Bronchitis, Pneumonia, & Asthma
Table of Contents
Bronchitis is a condition that occurs when the bronchial tubes get inflamed and irritated. Because these tubes carry air both into and out of your lungs, the inflammation causes several noticeable symptoms.
Bronchitis can present either chronically or acutely.
The word acute here means “occurring suddenly.” Acute bronchitis is a common condition that can develop after you get a cold or get the flu. Bacterial infections can also cause bronchitis, but these cases are not as common as virus-related cases.
Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis
- Dry coughing that later becomes productive
- Muscle ain
- Back pain
- Chest tightness
- Runny nose
- Mild fever
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Wheezing in the chest
The infection itself usually resolves within a few days, but it will still leave the bronchial tubes irritated and inflamed for several more weeks. While the inflammation lasts, so will your cough and some of the original symptoms.
Acute Bronchitis Treatment
Because most cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections, you usually won’t need antibiotics. Treatments for bronchitis can include:
- Oral steroids
- Cough suppressants
- Prescription inhalers
- Prescription doses of pain relievers
If you have bronchitis, be sure to drink plenty of fluids so your body has enough to flush out the infection. You may also benefit from one of our IV cocktail therapy treatments to boost your body’s immune system while rehydrating and restoring your body’s essential nutrients.
Similar to bronchitis, this respiratory condition involves the infection and inflammation of tissue in the respiratory system. However, instead of the bronchial tubes, pneumonia infections occur in the part of the lungs where the oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream and CO2 is excreted.
What Causes Pneumonia?
Typically pneumonia is caused by viruses, fungi, and bacteria that have managed to infect the bronchioles or the alveoli in the lungs. The infection then causes inflammation as the body tries to fight off the invading germs. Fluid, white blood cells, and proteins are then sent to the infection site to help fight off the infection.
Symptoms of Pneumonia
- Phlegm production
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Sharp or stabbing pain in the chest that gets worse when breathing heavy or coughing
- Lose of appetite
- Fast breathing
- Discolored lips and nail beds
Pneumonia is a serious infection and will require a medical diagnosis. Our doctors can perform sputum tests on a first appointment, and draw blood samples to be submitted to our lab for further testing. Pneumonia may also be diagnosed based on your medical history.
If you’re experiencing pneumonia symptoms, you should seek medical attention and diagnosis right away. The sooner an infection is identified and treated the lower your risk will be of needing serious medical care.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following treatments to help resolve pneumonia infections.
Because the most common cause of pneumonia is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are generally the most effective treatment for pneumonia infections. As these medicines target and kill the bacteria causing the infection, most symptoms will resolve within two weeks, but you may still feel fatigued for up to a month.
Because the coughing caused by pneumonia is productive and helps expel infection from your body, your doctor may prescribe a cough suppressant medicine only powerful enough to soothe your cough during the night.
Tissues exposed to prolonged inflammation from infection can become damaged and may take longer to heal after the infection passes. Inflammation can also cause pain and irritation where present. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve your symptoms.
Call Medical House Calls to receive treatment for non-life-threatening pneumonia* in the comfort of your home
*Disclaimer: Our house call doctors are qualified to treat only non-life-threatening cases of pneumonia.
Asthma is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the airways, resulting in difficulty breathing. Excess mucus production may also present with difficulty breathing. Additional symptoms include:
- Wheezing when breathing out
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Problems sleeping at night during asthma flare-ups
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition with no known cause, but there are recognizable triggers that cause flare-ups. Asthma triggers include:
- Second-hand smoke
- Exposure to chemicals
- Respiratory conditions like the common cold and the flu
- Sinus infections
- Pet dander
- Cold air
- Dust mites
- Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Some medications can also cause asthma flareups, including beta-blockers and anti-inflammatory medications.
What Are The Risk Factors for Asthma?
- Family history of asthma
- Other topical allergies
- History of smoking
- Second-hand smoke
- Exposure to airborne chemicals or pollutants
- Chemical pollutants in your work environment
Can I Be Tested for Asthma At Home?
Our house call doctors can perform preliminary asthma tests to see how you respond to stimuli. If it’s clear that your symptoms are asthmatic, we will prescribe medicine to help relieve your symptoms.
If further testing is needed, our doctors can give you a referral for local immunological testing and x-ray testing.
Can Asthma Be Cured?
Asthma is a chronic condition and cannot be cured. However, symptoms are manageable if you are aware of your triggers. Prescribed medication can also help calm flare-ups.
Many types of asthma must be diagnosed before effective treatment can be offered. Our house call physicians can evaluate and perform tests for asthma right in the comfort of your home.
Asthma treatments typically include using a medicated inhaler with one of the following properties:
- Short-acting beta agonists
- Long-acting beta agonists
- Anticholinergics (albuterol, ipratropium, ipratropium)
- Combination inhalers
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Leukotriene modifiers (oral medication)
- Theophylline (oral medication)
- Cromolyn sodium inhalers
- Oral steroids (e.g. prednisone)
Our providers will give you the utmost care and attention as we help you find the right treatment for you.
Can I Be Active if I Have Asthma?
Many people with asthma lead active and healthy lifestyles. Low-intensity endurance exercise like walking, swimming, yoga, hiking, and short-distance running are all good options for people who have asthma. However, you should always talk with your doctor before beginning any training program, especially if you have a history of asthma. Your doctor may give you preventative medicine to use before you exercise, as well as instructions for how to prepare yourself for exercise.
Types of Asthma
In general, there are four main types of asthma, followed by niche cases of flare-ups characterized by their triggers.
Mild Intermittent Asthma
Intermittent asthma symptoms occur less than twice per week and don’t cause great interruptions to daily life.
Mild Persistent Asthma
The classification of mild persistent asthma is given to symptoms that present more than twice per week but less than daily. Nighttime asthma attacks also occur 3 or 4 times per month. However, attacks do interrupt daily activities.
Moderate Persistent Asthma
Asthma symptoms occur on a daily basis and interfere with daily activities. As a result, short-term asthma attack medication is needed every day.
Nighttime asthma attacks occur more than once per week, but not every day.
Severe Persistent Asthma
This is the most advanced type of asthma and is characterized by frequent occurrences of symptoms throughout the day. As a result, attacks interfere with daily life and require the use of medication often.
At this stage, many people cannot participate in heavy physical activity without experiencing an asthma flare-up.
Other Specified Asthma Types
Many people with asthma have mild to moderate symptoms, but their asthma attacks are caused only by certain triggers. Some of these symptoms can even be found in people who do not have asthma.
Exercised Induced Asthma
Even for people without asthma, exercise can cause asthma-like breathing problems. Narrowing of the airways occurs between 5 and 20 minutes from the start of exercise and might get worse within a few minutes after exercise.
If symptoms occur frequently, your doctor might prescribe an inhaler to help alleviate symptoms.
Another rare type of asthma that is hard to diagnose, is cough-induced or cough-variant asthma. Any symptom that might irritate the throat or airways, can cause a coughing fit that narrows the airways. If you notice problems with a persistent cough, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Nighttime Asthma (Nocturnal Asthma)
Some people experience symptoms of asthma at night while they are trying to sleep.
Symptoms of nocturnal asthma include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness of the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty sleeping connected to breathing problems
Because people with nocturnal asthma can have a hard time sleeping, additional symptoms may also be present. Secondary symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive sleepiness