Bronchitis is a common and often frustrating infection of the bronchial tubes (the tubes which help carry air to and from the lungs). Acute bronchitis normally consists of a persistent dry cough and may follow more typical cold symptoms such as a sore throat or runny nose. The diagnosis is based on your symptoms and the doctor’s exam, but often additional testing is needed to differentiate from more serious illnesses such as pneumonia.
Unfortunately, acute bronchitis typically lasts about 3 weeks, and the cough may keep you up at night as well as interfere with your day-to-day activities. There is no cure for bronchitis as over 90% of acute bronchitis is viral, however treatment may be indicated if there is concern for a developing bacterial infection. It is generally self-limited and cough syrups often aren’t very effective, however evidence suggests that a sedating antihistamine (such as diphenhydramine, which is the generic for regular Benadryl) may help you sleep and pelargonium or echinacea (both herbal remedies) may slightly shorten the duration of symptoms.
If you are experiencing a concerning cough, doctors at AFC Urgent Care Watertown can rule out and treat more concerning diseases such as pneumonia or asthma. Visit us at 376 Arsenal Street in Watertown, or call us at 617-923-2273.