Chest Infection and Blocked Nose

  • 1st Revision: Faiza Zahir

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Chest infection is caused in the lower respiratory region of the human body in the lungs, trachea, bronchi-oles, or internal region of the bronchi. The infection can be caused by pathogens or due to bad oral health. Upper airway viral infections are likely to increase bacterial colonisation of the nasopharynx and increase the risk of bacterial respiratory tract infection. If the infection increases, it can lead to several terrifying diseases.

General Symptoms:

  • Difficulty in breathing, and respiring. Chest tightness and discomfort around the chest region
  • The symptoms may also lead to fever and cough. Blocked nose due to the presence of cold and swollen inner muscle lining in the nose

The infection can lead to several chest problems, including chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, sinus infection, chronic rhinosinusitis, nasal polyp, bacterial pneumonia, cough asthma, and many other chronic diseases. Infection related to lung cystic fibrosis may not cause nose blockage but severe damage to the lungs.1

Chronic bronchitis - Chronic bronchitis affects smokers more than nonsmokers. Only long-term chronic bronchitis symptoms predict the risk of coronary disease. Short bouts of coughing with phlegm were a common symptom, indicating bronchial mucus irritation rather than a chronic infection.2

Acute bronchitis - Acute bronchitis is almost always preceded by viral nasopharyngitis. Acute bronchitis is more common in the winter than in the summer. Coughing is almost always present with acute bronchitis. Acute pneumonia differs from acute bronchitis by having a higher fever, more severe dyspnea, and different auscultatory abnormalities.3

Sinus infection - It occurs in the nasal area from where we respire. Engorgement of the mucosa happens during infection as a result of increased blood and lymph flow. The cilia are present internally in the nose. This function can be harmed by mucosal swelling/engorgement.4

Chronic rhinosinusitis - Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a prevalent illness that has a major influence on the adult population's quality of life and health burden(5). CRS can be classified into two broad categories based on the presence or absence of nasal polyps. Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a chronic inflammation of the sinonasal mucosa that is clinically linked with sinus pressure, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, and a diminished sense of smell that lasts more than 12 weeks.6

Nasal polyp - Nasal polyps are quite prevalent, affecting up to 4% of the population. Their cause is unknown, however, they are linked to allergies, asthma, infection, cystic fibrosis, and aspirin sensitivity. Nasal polyps (NP) are benign lesions that develop from the mucosa of the nasal sinuses (often at the outflow tract of one or more sinuses) or the mucosa of the nasal cavity.7

Bacterial pneumonia - pneumonia includes the presence of bacteria. It is a common and possibly fatal infectious disease with significant morbidity and death. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Group A Streptococcus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, anaerobes, and gram-negative organisms are the most common bacteria that cause pneumonia. Pneumonia is split into two categories based on how the infection is contracted. The most prevalent kind is community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Nosocomial pneumonia is a type of nosocomial pneumonia.8

Cough variant asthma - Cough variant asthma (CVA), one of the bronchitis diseases, is distinguished by frequent coughing. Clinical practice shows that approximately 6% of CVA children have a continuous cough until midnight during the onset period, easily misdiagnosed as bronchitis. Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is a common disease that endangers children's health in China.9


Chronic bronchitis is typically diagnosed based on clinical symptoms, respiratory function measurements, radiology, serological, bacteriological, and other laboratory tests. The main emphasis in clinical diagnosis is usually placed on symptoms and respiratory function measurements, whereas radiology and laboratory measurements provide complementary information.2

So far, research into the effects of antibiotics and P-sympathomimetics in acute bronchitis has been hampered by the ambiguity of inclusion criteria for the diagnosis of 'acute bronchitis' and difficulties in detecting pathogenic microorganisms.3 Rhinosinusitis is diagnosed based on sinonasal symptoms and is deemed chronic when they persist for 12 weeks or longer. In nasal polyp infection, computerised tomography provides the assessment of disease severity and is required if surgical treatment is to be considered. Polyposis is treated with a mix of medicinal therapy and surgery.7


Acute bronchitis is usually treated with antibiotics, like placebo tablets.3 Treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis both short and long-term antibiotics are given, topical and systemic steroids, topical and oral decongestants, and oral antihistamines. Surgeries and nasal irrigation are other treatments for rhinosinusitis.5

When to seek medical attention?

A chest infection can grow within any period if not treated on time. One should visit the nearest clinic or the lab to get tested if the infection lasts longer than 2 days or more. The infection may spread outrageously if not treated, the infection can be diagnosed with multiple medical equipment, for example, a chest x-ray to see the growth of the infection. The patient will be prescribed as per his condition.


Chest infection is a common disorder mostly found in children. If not treated it can lead to severe chest infection as discussed above. Chest infection consists of general symptoms like headache, muscle pain, and difficulty breathing. Infection lets the pathogens grow which leads to cold and cough and may block your nose, but sometimes when the infection is in the lung (due to smoking) the nose does not get blocked. The infection needs to be treated as soon as possible before it gets worse. There are various treatment measures and medical equipment to follow up with the chest infection diagnosis. Once the infection is diagnosed the patient is prescribed as per their condition.


  1. Lyczak JB, Cannon CL, Pier GB. Lung infections associated with cystic fibrosis. Clinical microbiology reviews. 2002;15(2):194-222.
  2. Jousilahti P, Vartiainen E, Tuomilehto J, Puska P. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis and the risk of coronary disease. The Lancet. 1996;348(9027):567-72.
  3. Verheij T, Kaptein A, Mulder J. Acute bronchitis: aetiology, symptoms and treatment. Family Practice. 1989;6(1):66-9.
  4. Calabrese EJ, Dhawan G. The historical use of radiotherapy in the treatment of sinus infections. Dose-Response. 2013;11(4):dose-response. 13-004. Calabrese.
  5. Suh JD, Kennedy DW. Treatment options for chronic rhinosinusitis. Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society. 2011;8(1):132-40.
  6. Stevens WW, Lee RJ, Schleimer RP, Cohen NA. Chronic rhinosinusitis pathogenesis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2015;136(6):1442-53.
  7. Newton JR, Ah-See KW. A review of nasal polyposis. Therapeutics and clinical risk management. 2008;4(2):507-12.
  8. Pahal P, Rajasurya V, Sharma S. Typical bacterial pneumonia. 2018.
  9. Li W, Ban C, Zhang J, Hu Y, Han B, Han B. Correlation study of cough variant asthma and mycoplasma pneumonia infection in children. Pakistan journal of pharmaceutical sciences. 2017;30.

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Srishti Dixit

Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Hi! My name is Srishti Dixit I am currently doing my masters in Biomedical Engineering. I have always been inclined towards research and scientific writing since my bachelors. Sharing knowledge about health and healthy lifestyle and alarming people about it is important. A healthy mindset and body is always a first step to positivity. Reading articles spread awareness and encouragement to follow a healthy lifestyle.

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