Open Accessibility Menu

What Is Bronchitis and How to Treat It

What Is Bronchitis and How to Treat It

The bronchial tubes in the lungs allow air to move into your lungs. Bronchitis is when the lining of those tubes becomes inflamed and fills with mucus.

Bronchitis can be painful because the excess mucus causes you to cough. Often the coughing produces thick, yellowish-green mucus. Acute bronchitis is often the result of a chest cold or respiratory infection and is temporary. Chronic bronchitis is when you have a cough with mucus for most days within three months over the course of two years.

Symptoms of Bronchitis

Chronic and acute bronchitis share most symptoms. If your bronchitis is chronic, you may have the symptoms above, plus wheezing or shortness of breath with even slight physical exertion. People with chronic bronchitis also may have frequent headaches and recurring respiratory infections.

What Causes Bronchitis

Many people confuse bronchitis with an infection. But bronchitis is a condition that results from an infection. Both viral and bacterial infections can lead to bronchitis. Smoking and pollution can also cause acute or chronic bronchitis.

Some people with chronic bronchitis eventually develop a more serious condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with COPD suffer from restricted airways and may need long-term medical management to control their symptoms. COPD is more likely to occur in people who smoked for a significant portion of their lives but can develop in people who never smoked.

How to Diagnose Bronchitis

If you think you may have bronchitis, it is important to seek medical attention. Bronchitis can be a sign that your body needs help fighting an infection. The doctor will discuss your medical history and your symptoms with you. To help diagnose bronchitis, the doctor may also run diagnostic tests. These tests do not confirm bronchitis. But they can identify the virus or bacteria that may be causing the inflammation that led to your bronchitis.

Sputum (mucus) tests, nasal swabs and chest X-rays can help the medical staff find out more about the cause of your bronchitis. By identifying the underlying cause, you can get more targeted treatment. If your bronchitis is severe, the doctor may prescribe medication to help break up the mucus. Many over-the-counter medications and treatments can relieve bronchitis symptoms.

How to Treat Bronchitis

Prescription medications like bronchodilators can help to open restricted air passageways. You may only get a prescription for antibiotics if the diagnostic tests indicate a bacterial infection.

Staying hydrated and using a humidifier can also help to loosen the thick mucus in your airways. When the mucus is too thick, you may be unable to cough productively to move it out of your lungs.

Chronic bronchitis has no cure. But some medications and techniques can reduce the symptoms. When you have wheezing or restricted airways, inhaled medications can open the airways. Prescription antibiotics can resolve an underlying bacterial infection. In more severe cases, you may need a corticosteroid or oxygen therapy.

Visit Premier ER & Urgent Care If You Have Bronchitis Symptoms

Bronchitis can be painful and debilitating, but you might be unsure if you need medical help. At Premier ER & Urgent Care, you no longer have to guess where to go to get the level of care you or your loved ones need. With an ER and urgent care - under one roof, seek care confidently with Premier. Urgent care is available seven days a week from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. The ER is open 24/7.

Premier ER & Urgent Care has four convenient locations in Texas:

  • San Marcos - 1509 N Interstate 35 San Marcos, TX 78666.

  • Temple – 7010 West Adams Avenue Temple, TX 76502.

  • Waco - 221 S Jack Kultgen Expy Waco, TX 76704.

  • Woodway - 9110 Jordan Lane Woodway, TX 76712.