You or your child wakes up with a persistent cough, feeling achy, and rather fatigued; you know you’re sick, but knowing what you’re sick with is another thing. Millions of people suffer from bronchitis, the common cold, and the flu this time of year, but how do you know what to treat if you have no official diagnosis?
This is every parents worst nightmare, as we often don’t run to urgent care to have our kids checked out as we just assume they have a virus or a cold and that it’ll pass in a few days. This is where it becomes very tricky, and we have to use caution and let them be treated.
Bronchitis is an ugly respiratory disease that affects the lungs and is referred to as either acute or chronic. It goes after the mucus membranes in the bronchial passageways, causing inflammation that leads to coughing spells. Acute bronchitis can develop due to bacterial and viral infections and may go away on its own between two and four weeks.
Chronic bronchitis is a much more serious condition that’s brought on mostly by cigarette smoking or repeatedly inhaling bronchial irritants such as dust and chemicals. This serious disorder can last for months at a time and also requires medical assistance. Whereas chronic bronchitis can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, acute bronchitis can be treated at home in less severe cases.
The major symptoms of acute bronchitis include:
• Dry cough or coughing up phlegm
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness
• Sore throat
Whether it’s caused by a virus or bacteria, acute bronchitis is contagious and spread by coughing or sneezing. Getting plenty of rest and fluids, including taking aspirin to treat a fever, can help relieve the symptoms associated with the infection. Doctors don’t usually prescribe antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Don’t have the crazy coughing, but still just don’t feel well? You could have something much less severe like a cold, or a sinus infection. The best preventative measure is to see your medical provider and go from there. If you need antibiotics, they can provide that for you, and get you back to good health to enjoy the holidays!