Bronchitis is something that’s very common in both children and adults. The number of bronchitis cases seems to rise each winter, and then fall again in the spring and summer. It’s no secret that illness is more common in the colder months, but it turns out, the weather isn’t to blame. So what should patients know about Bronchitis? What are some other ways in which
What Causes Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is most commonly caused by a common upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold. The virus travels through your body and inflames the bronchial tubes, causing acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is more commonly caused by irritation from secondhand smoke and other environmental factors, but the number of people affected by this type of bronchitis is significantly lower.
Why Does Winter Cause More Cases of Bronchitis?
If the weather doesn’t cause people to get sick, why is there always more bronchitis cases in the winter? Since bronchitis is caused by a virus, it’s contagious. Bronchitis can be caught by breathing in droplets from someone who has a virus, or from touching an infected surface covered with droplets and then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. Cold weather doesn’t actually cause viruses, but it does cause people to spend significantly more time indoors. When people are spending more time indoors, closer to one another, viruses are bound to spread.
Bronchitis symptoms are generally the same across the board, although some people may have more severe versions of these symptoms than others. Common symptoms include:
- A persistent cough
- Mucus when you cough – often green or yellow in color
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort and tightness
- Low grade fever
- Wheezing when you breathe – this is a less common symptom
Acute bronchitis typically goes away on its own in 1 to 2 weeks, but a cough can linger for much longer. If your symptoms aren’t improving on their own or if they become so severe it’s disrupting your sleep and ability to catch your breath, you need help from a medical professional. Using antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis is a possibility, but it’s viewed as a last resort. Instead, you physician will likely try to make your symptoms more manageable using high dose cough medications, breathing treatments, and a combination of home remedies to prevent further irritation.
If you believe you’re suffering from bronchitis, don’t delay treatment! Visit your local urgent care center today to get high-quality diagnosis, treatment, and continuation of care.