Tell if You Have Bronchitis
Edited by Train Wreck, VisiHow, Eng
Bronchitis is a common illness, in which your bronchial tubes become inflamed. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. While acute or viral bronchitis is often a result of a cold or respiratory infection, chronic bronchitis, or constant inflammation, is typically caused by smoking. It can be difficult to distinguish bronchitis from a cold or flu, since symptoms are often quite similar. For this reason, we do recommend making an appointment with your doctor.
In this article we will discuss some of the symptoms you should look for that may indicate you have bronchitis, what you should tell your doctor during your visit, and some tips to protect yourself from this uncomfortable illness. Do note that this is a reference article, and we are not doctors. The tips and suggestions provided here are in no way intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. It is why we recommend you seek the help of a doctor.
Possible Symptoms of Bronchitis
Symptoms of bronchitis are fairly general and may mirror those of the common cold or a flu. You may have a lingering, productive cough, fatigue and/or shortness of breath, a mild fever with chills, or discomfort in your chest. With acute bronchitis, your cough may linger for a few weeks. If you have chronic bronchitis, however, you may have recurring illness with a three-month long productive cough, and you will have experienced these symptoms for at least two years. If your cough is unresolved after three weeks, keeps you awake at night, is accompanied by a high fever, produces discolored or bloody mucus, or is coupled with wheezing, you should make an appointment with your doctor for a medical evaluation.
What to Tell Your Doctor
If you have made an appointment with your doctor, you may be wondering what you should tell him or her. Your doctor may be able to diagnose bronchitis based on your symptoms and a quick physical examination, but he or she may also order some tests. You should be prepared to tell your doctor:
If your doctor is unable to make a diagnosis from your symptoms, or thinks it is best to confirm that you do not have a more serious condition, such as pneumonia, he or she may order a test. Testing for bronchitis is non-invasive and may include a chest x-ray, a sputum test to analyze any mucus you are coughing up, or a pulmonary function test. In a pulmonary test, you will be asked to blow into a device in order to check for signs of asthma or emphysema.
Steps you can Take to Keep Yourself Healthy
Bronchitis is an uncomfortable illness and can cause a disruption to your sleep and to your daily life. There are some things you can do to protect yourself from falling ill:
- 1Avoid tobacco smoke when possible. Smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke does increase your chances of falling ill with bronchitis. Try to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke when you can; and if you are a smoker, consider quitting smoking.
Bronchitis is typically not a serious illness, but may lead to pneumonia if the patient is not careful. In addition, repeated bouts of bronchitis should be evaluated by a doctor to make sure the patient is not at risk for developing a more serious illness. Above, we have discussed possible symptoms of bronchitis, what you should tell your doctor when you arrive for your appointment, and some of the ways you can take action to protect yourself not only against bronchitis, but against many other viral illnesses as well.
- National Institutes of Health - Bronchitis
- Harvard University - Boost Immunity
- Centers for Disease Control - Vaccintation Recommendations
See our other tutorials on health: Give First Aid, Recognize a Seizure, Give CPR to an Infant, Treat a Seizure, Give CPR, Get Help with a Drinking Problem, Give PPV (Positive Pressure Ventilation), Make Yourself Throw Up, and Setup Emergency Medical ID on an iPhone 6s Plus.