Medications Prescribed for Bronchitis
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Common Questions About Bronchitis
Bronchitis can cause coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, and a mild fever. Acute bronchitis may also cause a sore throat, nasal congestion, and runny nose. Chronic bronchitis is often caused by smoking or exposure to irritants and is characterized by a persistent cough that produces mucus.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Yes, bronchitis can be contagious. When it’s caused by a virus or bacteria, it can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Therefore, if you have bronchitis, it’s important to take precautions such as: covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding close contact with others to prevent the spread of infection.
Drinking fluids is important when you have bronchitis because it helps to keep your body hydrated and also loosens mucus in the airways, making it easier to cough up. Dehydration can make mucus thicker and harder to expel, which can worsen symptoms and lead to further respiratory complications. Lots of fluids — particularly water and warm liquids such as tea or broth — can also help soothe sore throats and alleviate coughing.
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes. It’s often caused by a virus and has symptoms such as coughing, chest discomfort, and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It’s more severe and affects the air sacs in the lungs. Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, coughing with phlegm, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Pneumonia can be life-threatening, especially for people with weakened immune systems and/or certain underlying health conditions.
Bronchitis typically resolves on its own in a few weeks with proper treatment. However, in some cases, bronchitis can progress to pneumonia. This is more common in people with weakened immune systems or underlying lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If you’re experiencing symptoms of bronchitis, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If your symptoms worsen or you develop new symptoms such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, be sure to seek medical attention right away to rule out the possibility of pneumonia.
Bronchitis is typically not life-threatening and usually resolves in a few weeks with proper treatment. In rare cases, however, complications can occur and may lead to more severe illness. This is more common in older adults, young children, or those with weakened immune systems. People with certain underlying health conditions may be at increased risk of complications as well.
While not particularly common, COVID-19 can sometimes lead to bronchitis as a complication, particularly in people with pre-existing respiratory conditions or weakened immune systems. Additionally, some of the symptoms of COVID-19, such as coughing and shortness of breath, can mimic those of bronchitis.
If you’re experiencing respiratory symptoms, especially if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, be sure to seek medical attention so you can determine the underlying causes of your symptoms and receive the appropriate treatment.