Emergency Room for Acute Bronchitis Care
At Surepoint Emergency Centers, we understand the discomfort and frustration that persistent coughing can bring, especially for young children. That’s why our caring team of emergency physicians and nurses are available 24/7 to provide bronchitis emergency care services when you need them most. Whether you’re experiencing coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or other acute bronchitis symptoms, we’re ready to provide bronchitis emergency care, no matter the time of day!
What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is a respiratory disease-causing inflammation in the lungs, leading to symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. It can be a short-term issue (acute) or a long-lasting condition (chronic). Acute bronchitis often stems from a respiratory infection, typically resolves within weeks, and rarely recurs. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is more severe, lasting over three months and persisting even with treatment. Without intervention, bronchitis can escalate to respiratory infections or failure. Recognizing early signs is crucial. If you’re experiencing acute or chronic bronchitis symptoms, seek immediate care. Visit your local Surepoint ER for fast medical care.
What Causes Bronchitis?
When mucus blocks your bronchial tubes, it hinders the proper flow of air to your lungs, leading to symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Acute bronchitis symptoms are typically mild and improve within about a week. Chronic bronchitis is more severe and requires medical attention. Common causes of bronchitis can include:
Acute Bronchitis Causes
- Viral Infections: Are often caused by common viruses like the cold, flu, RSV, and other respiratory infections.
- Allergens and Triggers: Bronchitis can be triggered by exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust, or smoke.
- Bacterial Infections: When bacteria become trapped in the bronchial tubes, it can result in the production of thick green or yellow phlegm.
Chronic Bronchitis Causes
- Recurring Acute Bronchitis: Frequent illness may elevate the risk of acute bronchitis evolving into a chronic condition.
- Smoking: Persistent smoking stands out as the primary cause of chronic bronchitis, damaging the airways of the lungs and impeding normal breathing.
- Asthma: Individuals with asthma have an increased likelihood of developing chronic bronchitis.
- Air Pollution Impact: Residing or working in an area with subpar air quality could contribute to respiratory difficulties and potentially be a factor in chronic bronchitis development.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis?
If you have acute bronchitis, you might experience cold-like symptoms such as a mild headache or body aches. Although these symptoms typically improve within about a week, you may continue to have a persistent cough that lingers for several weeks. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is characterized by a productive cough lasting at least three months, with recurring bouts occurring for at least two consecutive years. Individuals with chronic bronchitis may undergo periods where symptoms worsen, and during these times, an acute infection may compound the chronic bronchitis. Chronic and acute bronchitis can produce the same symptoms, including:
- Fullness or blockage sensation in the chest known as chest congestion
- Coughing that may bring up mucus, ranging in color from clear to white, yellow, or green
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing or a whistling sound during breathing
- Body aches and chills
- Profound fatigue or feeling “wiped out”
- Presence of a low or high-grade fever
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
After the initial symptoms of acute bronchitis have subsided, the lingering cough may persist for a few weeks as your bronchial tubes heal and swelling diminishes. However, if the cough persists significantly beyond this period, it may indicate another critical issue and you should seek help from a medical professional.
When Should I Go to the ER for Bronchitis Treatment?
So, what can the emergency room do for bronchitis patients? The treatment we recommend depends on your unique symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. For instance, if your bronchitis is caused by a bacterial infection (acute bronchitis), the doctor might prescribe antibiotics. These medications work to clear your lung airways and make breathing easier. In more severe cases where there could be lung damage, respiratory rehabilitation or oxygen therapy might be necessary to help you breathe normally again. You might also be given an inhaler, steroids, or other medications to open up your airways. It’s essential to note that chronic bronchitis doesn’t have a cure, which is why catching symptoms early and adopting healthy habits are the best ways to protect yourself and your lungs. When deciding whether to visit the emergency room for bronchitis treatment, consider these factors:
- Drastic swings in body temperature become noticeable
- Resting heart rate exceeds 125 beats per minute
- Resting breaths escalate to 30 per minute or more
- Breathing becomes challenging
- Lips or nails take on a gray or blue hue
- Experiencing dizziness or confusion
- Fever spikes to 104 degrees or beyond
- Mucus shows signs of blood
- No improvement even after three weeks
- The illness disrupts sleep
If you’re dealing with intense bronchitis symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit one of our Surepoint Emergency Centers nearest you. We’re here 24/7 to make sure you get the relief you need!
Our Tips For Preventing Bronchitis
To prevent bronchitis, avoid situations that might inflame your bronchial tubes. Since acute bronchitis often starts with a respiratory infection, taking steps to minimize your risk of catching a virus is crucial. To prevent chronic bronchitis, the top move is to steer clear of smoking or quit if you’ve started. Considering that 75% of chronic bronchitis cases are tied to smoking, quitting substantially reduces your risk. Remember, prevention methods vary for acute and chronic bronchitis due to their distinct causes. Here are some tips to help prevent acute and chronic bronchitis at Surepoint ER:
Preventing Acute Bronchitis
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Keep hand sanitizer nearby for situations where soap and water aren’t accessible.
- Stay current on all vaccines, including the flu and pneumonia vaccines (especially if you’re over 65 or at high risk).
- Cover your cough and opt to stay home when you’re feeling unwell.
Steer clear of smoking and exposure to irritants, as they can exacerbate acute bronchitis symptoms.
Preventing Chronic Bronchitis
- Avoid environments where you might be exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Cut back on the use of aerosol sprays, such as deodorants and hair sprays, as their chemicals can irritate your airways.
- When working in dusty or fume-filled areas, wear a mask tailored to the specific type of work you’re doing.
Pay Attention to Bronchitis Emergency Warning Signs – Act Without Delay!
Take charge of your health—never leave it to chance. If you’re experiencing symptoms like persistent coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, our emergency centers are available 24/7 to provide prompt emergency care for bronchitis. Click the button below to locate a Surepoint ER near you and ensure you receive the necessary care to understand, manage, and prevent bronchitis effectively.