ZocdocAnswersI woke up with fever and congestion in chest. What should I do?

Question

I woke up with fever and congestion in chest. What should I do?

I'm 57 years old, traveling from California leaving tomorrow.

Answer

Fever and congestion in the chest are often signs of an infection in the lungs. Infections in the lungs can be divided into infection of the airways (bronchitis) or the lung tissue itself (pneumonia). Since fever and congestion can be a sign of both, then the only way to tell the difference is through a physical exam and perhaps a chest x-ray to look for lung consolidation (a sign of pneumonia). Other possibilities that could explain your symptoms include the flu or another viral infection. In this case you probably shouldn't be traveling on an airplane because of the possibility of transmission to other people. I suggest that you schedule an immediate appointment with your primary care physician He or she can perform a thorough lung exam and send you for a chest x-ray to determine whether or not you have pneumonia. You can also get the rapid flu test to make sure the flu isn't playing a role in your symptoms. If you cannot get an appointment with your doctor, then you could try going to an urgent care to get evaluated (since you are thinking of leaving on a trip). If you do have a pneumonia, you will need treatment with antibiotics and you should probably not travel.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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