When a chest cold stems from a bacterial infection, the most common treatment steps are antibiotics, bronchodilators and sleeping with a vaporizer, notes Healthgrades. Rest, hydration and medications for fever are also frequently used, while intubation and oxygen therapy are less common.
In general, the goal of treating a chest cold is to reduce the danger of contracting pneumonia as much as possible while managing symptoms, so that the patient gets enough rest to recover, according to Healthgrades. When healthy older children and adults catch a chest cold, treatment generally takes place at home. If older adults, infants or people with chronic sicknesses develop a chest cold, a hospital stay is sometimes necessary.
If the infection causing the chest cold is viral, antibiotics are not effective, but the other parts of the regimen still are, notes Healthgrades. Bronchodilators are prescription drugs that relax the lower airways of the lungs, and the patient uses an inhaler to take them. Sleeping with a cool-mist vaporizer opens up airways, although in extreme cases, intubation with a breathing tube and the use of a mechanical ventilator are necessary. Consuming plenty of fluids is important to avoid dehydration resulting from medication and fever. If the phlegm in the breathing airways gets too thick, suctioning is sometimes necessary, as is oxygen therapy administered through a mask or nasal prongs, to ensure the body's organs receive sufficient oxygen.