A cold or flu usually lasts about a week, but after all the other symptoms are gone, you may find yourself with a cough that lingers a while longer.
The cough may be productive, in such a way that you cough up mucus (usually yellow or gray instead of clear), or dry and hacking.
A productive cough is often a sign of acute bronchitis.
Bronchitis occurs when the lining of the tubes leading to the lungs gets inflamed and begins making too much mucus. When this happens, your body must cough to clear out the extra mucus.
Acute bronchitis in an otherwise healthy person may be caused by viruses or bacteria.
Airborne irritants such as smoke, dust, chemical fumes or even cold weather may cause bronchitis.
People with asthma may also develop bronchitis more easily.
Because bronchitis is so closely related to pneumonia, it is important to get medical care to rule out pneumonia if symptoms get worse instead of better or if they last longer than a week.
A chest exam is all that is needed, but your medical provider may also order chest X-rays or a sputum culture. If your provider prescribes an antibiotic, take it as directed until it is gone, even if you feel better.
Acute bronchitis usually lasts 1 to 2 weeks. But even after the inflammation in the bronchial tubes is gone, a dry cough, sometimes with wheezing, remains for as long as 4 to 6 weeks. During this time, exposure to cold, dry air, smoke, or dust can irritate the bronchial tubes and bring on cough Over-the-counter.
Cough suppressant and decongestants may help relieve nagging cough, If the cough lasts longer than 4 to 6 weeks, consult the doctor.
Signs and Symptoms
Getting blood in sputum.
Prolonged cough that lasts longer than 4 to 6 weeks.
Continuous heavy coughing and Shortness of breath.
Person has asthma and gets symptoms of bronchitis.
Productive or dry cough after a cold or flu, no fever, and tiredness.
Here are some other things you can do on your own to treat bronchitis
Watch for signs of pneumonia which includes
shaking and chills;
white, yellow, green, blood-streaked, or rust- colored mucus;
shortness of breath;
chest pain; and
Get plenty of rest. Listen to your body, you may be able to continue your daily routine while you have bronchitis, but donít overdo you feel tired, rest.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Either can you lose body fluid, which you need to mucus thin.
If you feel you need medicine, choose a cough suppressant or an expectorant. Some cough medicines contain antihistamines or other preparations. Look for a cough preparation that has only the cough suppressant. If you are coughing mucus you might also try one with the expect rant guaifenesin.