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Bronchitis is an infection that causes the lining or your lungs to become inflamed (swollen).

Your lungs normally produce mucus that helps stop any potentially harmful particles from entering your airways. If you have bronchitis, your lungs will produce too much of this mucus, which your body will attempt to get rid of by coughing.

Bronchitis can be:

  • Acute - A severe, one-off attack that lasts a few weeks
  • Chronic - Regular bouts of bronchitis that last at least a quarter of the year

If you’re having trouble breathing or suffering from a very bad cough that you think might be bronchitis, see one of our doctors today. They’ll be able to confirm your diagnosis and, if needed, prescribe medication that’ll help with your treatment.

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Bronchitis Symptoms

A bad cough is the main symptom of bronchitis. It may be difficult or painful to produce this cough and you’re likely to bring up yellow, green or grey mucus. You may experience trouble breathing.

People with bronchitis will have symptoms similar to a cold or the flu, such as a runny or blocked nose, headache and general tiredness.

You should see a doctor as soon as possible if:

  • Your cough lasts longer than three weeks
  • You notice blood in the mucus you’re coughing up
  • You have a high fever
  • You have asthma or a pre-existing lung condition
  • You frequently find you can’t breathe
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Bronchitis Causes

The virus that causes bronchitis is the same type that leads to flu, and it’s caught in similar ways, such as human contact or touching an infected surface.

However, one of the most common activities associated with bronchitis is smoking. Inhaling smoke will irritate the lining of your lungs and make bronchitis more likely. This is true if you breathe in any form of irritant, including air pollution and chemicals from cleaning products.

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Treatment for Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis will often clear up on its own, just like any other virus. However, there are things you can do to treat it and speed up the healing process, such as getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated and avoiding smoky environments.

You may be prescribed a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to help treat your bronchitis.

If you suffer from chronic bronchitis, you can’t cure it, but you can take steps that will improve your symptoms, or make flare-ups less common, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may decide it’s necessary to refer you for further tests, such as an X-ray or a mucus sample. This is done to rule out more serious conditions, such as pneumonia.

You shouldn’t ignore the symptoms of bronchitis, so book an appointment with one of our experienced GPs to get the help you need at a time and place to suit you.

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