Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways that extend from the windpipe into the lungs (bronchi). The inflammation often causes mucus to develop. This leads to a cough, which is the most common symptom of bronchitis.
In acute bronchitis, the condition usually develops suddenly and goes away over time, usually in a couple weeks. Smoking, allergies, and asthma can make bronchitis worse. Repeated episodes of bronchitis may cause further lung problems.
Acute bronchitis is most often caused by the same virus that causes a cold. The virus can spread from person to person (contagious) through coughing, sneezing, and touching contaminated objects.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Coughing up mucus.
- Body aches.
- Chest congestion.
- Shortness of breath.
- Sore throat.
Acute bronchitis is usually diagnosed through a physical exam. Your health care provider will also ask you questions about your medical history. Tests, such as chest X-rays, are sometimes done to rule out other conditions.
Acute bronchitis usually goes away in a couple weeks. Oftentimes, no medical treatment is necessary. Medicines are sometimes given for relief of fever or cough. Antibiotic medicines are usually not needed but may be prescribed in certain situations. In some cases, an inhaler may be recommended to help reduce shortness of breath and control the cough. A cool mist vaporizer may also be used to help thin bronchial secretions and make it easier to clear the chest.
HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow (unless you have a medical condition that requires fluid restriction). Increasing fluids may help thin your respiratory secretions (sputum) and reduce chest congestion, and it will prevent dehydration.
- Take medicines only as directed by your health care provider.
- If you were prescribed an antibiotic medicine, finish it all even if you start to feel better.
- Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Exposure to cigarette smoke or irritating chemicals will make bronchitis worse. If you are a smoker, consider using nicotine gum or skin patches to help control withdrawal symptoms. Quitting smoking will help your lungs heal faster.
- Reduce the chances of another bout of acute bronchitis by washing your hands frequently, avoiding people with cold symptoms, and trying not to touch your hands to your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Keep all follow-up visits as directed by your health care provider.
SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:
- You develop an increased fever or chills.
- You have chest pain.
- You have severe shortness of breath.
- You have bloody sputum.
- You develop dehydration.
- You faint or repeatedly feel like you are going to pass out.
- You develop repeated vomiting.
- You develop a severe headache.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any signs or symptoms of Acute Bronchitis, don’t hesitate to contact us at Kudo Care, 972-639-5836 and schedule an appointment today. We look forward to helping you.