Is My Cough Serious? Know the Signs of Bronchitis.

Posted on: December 11th, 2017 by carepro

Bronchitis is a condition in which the bronchial tubes become inflamed. People with bronchitis often have a cough that brings up mucus. Bronchitis also may cause wheezing, chest pain or discomfort, a low fever and shortness of breath.

The two main types of bronchitis are acute (short term) and chronic (ongoing). The same viruses that cause colds and the flu are the most common cause of the acute bronchitis. They are spread through the air when people cough. They also spread through physical contact (unwashed hands). Acute bronchitis lasts from a few days to 10 days. However, coughing may last for several weeks after the infection is gone.

Several factors increase your risk. Examples include exposure to tobacco smoke (including secondhand smoke), dust, fumes, vapors and air pollution. Most cases of acute bronchitis go away within a few days. If you think you have acute bronchitis, see your doctor.

Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing, serious condition. It occurs if the lining of the bronchial tubes is constantly irritated and inflamed, causing long term cough with mucus. Smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis. Viruses or bacteria can easily infect the irritated bronchial tubes.

Early diagnosis and treatment, combined with quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, can improve quality of life.

Elderly people, infants and young children are at higher risk for acute bronchitis than are people in other age groups. People of all ages can develop chronic bronchitis, but it occurs more often in people over the age of 45. Your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen for wheezing or other abnormal sounds in your lungs. They may also:

  • Look at your mucus to see whether you have a bacterial infection
  • Test the oxygen levels in your blood using a sensor attached to your fingertip or toe
  • Recommend a chest X-ray, lung-function tests or blood tests

Your doctor may recommend rest, plenty of fluids and medication to treat fever. Antibiotics usually aren’t prescribed for acute bronchitis. This is because they don’t work against viruses – the most common cause of acute bronchitis. However, if your doctor thinks you have a bacterial infection, they may prescribe antibiotics. A humidifier or steam can help loosen mucus and relieve wheezing. Other medications may also be prescribed as needed.

If you have any questions or concerns about your cough, talk to your pharmacist or physician. You can also stop in to your local CarePro Pharmacy with questions, and our pharmacists are happy to answer your questions. Flu shots, as well as other vaccines, are also available – connect with us today!

Come to CarePro Pharmacy in December and save 20% on Probiotics to help with your immune system!

Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
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