Bronchitis is a medical condition that causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air to and from the lungs. Bronchitis is among the top ten outpatient illnesses in the United States.
It is estimated that at least 5% of the adult population develop an episode of acute bronchitis each year. Bronchitis also accounts for 10 million hospital visits each year. People with bronchitis often cough a thick, discolored mucus.
Fortunately, you can recover from bronchitis with the proper medication and care. If you or a loved one wants to overcome bronchitis, consider visiting a trusted urgent care center for timely and quality care.
Here’s what you need to know.
Due to the inflammation of the airways, the trachea becomes irritated, swells, and fills with mucus, causing you to cough. A cough is the main symptom of bronchitis and can last for a couple of weeks.
Although viral infection is the leading cause of bronchitis, smoke and other irritants can trigger acute or chronic bronchitis. Most people get acute bronchitis, a temporary infection that makes you cough.
Some people get bronchitis too often, a condition called acute bronchitis.
Here’s a brief of the two types of bronchitis:
Bronchitis is not contagious; however, the viruses and bacteria that trigger the infection are infectious. If you have a flu infection, you’re likely to get bronchitis. However, if another person contracts the flu from you, they won’t suffer inflamed airways.
If a virus causes bronchitis, it may be contagious for several days to a week. However, if bacteria is responsible for the infection, it stops being transferable 24 hours after starting the antibiotics.
Whether acute or chronic bronchitis, below are the common signs of bronchitis:
If you have chronic bronchitis, you may develop cold symptoms, including headaches and body aches. Although symptoms of acute bronchitis improve within a week, you can endure a persistent cough that lasts for several weeks.
Visit a doctor if your cough:
Acute bronchitis is caused by the same viruses that cause colds and flu. On the other hand, cigarette smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. Air pollution, dust or toxic gasses in the workplace can trigger the condition.
In the first days of the infection, it is always difficult to distinguish between signs of a common cold and bronchitis. However, doctors use a physical exam that involves listening closely to your lungs with a stethoscope as you breathe.
Alternatively, a doctor may suggest the following tests:
Acute bronchitis is not treated using medication. If you have flu-like symptoms that started two days ago, the physicians may prescribe you antiviral medication. In addition, most cases of acute bronchitis improve by itself within a couple of weeks.
In addition, since viral infection is the most common cause of bronchitis, antibiotics do not help. However, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if they suspect bacteria is the cause of infection.
Here are the common forms of medications used to treat bronchitis:
Patients with chronic bronchitis may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation, a breathing exercise that teaches you how to breathe more easily and increases your capacity for physical activities.
Although most cases of bronchitis go away without treatment, symptoms such as fatigue, fever, or shortness of breath hinder your everyday life. Bronchitis can also worsen if left untreated, triggering complications such as pneumonia.
Consider visiting a trusted urgent care center like Lifeline Urgent Care Center for quality care once symptoms appear.
Contact us online or call us at 281.771.1144 to book an appointment.
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