Acute bronchitis is a short inflammation of the brochure. The bronchial tubes are responsible for transporting oxygen from your windpipe to the lungs. This bronchitis is mainly caused by cold viruses and often occurs with or after a cold.
Symptoms include coughing, which can persist for a long time after acute bronchitis has subsided. Acute bronchitis can be uncomfortable and persistent, but it is usually not serious in otherwise healthy people.
Acute bronchitis usually heals on its own after a few weeks. Medicines are usually not necessary, but they can help to alleviate the symptoms somewhat.
How is acute bronchitis diagnosed?
If the cough persists, the doctor usually asks the following questions:
- How long does the cough last?
- Has the cough changed?
- Is the cough dry, or is it coughing up phlegm?
- What does the sputum look like? Is there blood?
- Were there any other complaints, such as fever or circulatory problems?
- How sick do you feel (fever)
- Have you recently been in contact with other people with similar symptoms?
- Do you have any other - possibly chronic - illnesses?
The answers can often judge whether it is acute bronchitis or another disease.
The doctor usually uses a stethoscope to listen to the lungs and heart during the physical exam. In addition, the lymph nodes in the neck are palpated, the throat and ears are looked at, and the sinuses are tapped. Fever, pulse, and blood pressure are also sometimes measured.
Further examinations (such as chest x-rays or blood tests) are only necessary if other diseases, such as pneumonia are to be ruled out.
Acute bronchitis usually fades off with therapy. If you feel weak and sick, you should take it easy for a few days. This also means no sport or other strenuous physical activities. Most people find hot tea or broth beneficial. It is scientifically unclear whether it helps to drink much more than usual.
Medication is usually not necessary. However, drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can sometimes be helpful to relieve symptoms such as fever and pain.
Other treatments include:
- A cough reliever (if you are not coughing mucus)
- Bronchodilator to clear your airways
Since viruses mainly cause acute bronchitis, antibiotics are of little help. However, they can have side effects and lead to resistance. Antibiotics are therefore not recommended for the treatment of bronchitis.
The typical symptom of acute bronchitis is a cough. The cough usually begins as a dry, irritating cough. This later often turns into a cough with sputum or so-called productive cough. This releases mucus from the airways that are coughed up. The color of the sputum can change over time, for example, from whitish to yellow-greenish.
The cough often occurs at night and then prevents the sick from sleeping. A strong cough can also cause pain behind the breastbone and make breathing difficult for some people.
If acute bronchitis occurs together with a cold, there are often other symptoms. These can include symptoms such as;
- mild fever
- runny nose
- sore throat
It is advisable to see your physician if a sore throat or runny nose develops into a persistent cough.