Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis

Bronchitis signs and symptoms
Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis

Coughs and colds come hand in hand every year, but when your cough becomes more irritating and inflamed it may be a sign of bronchitis. The viruses that cause the common cold are the same as those which create acute bronchitis. Each year about 5% of adults report an episode of acute bronchitis with about 90% seeking professional medical advice.


Bronchitis is a common infection that affects the lower respiratory tract where the bronchial tubes become inflamed and irritate. The inflammation is what causes mucus to build up in the airways and lead to coughing. There are two forms of bronchitis, acute and chronic bronchitis. While acute bronchitis lasts for a few days or weeks, chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition that can flare up throughout one’s lifetime.


What Are The Symptoms of Bronchitis

Although each person may experience different symptoms, some of the most common symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • Wheezing
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Back and muscle pain
  • Dry cough and mucus cough
  • Chills
  • Watery eyes
  • Tired or achy body

Although these symptoms can be similar to other medical conditions, your healthcare provider should be able to help you determine whether you have acute bronchitis through your medical history and a series of physical exams.


Some exams that may be used to confirm a bronchitis diagnosis include:

  • Cultures of nasal discharge or mucus
  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Chest X-rays
  • Pulse oximetry


Who Is At Risk For Bronchitis?

Although anyone can develop bronchitis, some patients may be at an increased risk. This includes:

  • Older adults with other chronic respiratory problems, particularly emphysema
  • Children under 5 years of ages, often with allergies or poor nutrition
  • Patients with weakened immune systems
  • Patients who have recently had a cold or respiratory infection
  • People with chronic lung conditions such as COPD or chronic health conditions

Oftentimes acute bronchitis can lead to other health conditions such as pneumonia, which causes fluid build-up within the air sacs of the lungs. Those at the highest risk for developing pneumonia alongside bronchitis are young children, older adults, and those with more significant health problems.


How Do You Treat Acute Bronchitis?

In most cases, acute bronchitis is only a mild infection and symptoms resolve on their own as lung function goes back to normal. Antibiotics should only be necessary if pneumonia is present in the system, as antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.


Oftentimes the best treatment for bronchitis is to treat the symptoms, which may include:

  • Increased fluid intake
  • Increasing humidity in the air
  • Cough medicine
  • Fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Avoiding smoking/second-hand smoke

You should try to avoid taking any antihistamines as they may cause secretions to dry up and cause a worse cough.


Normally, the symptoms of bronchitis will resolve on their own but if your symptoms begin to worsen or you develop signs of pneumonia you should call your healthcare provider.

You can contact your pharmacist to help you find the best medicine to help fight of symptoms of your bronchitis. Get antibiotics and your prescription refills delivered through your Medico Pharmacy. We offer convenient shipment to your home or office, or if you’re local, pick up at our Los Angeles pharmacy.