Diagnosis of Acute Bronchitis

The bronchial tubes carry air to and from the lungs and are often susceptible to infection. Bronchitis is an infection of these airways and can be diagnosed as acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is common and often results from a cold or the flu. Chronic bronchitis is a more serious, persistent condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, acute bronchitis normally only requires self-care treatments, so it is important to accurately diagnose this disorder to ensure that this is not a more serious condition. Your doctor or health-care professional will look for a variety of signs to establish a diagnosis of acute bronchitis.

Persistent cough

Patients suffering from acute bronchitis will experience a persistent cough that will linger for some time after the infection is resolved. Bronchitis is only considered chronic when the cough lasts from three months onward, according to the Mayo Clinic. The cough caused by acute bronchitis is likely to disrupt your sleep and will normally stay steady or worsen for between 10 days and two weeks. According to The New York Times, it will often start out dry and irritating but will become increasingly loose over time.

Production of mucus

An acute bronchial infection causes production of mucus that may be visible when you cough. When you have acute bronchitis, your body produces more mucus to attack the cause of the infection. Antibodies in the mucus seek out any and kill the virus that caused the bronchitis. The mucus produced by acute bronchitis sufferers can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green. Signs of blood in the mucus may point to a more serious condition and should be investigated further.

Other symptoms

Other general symptoms may point a diagnosis of acute bronchitis if identified in addition to the cough and mucus problems. Patients will normally experience a shortness of breath and/or may find that they wheeze during breathing. They are likely to experience a general feeling of malaise as they would a cold or a minor case of the flu. A tickle in the back of the throat may lead to soreness. They can also experience minor chest pain and or soreness or tightness in the chest. A minor fever is possible. In some cases, patients experience moderate chills.

If you believe that you or a member of your family has acute bronchitis, you should always seek the advice of a medical professional. In most cases, there will be no reason for concern, but your doctor should ensure that the symptoms do not point to a more serious condition.

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