What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis occurs when the bronchial tubes, which work to carry air to the lungs, get swollen and infected. There are two types of bronchitis: acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is more common, in which symptoms only last for a few weeks. Chronic bronchitis is more serious, in which symptoms persist for a long period of time, or keep returning.
Common symptoms include:
- Congestion in the chest
- A cough that brings up mucus
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Low fever
What Causes Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is most commonly caused by the cold or flu viruses, though bacteria can also be the cause. In either situation, the bronchial tubes swell and create mucus as the body fights off germs. This can cause breathing to become more difficult. Some patients have a higher chance of contracting bronchitis, including those who have a weakened immune system, smokers, those who have heartburn, or those who work around substances that can bother the lungs.
Patients can take multiple steps to avoid bronchitis, including avoiding cigarette smoke, getting the flu and pneumonia vaccines, washing their hands frequently, and wearing a mask when around things that irritate the lungs.
How to Treat Bronchitis
While many cases of bronchitis will resolve on its own, bacterial bronchitis will often require the use of antibiotics. Those who have asthma or allergies may be prescribed an inhaler to help open up the airways. Patients can ease their bronchitis symptoms by staying hydrated with water, making sure to get plenty of rest, using a humidifier to loosen mucus, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers to control any discomfort and fever.
If you are experiencing symptoms of bronchitis, contact Ultra Med Urgent Care. We cater to patients in the Skokie and Evanston areas to provide efficient and timely care.