Here’s What You Need To Know About Bronchitis

Did you know it's usually caused by a virus?

It’s not uncommon for people to get sick when the seasons begin to change, and the wintertime especially leaves people susceptible to illnesses like bronchitis. The chest cold can affect people of all ages, and it occurs most commonly in the winter. Getting sick is the worst, so you’ll want to do all you can to prevent you and your family from getting this unwelcome sickness.

Here’s everything you need to know about bronchitis:

1. What Is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lungs that follows from illnesses such as the common cold, but it can also be caused by exposure to smoke, chemical irritants, or bacteria, according to WebMD. In nine out of 10 cases, however, bronchitis is caused by a virus.

The illness is characterized by swelling in the lungs that narrows your breathing passages, making it harder to breathe and causing your lungs to secrete extra mucus.

2. What Are The Symptoms?

Symptoms of bronchitis usually occur after a few days of a cold or flu, the Mayo Clinic says. It could bring up mucus that is green, yellow-green or clear in color.

You may also experience fatigue, shortness of breath and chest discomfort. Cold symptoms usually subside after a few day, but the cough can linger for weeks.

3. How Can It Be Treated?

A doctor can run a number of tests to see if you have bronchitis, but most cases of acute bronchitis can improve without treatment. When bronchitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics cannot be used to treat it.

Of course, you’ll need to drink fluids and get a lot of rest, according to Healthline. Occasionally doctors will prescribe cough medications to help alleviate symptoms or to help with sleep at night if your cough is bothering you. Using a humidifier can also provide relief by loosening mucus in your airways.

Getting bronchitis is no fun, but it’s also not a cause for alarm. However, since the symptoms of bronchitis can be similar to those of asthma, pneumonia, the flu, and even lung cancer, it’s important to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.