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Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis
- Acute bronchitis comes on quickly, and will normally resolve without any treatment within a few weeks
- Chronic bronchitis occurs frequently and can last a month or longer each time
- Treatment for bronchitis will depend on many different factors
Bronchitis is a medical condition that can be characterized as either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, depending on the type you have and your symptoms. Bronchitis occurs because the tubes in your lungs which carry the air in become irritated and swell up from inflammation. This swelling and irritation will cause mucus to form in your lungs, you will develop a cough, and this can cause difficulty breathing, especially during any exertion. Acute bronchitis comes on quickly, and it is usually caused by an upper respiratory infection. Usually the acute form of this condition does not require any antibiotics, and only rarely requires any treatment at all. Normally rest, plenty of fluids to thin out the mucus, and a balanced diet will help you get rid of the bronchitis on your own within a few weeks. If you are very young, elderly, or you suffer from an immune system which is weak, this condition can cause serious complications.
Chronic bronchitis is when the bronchitis does not go away within a few weeks, and can last for a month or longer and frequently comes back. If you experience coughing and excess mucus for most of the month and this happens at least three or four times a year, your doctor may diagnose you with chronic bronchitis. People who smoke heavily often suffer from the chronic form of bronchitis. The acute form of this condition is normally caused because of a viral infection, but occasionally the culprit is a bacterial infection.
The symptoms that can occur if you are suffering from acute bronchitis can vary widely, depending on the severity of the bronchitis and your overall general medical condition. Because many of the symptoms of bronchitis can also be caused by pneumonia, it is important to see your doctor any time breathing becomes difficult or you experience a rapid heartbeat. With bronchitis you ill have a cough, and it will usually start out dry but produce mucus within a few days. The color of the mucus can be green, yellow, clear, or even pink tinged or smeared if the coughing is producing blood. You may also notice that you are running a fever that is low. If you develop a fever that is higher than one hundred and one degrees, contact your doctor because this can indicate a more serious condition such as pneumonia. You will usually feel tired and lethargic, you may loose your voice or become hoarse, and you may notice wheezing noises from your chest when you breathe. Another symptom you may notice is a pain or tightness in your chest, and this can become much worse during exertion or when you start coughing. At times with bronchitis the coughing may become uncontrollable, and may even result in vomiting due to the muscle spasms and lack of oxygen during the coughing fit if it becomes severe enough.
Treatment of bronchitis will depend on the type. If you have this condition because of an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus and you are normally healthy, your doctor will generally tell you to get plenty of rest and drink a lot of fluids. You will generally recover on your own within a few weeks. If the bronchitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be needed. In both cases your doctor may prescribe medications to help you bring up the mucus by thinning it out. A cough suppressant is normally not used, because the cough is needed to clear the mucus from your lungs. If you have a dry cough that is not productive, a cough suppressant with an opiate may be prescribed to control your cough.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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