Chest Congestion Symptoms


This article is about chest congestion symptoms. Allergens, bacteria, and fungi can all cause infections resulting in chest congestion.

You will find the following information very helpful in all situations whether you are dealing with an adult or a child.

This morning a close friend called and asked if she could speak to the 'nurse' in me. Her daughter had called to come home from school. That morning during Athletics the daughter had been running track and experienced some breathing difficulty. This it seems was not the first episode. A doctor's appointment was scheduled for the afternoon but Mom was wondering if a trip to the Urgent Care Center would be better.

Since her daughter is nearly 14 I was able to ask her questions and get reasonable answers. Some of her symptoms were:

  1. labored breathing
  2. difficulty in talking
  3. swallowing was difficult
  4. tightness in her chest
  5. deep, congested cough

Mom and I decided to try an over-the-counter antihistamine and if there was no improvement in 30 to 40 minutes, or if chest congestion symptoms became worse, then a trip to an Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center was necessary.

Mom would be watching for these chest congestion symptoms such as:

  • tongue feeling thick
  • lips swelling
  • breathing became more labored
  • swallowing became more difficult

It's always a tough decision for a parent to make whether or not to go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center because not all children can tell you just how they feel.

So here are some signs to look for to know when to seek care.

  • Congestion you can hear.
  • A fever you can feel,
  • Bluish color to fingernails and around the mouth you can see.
  • Watch chest movements.
  • Is your child just nasally congested or does it go deeper?

My friend's daughter had had a cold a couple of weeks back and she just was not able to shake it. Running track aggravated her ability to breathe.

But are we looking at an infection from the earlier cold, allergies, asthma? These are things only a doctor can tell you. But you can help your child … calmness is contagious.

If you remain calm, your child will feel this and the old adage: monkey see monkey do applies here.

Here as some additional things you can do as you assess your child's chest congestion symptoms:

  • Feel the child's head; is it warm or hot.
  • Listen for nasal congestion or deep-coughing congestion.
  • Is there any drainage?
  • Is the child coughing up secretions?
  • What color and consistency are the secretions (nasal and coughing)?

The difference in secretion coloring.

  1. Clear and thin … okay
  2. Yellow to grey or thick … need attention?

These are things you need to be able to tell your medical doctor.

If possible, save a sample of the thick or colored secretions. Your medical doctor may look at them and decide a culture needs to be taken in order to help determine which antibiotic to prescribe.

If an antibiotic is prescribed for the chest congestion symptoms, be sure to read the directions carefully.

  1. Is it taken 3 times a day?
  2. Every 6 hours?
  3. With or without food?

Be sure to read the flyer the pharmacist gives you. Above all ask questions and be sure you understand the answers.

Three (3) times a day may mean with each meal. Every 6 hours may mean around the clock and you need to wake up the child to give it. But most importantly … take ALL the medicine.

If you stop taking the prescription too soon just because you feel better and then relapse, the same antibiotic may not work again. The germ (bug) may become resistant and the next antibiotic could be more expensive.

I'm glad to say the antihistamine worked. My friend's daughter felt relief and was able to each lunch and will be seeing her doctor in the afternoon.