A nagging cough may be more than just an annoying interruption – it could be the sign of a more serious underlying condition like bronchitis. Dr. Matthew Levin, a board-certified family physician with offices in Delmont and Greensburg, Pennsylvania diagnoses and treats patients of all ages with the symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis. Call for an appointment or schedule a consultation online at either location.
Bronchitis is a viral condition in which the lining of your bronchial tubes becomes inflamed, infected and swollen. Bronchitis usually develops after a cold or another respiratory infection. Bronchial tubes carry air to your lungs, so when they aren’t functioning properly, you cough a lot, and your body produces extra mucus.
Acute bronchitis usually improves in a week to 10 days as you recover from your cold or flu. It doesn’t produce lasting side effects, although you may have a lingering cough. Chronic bronchitis that doesn’t go away or occurs repeatedly requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis may also be part of a more comprehensive condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Bronchitis symptoms include a cough, difficulty breathing and any of the following:
When symptoms don’t improve, or they continue to get worse, it’s a good idea to let Dr. Levin listen to your lungs through his stethoscope and discuss your symptoms with him. He may also order a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia or other illnesses that might be causing your cough and chest congestion.
Since bronchitis is the result of a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help. But, Dr. Levin may recommend cough medicines to help you sleep better and control coughing during the day. If your bronchitis is chronic and you have asthma or COPD, too, Dr. Levin may prescribe an inhaler or other medications that help reduce inflammation in your bronchial tubes.
To relieve your symptoms at home, try the following:
Chronic bronchitis treatment may include a pulmonary rehabilitation program in which a respiratory therapist teaches you some breathing exercises and helps you manage your lifestyle to minimize symptoms.
If you have a cough that isn’t going away, call or schedule an appointment online so Dr. Levin can accurately diagnose the cause and prescribe the most effective treatment.