What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is also known as a chest cold, and usually improves within 10 days, without lasting symptoms. It is usually caused by viruses. Chronic bronchitis occurs when you have repeated bouts of bronchitis, which required medical attention. The most common cause is cigarette smoking, though air pollution, dust, or gases in the environment may contribute to the condition.
Common symptoms of bronchitis may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Mucus, which can be clear, white, yellow, or green
- Fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
Those with acute bronchitis may develop cold symptoms, which will usually improve within a week, though coughing may linger for a few weeks. Those with chronic bronchitis will experience a cough that lasts at least three months, with reoccurring episodes for at least two years.
Treatment for Bronchitis
Since most cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections, antibiotics are not effective. However, if a bacterial infection is the cause, antibiotics may be prescribed. Other medications may also be recommended, including cough medicine to suppress a cough during the night, or an inhaler if you have asthma or allergies, to reduce inflammation and open passages in your lungs.
Individuals with chronic bronchitis may be able to benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a breathing exercise program that teaches you how to breath more easily and make exercise easier.
There are also steps that you can take to help feel better at home, including avoiding lung irritants such as cigarette smoke and household cleaners, using a humidifier, and wearing a face mask outside, since cold air can aggravate symptoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms of bronchitis, contact Springfield Urgent Care today. We will provide you with timely care to help you feel better, quicker.