Bronchitis is a respiratory issue that causes constant coughing and lung irritation. There are two types of bronchitis acute and chronic. The acute form is typically caused by a viral infection that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is caused by cigarette smoking or air pollution.
It can happen at any time so it’s important to understand its symptoms and how to manage it.
GuruMD offers urgent care for bronchitis, allowing you to speak with a board certified professional to discuss your symptoms and seek treatment.
What Is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is the inflammation in the lining of the bronchial tube, which is responsible for transferring air to the lungs. People with bronchitis often cough up thick mucus.
The less severe form is acute bronchitis that usually improves within 7-10 days, and it’s often caused by a viral infection or a cold. However, chronic bronchitis is more serious, which may require medical attention. This is mainly because chronic bronchitis tends to last longer and is the result of COPD, smoking, or air pollution.
Symptoms of Bronchitis
Most common symptoms of bronchitis are:
- Clear, white, yellow/green sputum
- Shortness of breath
- Fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
With acute bronchitis, patients often experience cold symptoms, body aches, or mild headaches. The symptoms typically improve in about 1 to 2 weeks with a lingering cough that can last for several weeks. Chronic bronchitis often elicits a productive cough that can last at least three months with recurrent coughs lasting at least two consecutive years.
How Does GuruMD Treat Bronchitis?
At GuruMD, we offer urgent care for patients with bronchitis. If you notice any of the above symptoms of bronchitis, create an account to speak with one of our medical providers. Register online and then visit a doctor right on the app.
Our board-certified professionals will initiate an interview and physical exam. If the cough occurs recently, then the doctor could prescribe symptomatic treatment, like cough suppressants or any cold medication. This is mainly because acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection which only requires symptomatic treatment to get rid of it.
If acute bronchitis is caused by allergies, then the doctor may prescribe allergy medication to alleviate the symptoms. However, if the cough has occurred for more than three months, the doctor will suggest other exams such as:
Helps diagnose pneumonia or other conditions that may have caused bronchitis.
Since the sputum is the mucus that people cough up, it can be tested to identify infectious agents like bacteria to see what type of antibiotics can eradicate it. The sputum test can also check for signs of allergies to see if that is a potential cause.
Pulmonary function test
The test involves a spirometer, where patients blow in the device that measures the amount of air and how quickly it can get out of the lung. The test helps check for potential signs of asthma or emphysema.
If COPD or asthma is suspected, the physician would prescribe an inhaler or other medication to decrease the inflammatory process. The provider may also prescribe beta-agonist like albuterol to dilate the bronchioles to promote oxygen and air to the lungs.
After the proper diagnosis and treatment, the physician will also conduct a lifestyle and home remedy consultation. For patients with COPD, the physician will advise that they avoid smoking and air pollution. He or she would even recommend a humidifier because warm moist air can help loosen the mucus in the airway to alleviate the cough. They would also provide facemasks to prevent cold air from aggravating the cough or causing shortness of breath.
If the cough is extremely severe, the doctor can write a referral to a pulmonary rehabilitation program where a respiratory therapist will provide education on various breathing exercises that can help patients breathe more easily and efficiently.
To make sure you’re on the right track, we also offer routine lab work for patients with bronchitis. We want to make sure you have a safe recovery process and get all the care you need to overcome your symptoms.
Experiencing bronchitis? Register for your GuruMD account now to get the treatment you need.