Bronchitis: Types, Diagnosis, and Treatment


Bronchitis is the inflammation or blockage of your air passages that link your lungs with the nose and mouth. Common symptoms of bronchitis are fever, cough, fatigue, mucus presence, and a wheezing sound when breathing.

What are the Types of Bronchitis

The known types of bronchitis are discussed below.

Chronic Bronchitis

This is an ongoing illness. It could last for months or even years and is as a result of repeated damage and irritation of the lung and air passages. Other causes of chronic bronchitis include the repeated occurrence of acute bronchitis, history of respiratory diseases, genetic factors, or prolonged exposure to air pollutants.

A history of asthma or allergies will increase the risk of you having chronic bronchitis. Avoid smoking to reduce the risk of getting bronchitis. If the symptoms persist, make sure to rush to the emergency room near you for a check-up.

Acute Bronchitis

Commonly known as a chest cold. It is a short term inflammation of the air passages and accompanied by a cough that may produce sputum. The fever experienced is usually mild and lasts for about ten days, but the cough might persist for a week.

Other symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Body aches
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Blocked nose
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Rapid breathing or chest pains
  • Bloody mucus
  • If the fever lasts for more than three days

Visit us at our Express ER Care immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

How is Bronchitis Diagnosed

For the first few days, you may confuse bronchitis with the common cold. But with the help of your doctor, after the symptoms persist, you will be able to know what you have.

During your appointment with the doctor, they will first do a physical examination on you by listening to the distinctive sounds you might be producing while breathing. They will then ask you about your medical history, symptoms you have been experiencing, exposure to fumes and smoke, and if you had a cold or flu recently.

Other tests that might be advised depending on your answers are:

X rays – A chest x-ray will be done to determine if your symptoms are due to pneumonia or other conditions.

Pulmonary function test – You will be directed to blow into a spirometer, which will measure the amount of air your lungs can hold and quickly escape. It is also used to check for asthma signs.

Sputum test – Sputum is the mucus you cough from the lungs. This test is used to detect any illness that can be treated using antibiotics.

How is Bronchitis Treated

Depending on the diagnosis made by your doctor, a treatment procedure suitable for you will then be outlined. Acute bronchitis usually goes away after a couple of weeks without treatment. Other times our doctors at ER Express Care will recommend you rest, drink a lot of fluids, and prescribe you drugs to relieve any pain and coughing.

Chronic bronchitis, however, has multiple treatment choices. They involve:


They are inhaled as an aerosol spray. Steroids help reduce chronic bronchitis symptoms. Like any other mode of treatment, they also do have side effects. Make sure you discuss in detail the benefits and side effects that come with steroids with your doctor.


They are mainly used if the chronic bronchitis was as a result of bacterial infection. Antibiotics can also be used to treat acute bronchitis since it poses a higher risk of getting pneumonia.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

This treatment involves education, nutrition guidance, and special breathing techniques. If you have chronic bronchitis, you might be physically limited, avoid doing strenuous activities and make sure to exercise with supervision from a professional to improve your health.


They are essential in preventing infections. A flu vaccine is given annually, and after every 5 or 7 years, a pneumonia shot is administered to people with chronic bronchitis.


During an emergency treatment, a part of your damaged lung tissues might be removed.

Oxygen Therapy

Chronic bronchitis progresses with time. You might find it difficult to breathe, and you may require supplementary oxygen. Devices used for this come in different forms, and you can administer the oxygen at home.

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