Secretary: Suzanne Harvey
Royal Brompton Hospital,
77 Wimpole Street,
London, W1G 9RU

Respiratory Conditions

Chest Infection


Chest infection is a very nebulous term bandied about often without much thought. It also appears to be used as an alternative word for pneumonia so as not to upset parents. Bronchitis (as opposed to bronchiolitis) is word that is very rarely used by children’s doctors as it is not thought (with one exception) to exist in children although the arguments about semantics continue.

Episodes of virus related symptoms are often interpreted as chest infections. Strictly speaking that is true, there is or at least was an almost always viral infection of the airways however antibiotics rarely help and the issue is primarily one of inflammation rather than infection and in prolonged symptoms the virus has gone but one is left with the inflammatory consequences. The same could apply to children with asthma especially with a viral illness.

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Suzanne Harvey



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