Our team at Integrity Urgent Care wants our communities to feel equipped with a good understanding of common ailments, injuries, and concerns so when they are feeling under the weather, they can begin to think about how to begin caring for themselves and when to come see us. This is especially true in cases of patients who have developed bronchitis and need our care.
What is bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an infection, sometimes caused by a virus, that has settled in the cells of the bronchi, the tubes that let air in and out of your lungs. When your body is fighting infection, they swell, causing pain, discomfort, coughing, and shortness of breath.
What are symptoms of bronchitis?
Bronchitis will vary from patient to patient. Some patients simply have a persistent dry cough while others have mucus that pairs with their cough. Like any other infection, there may be a low-grade fever as the body fights off the issue. Patients frequently feel worn-down and may have a harder time breathing. As the bronchi swell, there may be wheezing or whistling when breathing.
What are the concerns?
There are always extra concerns for the very young and the elderly, who may need extra monitoring to make sure their breathing continues to improve, rather than to decline. Some may need extra assistance with breathing or to make sure there are no other conditions that need medical attention. Patients who smoke or who are exposed to other environmental irritants may have an increased likelihood for developing bronchitis. We always recommend you reduce or stop smoking to improve many aspects of your health.
Occasionally a patient may have repeat cases of bronchitis that are a cause for concern. If you are continually experiencing symptoms or have not recovered for several weeks, come in to see our Integrity team. We may need to order additional tests and begin exploring whether there is an underlying issue that needs medical treatment.
How is it treated?
According to the American Lung Association, the infection causing acute bronchitis will usually only last 7-10 days, although the cough may linger for some time as the body heals. Some patients need no treatment outside of rest, lots of fluids, and time. You may find relief with a humidifier or using the steam of a shower to help with breathing. Usually, if you see a doctor with symptoms of bronchitis, their examination will be to rule out other concerns, like pneumonia. Because most of the infections are viral, there is no need to prescribe antibiotics. By washing your hands often, you can reduce exposure to viral infections that may cause bronchitis and reduce exposure to other diseases, too!
If you are concerned that your cough and fatigue may be something we need to check out, come visit us any day of the week, between 8am and 8pm. We can help rule out any larger issues or provide a treatment plan to help you get back on your feet. Our Integrity Urgent Care team is ready to care for your needs.