, such as a chesty cough that brings up phlegm (thick mucus), headaches and loss of appetite (I wish!), to more life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty in breathing, chest pains and a high temperature.

 

Chest infections account for a staggering one in five GP visits at this time of year and the two main types of chest infection are:-

  • Bronchitis, which is the most common form of chest infection, but the least serious. Bronchitis effects about 4.5% of the UK population at this time of year. It is a short-term infection of the lining of the air tubes in the lungs (the bronchi) and is usually caused by a virus, such as cold or flu. Most chest infections of this sort clear-up within seven to ten days and don't require any medical treatment, but note that some can linger for weeks (in which case you should speak to your doctor).
  • Pneumonia, which is less common than bronchitis but more serious. Pneumonia affects just over 1% of the UK population each year and is normally caused by bacteria (and in some cases a virus) which causes the tiny air sacs in your lungs (alveoli) to become inflamed and filled with fluid. Mild pneumonia can usually be treated at home, but more vulnerable people such as the old, (the rates of pneumonia are four times higher in the over 65's), the very young and those with serious health conditions, can develop severe pneumonia which will need a course of antibiotics and may need hospitalisation.

It's not commonly known that chest infections are actually contagious, albeit not as contagious as flu, and can be passed on through coughing and sneezing. That's why it is so important to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, to wash your hands regularly and to discard your used tissues immediately.

 

To make sure you don't suffer from a chest infection this year, and especially if you are over 65, you should contact your doctor to get your free flu jab and in some cases you should get the pneumococcal jab which protects against pneumonia and other illnesses.

You can also try Reflexology. Reflexology boosts your immune system and helps you fight the infection before it takes hold. It can also help you to recover more quickly from any infection that might be in your body. And it also helps your body produce its own pain relief, which can ease lung irritation and improve breathing.

 

By stimulating the body's lymphatic system, reflexology helps your body get rid of infection and studies have shown that taking reflexology with antibiotics speeds-up the recover process.

So if you feel a cough, sniffle or sneeze coming on....don't just sit there, take control and fight back!

Interested in finding out more about treatments?

Call me on:

07962 975 124

 

email me at:

catherine@tranquilhaven.co.uk

 

Or use our contact form.

You'll find me at

2 Blackwood Way
Pitreavie Castle
Dunfermline
KY11 8TD

 

For directions click here

Staying informed

You'll find regular articles giving help and advice on how to combat many ailements and how to cobat stress.

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