When the lining of your bronchial tubes become inflamed, it can cause bronchitis, and this condition can be acute or chronic. Your bronchial tubes transport air to and from your lungs. People with bronchitis will frequently cough up thick mucus which may be discolored.
Often, people will develop acute bronchitis from a cold or another respiratory infection. Frequently, acute bronchitis will improve within a week to 10 days, although the cough may remain for weeks after. Acute bronchitis may also be called a chest cold.
Chronic bronchitis is caused when the lining of the bronchial tubes is continually irritated or inflamed and is often due to smoking. Repeated bouts of chronic bronchitis can require medical attention because this is often a condition found in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Please contact one of our board certified internists or primary care physicians NYC to set up a consultation for a thorough evaluation
What Are the Symptoms of Bronchitis?
Acute and chronic bronchitis can cause symptoms that include:
- Feeling short of breath
- Discomfort in the chest area
- Feeling chilled or having a slight fever
- Producing mucus which may be clear, white, green or yellowish gray
With acute bronchitis, you may have symptoms similar to a cold. The symptoms will usually improve in about a week, although the cough may persist for several weeks.
Chronic bronchitis causes a productive cough lasting for at least three months, and it may re-occur. Although chronic bronchitis is normally caused by cigarette smoking, dust, or toxic gases at work or in the environment or pollution can also contribute to this condition.
If you have chronic bronchitis, your cough or other symptoms will most likely worsen at times, which could be caused by an acute infection in addition to bronchitis. If you experience bronchitis related symptoms visit our Manhattan Primary Care Center and meet the best doctor in NYC.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Bronchitis
If you do have bronchitis symptoms, treatment can help to relieve them. Our experienced physicians can diagnose the problem and can prescribe the best treatment for bronchitis. During your physical examination, our primary care physician will listen to your lungs while you breathe, and we may recommend other diagnostic tests.
These tests could include a chest x-ray and which can be especially important if you are a smoker. Testing the mucus from your lungs can identify if you have any illnesses that could be helped by antibiotics and can detect signs of allergies that could aggravate bronchitis.
A pulmonary function test measures the amount of air your lungs can hold and how quickly you can expel the air. This test is for signs of asthma or emphysema.
Bronchitis Treatment in NYC
Most cases of acute bronchitis do not require treatment, and you should get better within a couple of weeks. Because bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, antibiotics aren’t effective, but if we suspect you may have a bacterial infection, we may prescribe the appropriate antibiotic for acute bronchitis treatment.
Other medications that may be useful in some circumstances include cough medicines. If you have asthma, allergies, or COPD, we may suggest using medications to open up the airways in your lungs and to reduce inflammation.
Chronic Bronchitis Treatment
We may recommend a breathing treatment for bronchitis that is chronic. This is a breathing exercise program in which you are taught to breathe more easily, and which can help to increase your ability to exercise.
Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies for Bronchitis Treatment
In addition to medical advice and treatment, there are some lifestyle and home remedies you can try to relieve the symptoms. Make sure you avoid irritants that could inflame your lungs. Don’t smoke and wear a mask if the air is polluted or if you are using household cleaners that create strong fumes. Warm, moist air helps to loosen mucus and relieves coughs so use a humidifier at home.
However, it is critical to make sure you clean the humidifier regularly following the manufacturer’s instructions. It is essential to ensure your humidifier is clean to avoid the growth of fungi and bacteria in the water container. When the air is cold, consider wearing a face mask outside and especially if the cold causes shortness of breath or aggravates your cough.
Reducing Your Risk of Bronchitis
You can also take preventative measures to reduce your risk of bronchitis, such as avoiding cigarette smoke. Make sure you wash your hands frequently to avoid catching viral infections and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Often, acute bronchitis is due to the flu, so consider getting a yearly flu vaccine to protect yourself. You may want to consider getting a vaccine that can protect against some types of pneumonia. If you are diagnosed with COPD, think about wearing a face mask at work if you are exposed to fumes or dust, or when you are traveling or in crowds.