A Complete Guide to Bronchitis Symptoms
Bronchitis symptoms is a very common respiratory ailment. Many of the symptoms are the same as those associated with an illness or infection that has not been treated properly. However, bronchitis can also be caused by viruses and bacteria. Therefore, it is important to know what you can expect to see or experience when you have this illness.
The usual bronchitis symptoms include the following. Coughing that does not go away is often the first sign of this ailment. The individual will begin to cough up mucus. This mucus often has a color that ranges from green to light yellow in color. Sometimes, the individual may go away with coughing for a few days but this is not always the case.
The next on the list of bronchitis symptoms is usually wheezing or whooping cough. These two are both very common respiratory illnesses. They are both caused by viruses and bacteria getting into the airways. Wheezing can sometimes be heard when breathing. Sometimes, there will be no identifiable wheezing sound but the individual may still cough. It is important to note that wheezing and coughing are two completely different things.
The most common type of bronchitis is chronic. Chronic bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. Unlike acute bronchitis, which is usually caused by a buildup of mucus, chronic means that the build-up of this mucus is more than normal. This causes the airways to become inflamed and therefore makes it hard for the person to get enough air.
Coughing with these symptoms can make getting adequate amounts of oxygen difficult. This is especially so when the individual is suffering from congestive heart failure. Coughing leads to increased production of mucus that further blocks the airways, causing the need to increase levels of medication in order to clear the mucus. The use of oxygen therapy increases the amount of mucus that is cleared, thus decreasing the amount of medication needed.
As opposed to acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis has no known causes. Chronic bronchitis symptoms are much like those of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. When bronchitis is suspected, doctors do test the person’s upper respiratory system and the lungs for evidence of infection. If the tests result in evidence of bacterial or viral infection, the individual with bronchitis is given antibiotics and then placed on oxygen therapy.
There are two major types of treatments used in the fight against bronchitis. The first is the use of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that are causing the illness. This treatment usually lasts a few weeks and is accompanied by spirometry (a lung function test that determines the amount of fluid in the lungs). If the spirometry indicates an improvement in lung function, this will be the medication that is prescribed. However, if the spirometry indicates that progress has been made, it is time to look into alternative treatments for treating the illness.
Inflammation of the bronchial tubes is one of the leading causes of death related to bronchitis. The inflammation must be addressed to prevent death from complications of the illness. Chronic bronchitis is caused by inflammation of the airways; therefore, treatment for this condition should include reducing the inflammation in order to carry air away from the lungs and clear the airways. Common treatments for inflammation include steroids, immunosuppressants, and interferon therapy. It should be noted that steroids have side effects and are only recommended when bronchitis symptoms become too severe.
Acute bronchitis is caused by exposure to chemicals, toxins, or viruses (such as the common cold or flu); therefore, it requires quick medical attention because it is more serious. When acute bronchitis symptoms appear, the best course of action is to go to the hospital immediately. Some of the symptoms of acute bronchitis include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest pain, fever, and heavy or persistent cough. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so the specialist must be consulted.
If chest infections are severe, they can cause fever, chills, and sweating. Acute bronchitis symptoms usually last three to four days and can then subside gradually. Sometimes, no symptoms appear and the condition can simply run its course without requiring treatment.
Chronic bronchitis is characterized by recurring symptoms and often by an odor along with the same common problems mentioned above. Although chronic bronchitis does not necessarily cause death, there are some risks that can be aggravated by ignoring the problem. Because these symptoms often occur together with wheezing and coughing, the doctor may consider that both symptoms are being caused by the same disease or infection, so he orders a series of tests to rule out other conditions.