Bronchitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which bring air to and from the lungs. Some of the most telling signs of bronchitis include coughing, excessive mucus production, chest discomfort, and shortness of breath. You may also experience fatigue, slight fever, and chills.
Even with a list of bronchitis symptoms to review, it may be hard to tell if you have bronchitis since it’s similar to many other illnesses. Learning more about the different types of bronchitis and its specifics will help you with diagnosis and treatment.
Types of Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is typically caused by the same viruses that cause influenza and common colds.
Chronic cases are brought about by prolonged exposure to polluted air. The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking cigarettes.
Experiencing an acute case usually means recovery within 10 days, although coughing may last several weeks. If you do not recover after 10 days or have repeated cases, you may have another issue like asthma, pneumonia, or chronic bronchitis.
Bronchitis vs. COVID
Bronchitis and COVID-19 are two ailments that affect the chest and lungs. There are, however, a few key differences to help you discern if you have bronchitis. By familiarizing yourself with the indicators of both you will be able to identify the steps need to properly diagnose and treat it.
Both bronchitis and COVID-19 are known for triggering cough and chest pain. Although they share these traits, paying close attention to their symptoms may help determine which you may have.
Bronchitis is typically marked by a wetter sounding cough (triggered by collections of mucus). The chest pain that coincides with it usually occurs with deep breaths or coughing. COVID, on the other hand, is most frequently accompanied by dry sounding coughs. Chest pain may occur during coughing and breathing, but not exclusively so.
Additionally, COVID brings symptoms that are highly unlikely with bronchitis. These include:
- new loss of taste or smell
- nausea or vomiting
Since bronchitis is often caused by a virus, antibiotics are usually not indicated as they are not an effective treatment option. The most common treatment is supportive through medications like cough suppressants. You cannot control the virus but treating the symptoms will help ease your discomfort. It’s also important to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water to help thin out mucus and make it easier to cough up, and use over-the-counter pain relievers to help with any discomfort.
When To Go to the Doctor for Bronchitis
If you’ve been treating your symptoms with no improvement, it may be time to see a doctor. Stop in at a Piedmont Urgent Care location if your cough lasts longer than three weeks, prevents you from sleeping, or you have a fever higher than 100.4 F. Additional signs of concern are discolored mucus, blood and wheezing. Piedmont Urgent Care offers walk-in care, 7 days a week. Plan a visit if you’re in need of medical treatment by caring professionals. Book ahead to reduce your wait time!