Lower respiratory infections

The defeat of the respiratory tract takes the leading place in the infectious pathology of various organs and systems, traditionally the most massive among the population. Respiratory infections of different etiologies suffer every year, every person, and some more than once a year. Despite the prevailing myth that most respiratory infections are favorable, one should not forget that pneumonia (pneumonia) is the first cause of death from infectious diseases, and is also among the five common causes of death.

Respiratory tract infections are acute infectious diseases caused by the ingress of infectious agents with the help of the aerogenic mechanism of infection, that is, they are contagious, affecting the respiratory system both primary and secondary, accompanied by inflammatory conditions and characteristic clinical symptoms.

Causes of development of respiratory tract infections

The causative agents of respiratory infections are divided into groups according to the etiologic factor:

  • 1) Bacterial causes (pneumococci and other streptococci, staphylococci, mycoplasmas, pertussis, meningococcus, diphtheria, mycobacteria and others).
  • 2) Viral causes (influenza viruses, parainfluenza, adenoviruses, enteroviruses, rhinoviruses, rotaviruses, herpetic viruses, measles virus, mumps and others).
  • 3) Fungal causes (fungi of the genus Candida, aspergilla, actinomycetes).

The source of the infection is a sick person or carrier of an infectious agent. The infectious period with respiratory tract infections usually begins with the onset of symptoms of the disease.

The mechanism of infection is aerogenic, including the airborne pathway (infection by contact with the patient by inhaling aerosol particles during sneezing and coughing), airborne dust (inhalation of dust particles with infectious agents contained in it). With certain infections of the respiratory system due to the stability of the causative agent in the external environment, transmission factors are the items of everyday use, to which the discharge of the patient falls when coughing and sneezing (furniture, handkerchiefs, towels, dishes, toys, hands, etc.). These factors are relevant in the transmission of infections for diphtheria, scarlet fever, mumps, tonsillitis, tuberculosis.

Susceptibility to pathogens of respiratory infections is universal, people can be infected from early childhood to the elderly, but the special feature is the mass coverage of a group of children of the first years of life. There is no dependence on sex, they are equally sick, both men and women.

Symptoms of respiratory tract infections

The incubation period for respiratory tract infections varies from 2-3 days to 7-10 days, depending on the pathogen.

Rhinitis - inflammation of the nasal mucosa. The mucous membrane becomes swollen, inflamed, maybe with exudation and without it. Infectious rhinitis is a manifestation of ARVI and ARI, diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles and other infections. Patients complain of nasal discharge or rhinorrhea (rhinovirus infection, flu, parainfluenza, etc.) or nasal congestion (adenovirus infection, infectious mononucleosis), sneezing, malaise and lacrimation, sometimes a small temperature. Acute infectious rhinitis is always two-sided. Discharge from the nose can have a different character. Viral infection is characterized by clear liquid, sometimes dense secretions (the so-called serous-mucous rhinorrhea), and for bacterial infection mucous discharge with a purulent component of yellow or greenish flowers, cloudy (mucopurulent rhinorrhea). Infectious rhinitis rarely occurs in isolation, in most cases other symptoms of mucosal infection of the respiratory tract or skin soon join.

Inflammation of the nasal sinuses (sinusitis, etmoiditis, frontalitis). More often has a secondary character, that is, develop after the defeat of the nasopharynx. Most of the lesions are due to the bacterial cause of respiratory tract infections. With genyantritis and etmoiditis patients complain of stuffiness in the nose, difficulty in nasal breathing, general malaise, runny nose, temperature reaction, impaired sense of smell. When front patients are concerned about the thrust in the nose, the headaches in the frontal region are more in the upright position, thick discharge from the nose of purulent nature, fever, small cough, weakness.

Angina (tonsillitis) can be both viral and bacterial etiology. Tonsillitis is an inflammatory process in the oropharynx in the region of the palatine tonsils. Patients are concerned about sore throats when swallowing (except diphtheria, when pain is minor), difficulty drinking, eating, temperature, general weakness. When examined, the mucous membrane of the oropharynx is hyperemic (reddened), a slight swelling of the throat (except for diphtheria, in which the edema can be significant and is a dangerous symptom in terms of the development of the toxic form of the disease), tonsils increase in size to 1-3 degrees depending on the severity of the process, On tonsils there are imposings. If the process is catarrhal, the relief of the tonsils is smoothed and there are no overlaps, the same is true for the viral etiology of the sore throat. If this is a purulent angina, then the suppuration of the purulent nature is greenish-yellowish, loose, easily removed by a spatula, located in the lacunae of the tonsils or on all surfaces (except diphtheria, in which the overlays are grayish white, dense, hard to remove by a spatula, leaving behind a bleeding surface ). In the fungal process, the overlays on tonsils look like curdled milk, whitish-grayish color, easily removed by a spatula from the surface of enlarged tonsils, more often spread to the sky, tongue. With a widespread process, the overlays can extend beyond the borders of the tonsils.

Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the pharyngeal mucosa. More often it is associated with other symptoms, but it is also found in isolation. Patients complain of perspiration in the throat, subfebrile temperature or lack thereof, dry cough, which at times is rather painful, difficulty breathing, general malaise. Pharyngitis is a manifestation of many ARVI, in particular influenza, parainfluenza, scarlet fever, measles.

Laryngitis - inflammation of the mucous larynx, and sometimes epiglottis, vocal cords. It can be a manifestation of various respiratory infections (influenza, parainfluenza, whooping cough, scarlet fever, measles, diphtheria and others). In patients, laryngitis is characterized against a background of general malaise and temperature by the appearance of hoarseness, coarseness and hoarseness up to loss of voice, barking coughing, difficulty breathing. The danger of developing laryngitis is that it may develop complications - croup or stenosis of the larynx - a sharp violation of breathing due to swelling of the mucous membrane and narrowing of the larynx lumen, as well as spasm of the laryngeal muscles. The croup can be true (diphtheria), which develops gradually after the appearance of all the symptoms of diphtheria, and false (parainfluenza), when the child has a severe difficulty in breathing in the presence of acute respiratory infections in the night. And in that, and in another case, you urgently need to call a doctor.

Tracheitis - inflammation of the mucous membrane of the trachea - a tube that connects the larynx with the main bronchi. Tracheitis is a major clinical syndrome in influenza, but it can also occur in bacterial infections. Patients are troubled by symptoms of intoxication (temperature, general weakness and malaise), sore pain in the upper chest behind the sternum, the appearance of a dry night and morning cough, and during the day provoking cough irritants - talking, laughing, cold air, deep breath and exhalation. With combined laryngotracheitis, the voice can be hoed. Most cough is dry, but with the addition of bronchitis can be with spitting phlegm as a mucus (viral nature), and purulent (bacterial process).

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial mucosa. Bronchitis accompanies the majority of respiratory tract infections and is manifested by common symptoms of intoxication, possibly previous symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, and is characterized by the appearance in patients of a cough both dry and wet with sputum mucous or mucopurulent.

Pneumonia - an inflammation of the lung tissue, the bulk of which is caused by bacteria, in particular pneumococcus, but there are also pneumonia of another etiology. The main complaints are fever from subfebrile to febrile, increasing weakness, decreased appetite, chills and excessive sweating, general malaise, an intensifying productive cough (with phlegm). The nature of the sputum will depend entirely on the cause that caused the disease.

Alveolitis is the inflammation of terminal airways, which can occur in candidiasis, legionellosis, aspergillosis, cryptococcosis, Ku-fever and other infections. In patients, there is a pronounced cough, shortness of breath, cyanosis against the background of temperature, weakness. The outcome may be fibrosing of the alveoli.