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3 Types of Pulmonary Infections and What to Look For

Your lungs’ primary function is to deliver clean oxygen to your blood. When you have a pulmonary infection, it makes it much harder for the oxygen to reach your bloodstream.

Nearly 65 million people worldwide suffer from chronic pulmonary disease brought on by pulmonary infections. It’s important for you to understand 3 major types of pulmonary infections and what to look for to better protect your health.

1. Asthma

While it may not sound like your typical infection, asthma plays a large role in pulmonary infections because it causes difficulty breathing due to inflammation in the airways. Patients who have asthma are at an even greater risk of complications regarding pulmonary infections because their airways are already restricted.

Asthma Signs and Symptoms to Look for

Chronic dry cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness and/or pain are all common symptoms of asthma. You may also notice a whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling.

How to Treat Asthma

Asthma is typically managed with the use of inhalers. An inhaler will contain two types of medicine to control your asthma symptoms: albuterol to treat your symptoms and a steroid to help prevent worsening of your symptoms.

2. Bronchitis

Your bronchial tubes carry oxygen to and from your lungs, so when they become infected, it creates a pulmonary infection known as bronchitis. Left unchecked, bronchitis can develop into a more serious infection known as pneumonia. Bronchitis is typically brought on by a viral infection, which means antibiotics won’t be of any help.

Bronchitis Signs and Symptoms to Look for

This pulmonary infection causes a cough that produces mucus. Watch for mucus that is either clear, white, yellowish-gray, or green in color. When suffering from bronchitis, you will feel short of breath and may experience some chest discomfort as well as fatigue.

How to Treat Bronchitis

Because antibiotics won’t cure this pulmonary infection, those with bronchitis should focus on implementing soothing remedies to help alleviate your coughing. Getting enough rest is imperative in recovering from bronchitis. Sleep is shown to help boost the immune system, making recovery that much quicker. You’ll also want to increase your fluid intake. A humidifier will help loosen the mucus so it can drain. Keep a vapor or steam humidifier close by and run it at night when you sleep.

If your cough is severe and lasts for more than 3 weeks, your mucus contains blood, or you are experiencing chest pains, it’s important to see your doctor right away.


COPD is a serious pulmonary disease and is the third-highest cause of death in America. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are both categorized as COPD. Emphysema is a lung condition where the air sacs of the lungs become damaged. Chronic bronchitis affects the bronchial tubes themselves.

COPD Signs and Symptoms to Look for

Identifying signs and symptoms for COPD early is important. If you’ve had bronchitis, look for increased shortness of breath, increased mucus, fever, sore throat, and unusual sinus drainage.

How to Treat COPD

There is currently no cure for COPD. However, you can easily manage this pulmonary infection if you properly treat it. Quitting smoking and/or avoiding secondhand smoke is extremely helpful in protecting your lungs from additional issues with COPD. It’s also a good idea to keep your home clean and free of allergens as much as possible.

For more tips on how to avoid COPD, check out this blog post.

There’s a reason we’re so knowledgeable about the prevention and treatment of pulmonary infections. Elmhurst Extended Care Center has our very own Respiratory Therapist on staff. Call or schedule your tour today for the best nursing home facility in Elmhurst.

January 2020 Newsletter

Happy New Year from all of us at Elmhurst Extended Care Center!

January is the month we’re planning our resolutions and goals for the year. Why not make it a resolution to spend more time with your loved one this year? Check out our latest newsletter to see all the fun happening, and come on by to join your loved one in any of our daily activities.