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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Bronchitis
Symptoms of Bronchitis
Bronchitis, sometimes called a chest cold, is an infection of the lungs and bronchial tubes. Usually bronchitis appears after you've had a cold or flu illness for an extended period of time, and if those underlying illnesses haven’t been properly treated, they can creep into your chest and create a more severe infection.
Symptoms common to bronchitis include:
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Excess mucus in your chest
- Muscle aches
- Nasal drip
- Sore throat
- Wheezy breathing
Causes of Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is a short-lived viral infection of your lungs, and it usually progresses from a previous cold or flu. Acute bronchitis may last up to three weeks and your coughs will produce a lot of mucus. That’s a good thing: doctors call that a productive cough, and it’s better to get the excess mucus out.
Chronic bronchitis is a repeated bronchial infection generally caused by smoking or inhaling harsh or dangerous chemicals and particulates. Chronic infections are resistant to treatment. While less common, a chronic episode of bronchitis is something to be aware of. If your cough hasn’t cleared up after more than three weeks, see a doctor for treatment options. Untreated, chronic bronchitis leads to conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Should I Be Worried?
Bronchitis has a chance of occurring from a viral infection. White it’s not generally something to worry about, there are specific symptoms that indicate you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Blood accompanies coughing
- Constant shortness of breath and/or wheezing
- Cough and/or chest mucus lasting more than three weeks
- Fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
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