Lung Infections: How an X-Ray Can Help

Lung Infections: How an X-Ray Can Help

Coughing is your body’s way of expelling foreign particles and irritants out of your lungs, and it's very effective — a good cough can rocket those pathogens out at about 50 miles per hour

Seasonal allergies, a common cold, and post-nasal drip are just a few of the many reasons your lungs feel compelled to cough, but there are also more serious conditions that can lead to chronic hacking and wheezing — such as a lung infection.

If you’ve been coughing for a couple of weeks, and it’s not letting up, it’s time to seek professional medical attention, and you’ll find no one more qualified in Humble, Texas, than Dr. Joseph Goin at Calvary Urgent Care. He and our team have extensive experience identifying the root cause of coughing, and we use the most advanced technology to reach an accurate diagnosis.

Sometimes, the best method is the time-honored X-ray. Here’s how it works to let us know if you’re dealing with a lung infection. 

Signs you might have a lung infection

If a pathogen — fungus, bacterium, virus, or parasite — gets into your lungs, it causes inflammation and tissue damage that make it difficult to breathe and often triggers coughing. Whether your cough is mild and occasional, severe and chronic, wet or dry, it may be a sign you have a lung infection. Here are some other symptoms to watch for:

You may also experience fatigue and muscle aches when you’re battling a lung infection. If you have a severe lung infection, your symptoms may include:

These are signs that you need immediate medical attention. But more commonly, your symptoms of a lung infection will be moderate and chronic, which warrants a visit to Dr. Goin.

How we diagnose a lung infection

If you come see us with some or all of these symptoms, we use X-ray imaging to get a better look at your lungs. 

A chest X-ray is a common test that uses a small dose of radiation to produce an image of your bones and soft tissues. Because these tissues absorb the radiation differently, they each show up distinctly on the film. The more dense tissues — bones, for example — absorb larger quantities of radiation, and lung tissue absorbs much less. 

When Dr. Goin examines your chest X-ray, he can see your lungs, heart, aorta, and ribs, and he can even detect areas that are filled with fluid or air. X-ray imaging allows us to determine the location of your infection and the scope of the affected tissues so we can develop the most effective treatment plan.

Dr. Goin may also run a few additional tests to gather more information. For example, he may order a blood test or take a throat swab to determine the exact viral strain or bacterium that caused your infection.

Treating a lung infection

Most bacterial infections require an antibiotic, and fungal infections call for an antifungal medication. Viral infections, on the other hand, have to run their course. 

You can give your body a helping hand as it fights off the infection by drinking plenty of water, using a humidifier, and resting. 

To find out if your cough points to a lung infection, schedule an appointment with Dr. Goin. If you need an X-ray, we can take care of that right here in our office, and your results will be ready before your appointment is over. Lung infections can quickly become serious, so don’t wait to seek treatment. Call us at 832-680-2273 today. 

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