Bronchitis is a respiratory condition that causes your lungs' airways to become infected. This leads to the airways, medically known as bronchi, to become inflamed and irritated, causing a build-up of mucus. Your body then tries to remove the mucus through coughing.
This article focuses on the symptoms of bronchitis. You can learn more about the condition as a whole by reading our in-depth guide, which includes details on chronic and acute bronchitis.
Symptoms of Bronchitis
As we've briefly mentioned, coughing is how your body tries to remove excess mucus from your airways. Therefore, the main symptom of the condition is a hacking cough which can often bring up clear, yellow-grey, or greenish mucus. The longevity of the cough will depend on whether you have acute bronchitis (temporary - three weeks) or chronic bronchitis (three months of the year for at least two years in a row).
Other symptoms associated with condition are similar to those for the common cold or sinusitis. Symptoms include:
- Sore throat.
- Aches and pains.
- Runny and blocked nose.
With acute bronchitis, even after the symptoms above have gone you may still suffer from your cough for a few more weeks. The knock-on effect of coughing so much might be your chest and stomach muscles becoming a little sore.
Other symptoms, particularly of chronic bronchitis, may be:
- Shortness of breath.
When to Act on your Symptoms
It's advised that you make an appointment with your doctor if any of the following applies to you:
- Your cough lasts longer than three weeks.
- Your cough includes mucus streaked with blood.
- You have a constant fever of 38C or higher for more than three days.
- You have an underlying heart or lung condition.
- You're breathing more rapidly than usual.
- You begin to suffer from drowsiness or confusion.
- You’ve had repeated episodes of bronchitis.
Your GP will be looking to rule out other lung infections which have similar symptoms, and you may even be sent for a chest X-ray if he or she believes that you have pneumonia.
More on Bronchitis
To learn more about bronchitis please take a look at our in-depth guide to the condition. In the guide you will find out about the two main types of the condition, acute and chronic, the causes of bronchitis, and the treatment available.
If you're looking to become knowledgeable on the health problems likely to affect you or your loved ones, please see our guide to the 20 most common medical conditions.
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