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You turn and look at the clock on the nightstand. It’s 3 am. You’re trying to sleep, but your constant coughing is keeping you awake. On top of that, you have headaches, body aches, and your throat and chest are sore. The airways in your lungs are swollen and are developing mucus. You have bronchitis.
Bronchitis is often formed after an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus. The swelling and subsequent mucus development are the causes of the coughing that you experience. Symptoms of bronchitis include soreness in the chest, mild headaches and body aches, fatigue, sore throat and sometimes watery eyes for most healthy people, the symptoms will last less than three weeks. There are steps you can take to feel relief other than waiting it out.
Recommended at-home treatments for bronchitis can include getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, using a humidifier in your room, or using throat lozenges for a sore throat and to help suppress coughs. There are many over the counter medications that can help you feel better. As always, when using any over the counter medications it is important to follow package instructions.
Although most cases of bronchitis resolve with only supportive measures it is always important to visit a healthcare provider if you have concerns or any of the following: temperature greater than 100.4, you notice blood after coughing, you are experiencing shortness of breath or having trouble breathing or your symptoms are lasting longer than 3 weeks. It is also important to visit with your doctor if you have repeated episodes of bronchitis.
As with any illness, the key is prevention. One should always use good hand hygiene, make sure you and your children are up to date on vaccinations, and avoid cigarette smoke, chemicals or dust. Also, make sure that you always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. If possible avoid being around people when you are sick.
If you have any questions or believe you or a family member may be suffering from bronchitis and the symptoms don’t seem to be clearing up, don’t hesitate to contact us or stop by one of our clinics.