Our providers at Phoenix Family Medical Clinic treat Bronchitis. We provide same day and walk in appointments to our patients.
What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation in the lungs that some people call a chest cold. It can be a miserable, but minor, illness that follows the common cold -- or a more serious condition like a chronic smoker's hack. A cough, phlegm, and feeling tired are typical symptoms of bronchitis, but these are also symptoms of other illnesses, so getting the right diagnosis is important.
Bronchitis: Inside Your Lungs
When the bronchial tubes that carry air deep into your lungs become inflamed, the inner lining swells and grows thicker, narrowing the breathing passages. These irritated membranes also secrete extra mucus, which coats and sometimes clogs the small airways. Coughing spells are the body's way of trying to clear out these secretions for easier breathing.
Symptoms of Bronchitis
The main symptom of bronchitis is a frequent cough that produces mucus. Other symptoms that may occur are:
- Mild fever
- Wheezing sounds when breathing
- Tightness or dull pain in the chest
- Shortness of breath
Acute Bronchitis: How Long Does It Last?
Acute bronchitis often develops three to four days after a cold or the flu. It may start with a dry cough, then after a few days the coughing spells may bring up mucus. Most people get over acute bronchitis in two to three weeks, although the cough can sometimes hang on for four weeks or more. If you're in otherwise good health, your lungs will return to normal after you've recovered from the initial infection.
Repeated Bouts: Chronic Bronchitis
Doctors suspect this illness when you have a cough with phlegm on most days for at least three months in a year, for two years in a row. Chronic bronchitis is a serious condition that makes your lungs a breeding ground for bacterial infections and may require ongoing medical treatment. It's one form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. The "smoker's cough" is sometimes a sign of bronchitis and COPD.
Bronchitis or Something Else?
The symptoms of bronchitis are often the same as those of other conditions, such as asthma, pneumonia, allergies, the common cold, influenza, sinusitis, and even gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and lung cancer. See your doctor at Phoenix Family Medical Clinic to get an accurate diagnosis. Serious illnesses like pneumonia require prompt treatment.
When to Call the Doctors at Phoenix Family Medical Clinic
Check in with your medical provider if you:
- Feel short of breath or wheeze
- Cough up blood
- Have a fever greater than 101 F (38 C)
- Have a cough lasting more than four weeks
Causes of Acute Bronchitis
This form of bronchitis is more common in winter and nine out of 10 cases are caused by a virus. Irritants -- like tobacco smoke, smog, chemicals in household cleaners, even fumes or dust in the environment -- can also cause acute bronchitis.