Bronchitis is a lung infection that affects the main airways, causing irritation, inflammation, coughing, a buildup of yellow-grey mucus, phlegm, sore throat, and wheezing.
One of the most common types of bronchitis, cold chest or acute bronchitis, affects 44 of 1000 adults annually, with 82% of cases occurring in fall or winter. It can generally last less than three weeks, leading to swollen lung airways, coughing, and excess phlegm production.
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On the other hand, chronic bronchitis or pneumonia is much more severe, affecting 4.6% of the world’s population every year and leading to thousands of deaths.
Coughing is one of the most common bronchitis symptoms that brings up a lot of mucus and phlegm. However, this does not always happen, so you can always look out for more symptoms like sore throat, headaches, runny nose, fatigue, body aches, and pains.
These symptoms are also widely synonymous with other throat infections like sinusitis and the common cold, but if you have bronchitis, you’ll notice your suffering will last for a few weeks.
You may also see your cough staying for several weeks even after the other symptoms have disappeared, making your chest and stomach muscles quite sore.
Inflamed lung airways can also cause shortness of breath and wheezing, but these are more common with long-term or chronic bronchitis.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), more commonly known as chronic bronchitis, lasts much longer and is much more persistent than acute bronchitis.
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms generally include but aren’t limited to wheezing, fatigue, shortness of breath, primarily when exercising or moving around, constant cough, increased mucus and phlegm production, and frequent chest infections.
Your chronic bronchitis symptoms are more likely to worsen during the winter and fall seasons, leading to more than a few flare-ups or particularly bad health every year.
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Even though there are ways to treat and manage your acute bronchitis symptoms effectively, nothing beats the efficacy of prevention methods.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, ensuring you and others around you stay healthy, keeping your hands clean, getting vaccinated are some foolproof ways to stay protected.
Avoiding harmful habits like smoking, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing, and coughing are some more ways you can prevent this illness from attacking you and your loved ones.
When it comes to dealing with chronic bronchitis, there is no cure other than not smoking, staying away from smokers, and living a healthy, fit, and active life.
On the other hand, cases of acute bronchitis do not require professional help and treatments, and you can essentially manage the symptoms at home by getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, taking over-the-counter medication for headaches and fevers.
Staying hydrated thins out the mucus in your lungs, unclogging your airways, making it easier to breathe and cough out the remaining phlegm. You can also ingest warm liquids like tea, honey, lemon water, and soups to unclog your airways further and relieve your sore throat.
If you’re a regular smoker, quitting the habit or giving it a few days’ rest will significantly help your case, making you recover much faster. Continuing to smoke will only aggravate your condition, increasing your risk of developing a chronic illness.
Although it may be unnecessary, you can visit a doctor and have them give you prescribed antibiotics if they fear your condition will worsen. However, since a virus nearly always causes bronchitis, antibiotics will barely affect and aren’t recommended for everyone.
Older adults over the age of 80, premature babies, patients suffering from or having a history of heart, lung, kidney, or liver diseases and people with a weakened immune system cannot take antibiotics.
As mentioned earlier, when dealing with acute bronchitis, seeking medical help may be unnecessary, but if your cough is exceptionally severe, lasting for more than a few weeks, it’s time to seek professional help.
Dealing with a constant fever for more than a few days, coughing up blood, chest pains, rapid breathing, feeling drowsy, and repeated flare-ups of bronchitis may be signs of a more severe condition like pneumonia, in which case you should definitely book an appointment and visit your doctor.
Here are some frequently asked questions about acute bronchitis that might help your case and answer some of your concerns.
Yes, since a virus causes acute bronchitis, it’s more likely to transfer from person to person through tiny droplets when you cough or sneeze. In order to reduce any risk of catching this contagious illness, you can do the following:
Stay clear of anyone suffering from the flu or other illnesses
Keep your hands clean
Have a hand sanitizer on you when you’re out and about
Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth
Get annual flu shots
Yes, if you have bronchitis, staying hydrated can help you recover much faster. It helps thin out the mucus in bronchial tubes, making it easier to discard.
Even though universal healthcare should be affordable and mandatory, finding the right doctor and treatment isn’t easy. But with TelMDCare, you can consult a virtual doctor for acute bronchitis, allergies, and other acute conditions.
All you need to do is make an appointment with one of our online doctors, pay an appointment and consultation fees of $39, and the general practitioner will start by giving you an official diagnosis, quickly followed by consultation & prescription.
At TelMDCare, our quality medical services are affordable and free, with the first follow-up costing you nothing. You can online chat with your doctor without any wait-time and advantage of their suggestion, expertise, and knowledge, finding relief for all your medical woes.
If your infection lasts for more than a week, get in touch with us or sign up immediately to make a doctor’s appointment.