Common Respiratory Illnesses in Adults

  • Respiratory illnesses affect parts of your lungs, such as the airways or other structures. Some of the most prevalent illnesses you can note are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary hypertension, and occupational lung diseases. Several risk factors cause these illnesses, including tobacco smoke, dust, occupational chemicals, and air pollution. Visit AFC Urgent Care Torrington for all respiratory illness treatments. With our on-site lab, our doctors can observe your symptoms and vitals to help diagnose and provide you the best treatment to have you feeling better soon. 

    General Symptoms

    Many respiratory illnesses share general signs or symptoms. In most healthy adults, these are signs of an infection and nothing more severe. It’s important to monitor your symptoms and speak with a doctor annually to ensure there is nothing more serious happening. These include:

    • Mucus is the natural defense against irritants and infection. Feeling drainage in the chest or coughing up phlegm for over a month is a respiratory illness sign.
    • Pressure or congestion in the sinuses
    • Sniffing or producing wheezing sounds is a sign of airway obstruction.
    • Stubborn or chronic cough could be due to a respiratory ailment.

    Warning signs that you should seek medical attention at the emergency room include coughing up blood, difficulty breathing, or severe chest pain. 

    Common Illnesses in Adults

    Some common illnesses can be acute or chronic. Chronic conditions are caused by continuous irritants such as air pollution or smoking. Most chronic diseases can be maintained over time with medication. Acute conditions normally resolve themselves within a week with rest and OTC medications. Some common respiratory illnesses include:

    • Pleural effusion
    • Pneumonia
    • Lung cancer
    • Emphysema
    • Chronic bronchitis
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • Asthma

    Treatment and Prevention

    Respiratory illnesses occur due to several pollutants in our environment and from certain dangerous habits such as smoking. Early prevention and precaution is the best way of maximizing and protecting the health of your lungs. You can take certain precautions to prevent the onset of lung diseases. These include:

    • Not smoking or quitting the habit. Smoking releases harmful substances into the lungs and can damage them beyond repair. Avoid secondhand smoke as well. 
    • Cover your mouth whenever you cough or sneeze.
    • Avoid crowds or socializing in peak flu and cold season.
    • Rest well and have a well-balanced diet along with plenty of water.
    • Wash your hands often during the day.
    • Stay away from aerosol products, exhaust fan while cooking. Construction materials, pet dander, mold, and air fresheners are detrimental to your lungs.
    • Check to ensure your house is free of radon gas.
    • Wear a mask even when there is no pandemic raging outside. It keeps fumes, dust, smoke, droplets, germs, and disease-causing agents away from you.
    • Getting in the habit of using stairs instead of elevators and lifts.