What Are Lower Respiratory Tract Infections?

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What Are Lower Respiratory Tract Infections?

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Lower respiratory tract infections are infections that affect your lungs or airways beneath your larynx. These infections can include conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc.

Healthy people typically recover fully from simple lower respiratory tract infections. However, some can have long-term effects from complications.

Consult a medical provider if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a lower respiratory tract infection. For financial help for filling in prescriptions, enroll in our prescription assistance program today.

Here’s everything to know about lower respiratory tract infections.

What Are Lower Respiratory Tract Infections?

Lower respiratory tract infections occur when the lungs and airways located below the voice box are infected. Viruses usually cause these infections but bacteria and other organisms can also cause LRTIs.

Respiratory tract infections can infect your airways. It can also cause pneumonia by affecting the air sacs.

Symptoms of Lower Respiratory Tract Infections

The symptoms of LRTIs mostly depend upon the severity of the infection.

Symptoms of less severe respiratory tract infections include:

  1. Dry cough
  2. Mild fever
  3. Mild headaches
  4. Runny nose
  5. Stuffed nose

However, symptoms that signify a more severe case of LRTI consist of:

  1. Breathing difficulties
  2. Breathlessness
  3. Blue tint to the skin
  4. Chest pain
  5. Decreased energy
  6. Fever
  7. Loss of appetite
  8. Rapid breathing
  9. Severe cough with phlegm
  10. Tightness in the chest
  11. Wheezing

Diagnosis for Lower Respiratory Tract Infections

Your medical provider will diagnose the condition by discussing how long you’ve had the symptoms. They will also conduct a few tests to understand your condition better.

Your medical provider may ask for some tests, such as:

  1. Chest X-rays to look for pneumonia.
  2. Pulse oximetry
  3. Blood tests to look for bacteria, viruses, and signs of inflammation.
  4. Samples of mucus
  5. Bronchoscopy (if needed)

Treatments for Lower Respiratory Tract Infections

Though not all cases of LRTI need treatment, some less-severe cases can be treated with plenty of rest and over-the-counter medication.

However, this is not true for all cases of lower respiratory tract infections. Your medical provider may prescribe antibiotics or breathing treatments like an inhaler to help you manage the symptoms.

In more severe cases, you might have to get medical aid from breathing support, prescription antibiotics, and IV fluids.


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