Coughing, wheezing and breathing problems are signs of the colder fall and winter months, but they are also symptoms of several different illnesses. Properly analyzing bronchitis symptoms will help determine the most effective treatment for bronchitis and hopefully knock it out for the season.
Bronchitis symptoms develop in the passageways of the lungs. It is most commonly caused by a virus, but it can occasionally be the result of a bacterial infection. Irritants like pollutants, bacteria or viruses cause increased mucus production and inflammation in the bronchial tubes. As the mucus becomes thicker and more adhesive, other irritants get stuck in the bronchi, and the body does its best to expel the irritants through excessive coughing.
There are two primary types of bronchitis generally characterized by how long the bronchitis lasts. Acute bronchitis occurs after experiencing a cold or flu. Chronic bronchitis can last for three months or more and is usually provoked by smoking cigarettes or extended exposure to dust, air irritants or fumes.
Bronchitis is best characterized by a persistent cough, but other symptoms are telltale signs of the respiratory illness:
- Coughing up yellow or green mucus
- Wheezing or whistling when breathing normally
- Runny or stuffy nose as chest congestion develops
- Pain in the chest or ribs as a result of constant coughing
- Muscle aches
- Chronic fatigue
Chronic bronchitis symptoms worsen as time passes, especially the shortness of breath. If not treated, an infection can easily produce symptoms of asthma or pneumonia.
Because viruses typically do not respond to and are not affected by antibiotics, acute bronchitis is usually not treated with antibiotics. Green or yellow mucus may suggest an infection caused by bacteria, in which case antibiotics may be a potential treatment. Other treatments for bronchitis may involve:
- Physical exam – a physical given by a trained medical professional will provide solid results on your condition through X-rays and a series of tests.
- Hydration – drinking liquids will thin out mucus and make coughs more productive.
- Cough suppressants – excessive coughing can irritate the bronchial lining; these will help soothe the throat and control coughs.
- Pain relievers – over-the-counter pain medication can help with muscle aches and reduce fever.
- Rest – bronchitis often resolves on its own if you allow your body a few days to recuperate from weakness caused by the infection.
Self-diagnosing your potential signs of bronchitis can be tricky, but an urgent care facility can assist you with medical strategies to help determine what your symptoms mean. If you feel like you may be experiencing acute or chronic bronchitis symptoms, contact Physicians Now today. We have medical professionals ready to examine your condition and assess proper treatments that will get you back to your optimal health.
If you are experiencing chest pains, call your health care professional or 911 immediately.