Bronchitis is a very common illness throughout the United States. In fact, there are more than 14.2 million cases of acute bronchitis each year. Educating yourself on what to look for when you develop bronchitis-like symptoms is your first line of defense.
Bronchitis is an illness that affects your bronchial tubes. They become inflamed, which in turn makes it difficult for them to carry air to and from your lungs. Sufferers are likely to have a cough that produces thickened mucus, which may be discolored. The cough is usually accompanied by fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, chills, and chest discomfort.
There are two types of bronchitis, so it’s important to know the differences when suffering from the symptoms. While they may have similar indicators, they are very different and should be treated as such.
Acute bronchitis: When bronchitis is acute, it is able to be resolved with antibiotics, steroids, or inhalers. One of the key indicators of acute bronchitis is a persistent cough. It may last for several weeks after the inflammation is resolved.
Chronic bronchitis: When bronchitis becomes chronic, it is classified as part of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.8 million Americans were diagnosed with COPD in 2012, while 8.7 million adults were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis in the same year, or about 3.7% of the adult population. Chronic bronchitis is accompanied by a consistent cough that produces mucus. Bouts last for at least two years and may vary in severity throughout that time.
If your cough lasts for more than three weeks or prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, it is imperative to see a doctor. Other warning signs that may require immediate attention include having a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, producing discolored mucus, coughing up blood, and being short of breath.
Don’t risk your health or potentially infect others! Get to a doctor to treat your acute bronchitis or start managing a diagnosis of chronic bronchitis as soon as possible.
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