Bronchitis is an infection of your bronchial tubes, which are the air passages that connect the mouth and nose to the lungs. It can be caused by bacteria, but more commonly by viruses, and is most commonly experienced as swelling and irritation in the air passages. However, there are other side effects. Your primary care physician (PCP) can help you with many of the side effects of bronchitis. Let’s look at some side effects that can occur because of bronchitis.
Types of bronchitis
There are two categories of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is when it’s happening at the moment and usually when its symptoms are at their strongest. Specifically, different types of viruses and bacteria can cause acute bronchitis. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is when you experience it over a longer time, often with varying severity. Additionally, the chronic version of the condition tends to arise due to cigarette smoking, environmental pollutants, and altered immune systems due to age, chronic illness, or certain medical treatments.
The various symptoms of bronchitis
The main symptom of bronchitis is an irritating feeling in the airways (usually felt in the throat) and coughing. Often, this coughing produces phlegm (also known as sputum) and some pain when breathing. There are several side effects of bronchitis, including the following:
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Pain in your muscles, throat, or in your lungs, especially when coughing
- Fever, headache, and chills
- Feelings of fatigue, such as if you feel tired or weak physically
- Shortness of breath that is present when doing normal physical activity
- Sudden bursts of coughing
- Trouble breathing when lying flat on the bed
If your cough is severe or lasts longer than three weeks, if you have a fever of 100.4F or above for three days, if there is any blood in your phlegm, or you have any underlying heart or lung conditions, you should see your PCP about bronchitis immediately.
Bronchitis and pneumonia
Pneumonia, which is an infection of either one or both of your lungs, is a common complication of bronchitis. This happens when bronchitis spreads to the lungs, which occurs in roughly 5% of cases. In most cases, bronchitis can be effectively treated by antibiotics, though some severe instances can require a stay at the hospital. If you have any symptoms of pneumonia, you should get in touch with your PCP as soon as possible.
Managing the side effects of bronchitis
If you feel like you have bronchitis, you need to let your PCP know about your symptoms so that they can recommend treatments and courses of action based on your medical history and symptom severity.
If you are experiencing side effects of bronchitis, be sure to take the time to talk to your PCP. If you are in need of a PCP to help you treat your bronchitis, you have come to the right place! PCP For Life has primary care physicians located all over the Greater Houston Area to help with all your medical needs. To learn about what we can do to help or schedule an appointment, call us today at 281-968-4096.