Get medical treatment for Bronchitis at Faith Medical Clinic.
Bronchitis happens when the lining of your bronchial tubes, which are responsible for transporting air to your lungs, become inflamed. Thick, sometimes discolored mucus can be associated with this infection. One of the things to know about the condition is that it can be either acute or chronic, depending on the circumstances.
In situations where the condition is acute, a respiratory infection, like a cold, is usually responsible. The more serious form of bronchitis, in which it is chronic, is common in smokers.
The acute type often called a chest cold, may cause a cough lasting for several weeks, although most people improve within seven to 10 days.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are some signs and symptoms that are common to acute and chronic varieties of this condition.
These symptoms include chest discomfort, low fever, and chills, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Bronchitis causes sputum, or mucus-producing coughs, with the mucus being clear, white, green or yellowish-gray. Blood may also be in the mucus, but this is a relatively rare occurrence.
Symptoms that come with acute bronchitis are similar to cold symptoms, including body aches and a mild headache. Recovery usually takes about a week, even though the cough can last for several weeks after.
Chronic bronchitis differs from the acute type because there are specific times during which symptoms worsen. It is possible to develop an acute infection while coping with chronic symptoms.
You should always see your doctor if your cough lasts for more than three weeks, keeps you from sleeping, or you have a fever that exceeds 100.4 F. Also, see your doctor if your mucus is discolored, produces blood, or comes with either shortness of breath or wheezing.
What Are the Causes?
Viruses are behind most cases of acute bronchitis, often the same viruses responsible for the flu and colds. Antibiotic therapy is not used in treatment, because these medications have no effect on viruses.
In the case of chronic bronchitis, smoking is the most common cause. Toxic gases, air pollution, and dust including toxin exposure in the workplace can also be responsible.
Risk Factors and Complications
There are several factors that can increase your risk of getting bronchitis. Getting a cold or other acute illness, as well as having a compromised immune system, can lower your resistance. Infants, young children, and older adults can get infected much more easily.
Smokers or those who share a home with one are at a greater risk for both types of bronchitis. If your job involves exposure to chemical fumes, textiles, or grains, you are also somewhat more susceptible. Gastric reflux patients who have had severe heartburn cases are also more likely to end up with bronchitis.
Some people may see their bronchitis turn into pneumonia, although this is a relatively rare situation. If, however, you have had repeated cases, you may want to have your doctor check you for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
One of the most effective ways to prevent any illness is by frequent hand-washing or the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Because bronchitis can start with the flu, consider a flu vaccine, as well as a pneumonia vaccine, if appropriate.
Avoid smoking or exposing yourself to others' cigarette smoke. If you've been diagnosed with COPD, consider using a face mask when you're around crowds or if exposed to fumes or dust while working.
If you're experiencing symptoms of bronchitis or possibly have concerns about a chronic condition, our medical team at Faith Medical Clinic in Canyon or Amarillo, TX is here to help.