Acute bronchitis is an upper respiratory infection that causes inflammation and swelling of the airways. Its symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory infections, such as the common cold.
First of all, let’s get the basics sorted. According to John Hopkins Medicine, acute bronchitis is an upper respiratory infection that causes inflammation and swelling of the airways. Its symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory infections, such as the common cold. However, acute bronchitis can be more severe than a simple coldbecause it affects both your lungs and your breathing. After consulting WebMD, CDC, and NHS, these are the most common symptoms:
Coughing is a common symptom of acute bronchitis. When you cough, you're clearing your throat and lungs to get whatever irritant out of there, whether it's phlegm or something else. A dry cough is when you have no phlegm in your lungs but are still coughing up mucus from your throat.
Wheezing or shortness of breath
Wheezing is a whistling sound you make when you breathe. It's an indication that your airways are narrowed and not allowing enough air to pass through, which can make it feel like you're having trouble breathing.
If you hear wheezing in someone else who has acute bronchitis symptoms—or if they mention hearing their own whistled breathing—it's important to tell them right away because it could indicate asthma rather than acute bronchitis or pneumonia (though both conditions can cause wheezing).
Chest discomfort, tightness or pain
Chest discomfort, tightness or pain is usually felt in the upper chest and sometimes down into the mid-chest. It can be sharp or dull, mild or severe. Chest pain may be constant (continuous) or intermittent (coming and going).
Fatigue or weakness
Fatigue or weakness is another common symptom. This may be caused by a low-grade fever, which can cause your body to use more energy in an effort to fight the infection. It may also be caused by an inability to breathe easily; when your airways are inflamed and narrowed, it will take more effort for you to breathe than usual.
Low fever and chills
Fever is a symptom of many diseases, including acute bronchitis. Fever is a sign that your immune system is working to fight off an infection. Chills are another symptom of acute bronchitis, which causes shaking and shivering because the body tries to maintain its core temperature when it feels too hot.
A headache may be the only symptom of acute bronchitis that you notice, but it's not the main one to worry about if you have acute bronchitis symptoms.
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John Hopkins Medicine: Acute Bronchitis