Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Chest Congestion Overview

What is chest congestion?
A person with chest congestion usually has a deep wet cough. Many complain of a cough that produces thick and often colored phlegm. Chest congestion is usually a symptom that is associated with acute bronchitis or pneumonia.

What symptoms can be associated with chest congestion?
Common symptoms that may be associated with chest congestion include a sore throat, sinus congestion, breathing difficulty, wheezing, and fever. A person with chest congestion due to pneumonia usually coughs up colored mucus or blood. Additional symptoms of include weakness, chills, nausea, and chest pain.

How does the doctor diagnose chest congestion?
The doctor may be able to diagnose the underlying cause for chest congestion after performing a medical history and physical examination. Testing may be performed if symptoms are severe or pneumonia is suspected. Tests often include CBC, pulse oximetry, influenza testing, sputum culture, and blood cultures. Other tests include chest x-ray and sinus x-rays.

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