Respiratory Infections

How Do You Know When You Have Bronchitis?

A female doctor looks at a lung x-rayOne of the most common complaints in an emergency room or an urgent care facility is the symptoms of a respiratory infection. From wheezing and coughing to a fever or yellow or green colored mucus, these symptoms can actually indicate a very serious condition. Bronchitis and pneumonia are alarmingly common during the winter months but you may not be sure if you are just merely dealing with an ordinary cold or if it is something more serious. Here are some indications that you may have bronchitis or pneumonia and need to seek immediate care.

Bronchitis Signs and Symptoms

One of the most common misconceptions about bronchitis is that it is caused by the everyday cold. While the same viral infection can cause both illnesses, bronchitis is caused by a virus that restricts the movement of air in the lungs. This can result in fever, chills, coughing, nasal congestion, and you may cough up sputum that is green or yellow in color. In some cases, there may also be the presence of blood in the sputum, as the alveoli in the lungs are damaged with excessive coughing. Should you experience any shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping due to cough or congestions, excessive fever or lightheadedness or fainting, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible.

Pneumonia Signs and Symptoms

Pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria that affect the lungs. It causes many of the same symptoms as bronchitis as well as chest wall pain, extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and a fast heartbeat. Pneumonia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and many of these people might have survived if they had sought treatment earlier.

Why Do So Many People Get Respiratory Infections?

There are a number of reasons. From smoking to pollution to exposure to other chemicals, acute respiratory infections are very common. Bacterial respiratory infections are becoming more common as the antibiotics used to treat these conditions are not as effective as they once were. One of the reasons for this is because many people do not finish all of their medication as directed; as soon as they begin to feel better, they stop taking their medication.

Other than antibiotics, treatment may also include breathing treatments to open the airways, decongestants to help with nasal congestion, cough medicines, rest, and plenty of fluids. Water will help thin the mucus, making it much easier for the patient to expel.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

It’s very important that you seek medical help if you think you have either bronchitis or pneumonia. It’s not advisable to wait until morning to see if you feel better or to try to get an appointment scheduled. The sooner you seek treatment, the better chance there is of shortening the duration of the infection. If you are coughing up yellow or green mucus, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t wait until morning – come on over to Owl Now Urgent Care and we will help you get on the road to feeling better.