Bronchitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane in the bronchial tubes. It typically causes coughing and difficulty breathing. The most common cause of acute bronchitis is viral, but it can be caused by bacteria. Other causes can be irritants such as air pollution, tobacco smoke or chemicals.
Acute bronchitis lasts from one to three weeks, while chronic bronchitis lasts at least three months of the year for two years in a row. For those in good health, the mucus membrane returns to normal after recovery from the initial lung infection, which usually lasts for several days. A serious long-term disease, chronic bronchitis usually requires regular medical treatment.
Repeated attacks of acute bronchitis can irritate and weaken your bronchial tubes over time, resulting in chronic bronchitis. If you are regularly experiencing bouts of coughing, you should seek treatment before the symptoms become chronic.
The range of symptoms may include:
- Mucus that can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green, and sometimes streaked with blood
- Shortness of breath
- Slight fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
Is Bronchitis Contagious?
Like a cold, the flu, or any other bacterial or viral infection that affects the respiratory system, germs that are present in mucus can be spread through coughing or sneezing. Those with bronchitis should avoid spreading germs by covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and frequently washing their hands. Getting a flu shot can reduce your risk of contracting bronchitis caused by the flu. Sugar Land Physicians provides flu vaccines to help protect you and your family. Learn about flu vaccination here.
Diagnosis & Treatment
It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between viral or bacterial respiratory illnesses based on the symptoms. A Sugar Land Physicians healthcare provider can help determine the cause of your symptoms and provide the appropriate treatment. Let us help get you on the road to better health!