Bronchitis is an acute (temporary) medical condition that involves inflammation and swelling of the air passages leading to the lungs. The swelling and inflammation will narrow your airways making it hard to breathe along with other symptoms such as coughing and having a hoarse voice. Acute bronchitis is when the symptoms have been felt for a short period of time, but it is also possible to have chronic bronchitis of someone who gets this condition over and over again. It is also known that even with acute bronchitis, you can keep getting it multiple times, for short periods of time during each instance.
Causes of Bronchitis
Bronchitis is an infection that starts from a virus, such as from a cold or flu. It will start by affecting your sinuses, throat and nose and eventually lead to your lungs and airways causing bronchitis. If the bacteria infects your airways, it is called a secondary infection. You can also be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis which is a long-term medical condition where you may have cough and other symptoms of bronchitis for 3 months or longer.
Symptoms of Bronchitis
It is usually to determine whether or not you have bronchitis, though many people don’t realize they have it if it started out as a cold or flu. Some of the symptoms of bronchitis include chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, cough which clear or yellow-green mucus, low-grade fever, fatigue and wheezing, which is more common in people that also suffer from asthma. Following the more severe symptoms of bronchitis, you may also experience a dry cough that sticks around for 1-4 weeks even when other symptoms have mostly subsided. Symptoms of bronchitis are similar to pneumonia, but with pneumonia they are usually accompanied by a higher fever and chills.
If you have any of the above symptoms, you should visit your doctor to get more tests done. Your doctor will most likely start with an examination that begins with listening to your lungs using a stethoscope. He or she may hear coarse, abnormal breathing sounds from your lungs that are common with bronchitis. Additional tests include a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and a pulse oximetry to find out how much oxygen is in your blood.
Acute bronchitis does not normally need treatment even though it is an infection. Most infections require antibiotics but acute bronchitis usually goes away on its own. However there are ways to relieve some of the symptoms including drinking a lot of liquids, using an inhaler for asthma symptoms, getting plenty of rest, using a humidifier or getting steam from the bathroom and taking aspirin or Tylenol if you have a fever.