Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Bronchitis
Bronchitis is a type of respiratory ailment. This means it mainly affects your respiratory system or the parts of the body that help you breathe. When you develop bronchitis, the bronchial tubes become inflamed either from exposure to a virus or harmful irritant. As the inflammation makes it harder to breathe, your system will get irritated, more mucus will form, and you’ll develop a nasty cough.
If you’re exhibiting the symptoms of bronchitis, it’s recommended that you see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis and to learn more about treatment options.
Bronchitis usually presents itself through a persistent cough. This is usually the main indication that you may be suffering with bronchitis. But a cough is not the only symptom of this condition.
What’s the difference between acute and chronic bronchitis?
Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis generally only lasts a short time, such as a week or two. The symptoms are usually caused by a virus and can be severe. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis generally has less severe symptoms that last for much longer, sometimes even years. Chronic bronchitis is caused by exposure to an irritant, such as tobacco smoke or other fumes.
What are the symptoms of bronchitis?
The symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis are basically the same. You’ll likely have a persistent cough, which may cause you to cough up mucus. You may also feel generally unwell with a low-grade fever, headache, chills, trouble breathing, a tight feeling in your chest, and wheezing when you breathe all being possible symptoms.
Is there anything I can do to prevent bronchitis?
Yes! Wash your hands regularly to avoid catching the virus that causes bronchitis. Also, quit smoking or avoid being around secondhand smoke. Tobacco is the primary cause of chronic bronchitis and can make it more difficult to get well if you develop acute bronchitis.
How is bronchitis diagnosed and treated?
To diagnose bronchitis, a medical professional will ask you questions about how you feel, your lifestyle, and will give you a full exam. He or she may also take a chest X-ray, perform a breathing test, or do a sputum test, which involves examining mucus from your lungs.
In most cases, acute bronchitis is treated just like the flu--get a lot of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Chronic bronchitis may require a lifestyle change to treat. No matter which type of bronchitis you have, a medical professional may prescribe medications to help ease your symptoms and make you more comfortable.
The symptoms of bronchitis are likely very disruptive to your life. Not only do you likely feel unwell, but the nagging, persistent cough can make it difficult to function at work or school. Get a prompt diagnosis and treatment at a FastMed Urgent Care clinic near you. Use our clinic locator tool to find one in your neighborhood.
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The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.