Your bronchial tubes are the passageways that transport air to and from your lungs. If an urgent care doctor diagnoses you with bronchitis, it means that the lining of these small tubes is inflamed. This respiratory infection can be quite unpleasant, especially as the thick mucus that accumulates can make it difficult to breathe normally.
Onset and Duration of Symptoms
Doctors categorize bronchitis into two main types: acute and chronic. Acute, or sudden onset bronchitis, tends to develop as a secondary infection. This means patients may develop it after they’ve already had the flu or a cold. The first symptom most people notice is a dry cough, which typically produces mucus within a few days. The coughing tends to persist for days or weeks after the infection has cleared up. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is diagnosed when a patient has symptoms on most days of the month, for at least three months during at least two consecutive years. It’s usually caused by smoking. Chronic bronchitis is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Types of Symptoms
In addition to a persistent, troublesome cough, both acute and chronic bronchitis can cause these symptoms:
- Chest discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Mild fever with chills
- Clear, white, yellowish, or green mucus production
Patients with chronic bronchitis will go through some periods of time in which the symptoms flare up or worsen.
Options for Treatment
In most cases, patients with acute bronchitis simply have to wait it out. Since it’s almost always caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective. Antibiotics may be prescribed for those uncommon cases in which a bacterial infection is present. While waiting for the infection to resolve, patients can try using over-the-counter cough suppressants, as well as these lifestyle remedies:
- Using a clean humidifier
- Avoiding cigarette smoke
- Wearing a mask when working with products with strong fumes
Chronic bronchitis requires additional care. It’s essential for people with chronic bronchitis to quit smoking, and to avoid secondhand smoke. They may also require oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and bronchodilators.
Paramount Urgent Care has multiple locations around Orlando and provides medical care seven days per week. Patients of all ages are welcome at our walk-in clinic, and no appointment is necessary. For more information, please visit www.paramounturgentcare.com.