Bronchitis or cold? How to tell the difference?

bronchitis or cold

Understanding the differences between a bronchitis or cold is very important in order to determine how to treat your condition. Although these two can have very similar symptoms including cough, fatigue, and fever, they are different and require different treatment. A cold is a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract, while bronchitis is a lower respiratory infection that affects the bronchial tubes. Therefore, with a cold, you will feel it in your nose or sinus area, but you will feel it in the lungs if you have bronchitis. A cold can potentially turn into bronchitis.

You can get a cold from being in close contact with another person who is infected with a virus. There are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold, but the most common one is the rhinovirus.

Bronchitis can be caused both by a virus or a bacterial infection. In both cases, cells that line the bronchi become infected. Trying to fight the infection, the bronchial tubes swell, which causes a cough that sometimes brings up mucus. They may also experience shortness of breath, wheezing, a low fever, and chest tightness.

Difference in symptoms ( Bronchitis or Cold )

Symptoms that can point to both cold and bronchitis include low-grade fever, cough without mucus, and fatigue.

Symptoms of a cold that are not present with bronchitis are runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and postnasal drip. Usually the first symptoms are runny nose with clear mucus, which is a sign that your body tries to wash the virus out from the infected nose and sinuses. In a few days the mucus may change to a white, yellow, or even green color, and that is still a sign that your body is fighting the infection. The runny nose and cough may continue with decrease in severity for 10 to 14 days. You should call your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms that last more than 10 days without improvement, fever that lasts longer than four days, symptoms, such as fever or cough that improve but then return, worsening of chronic medical conditions, fast or difficult breathing, and dehydration.

Symptoms of bronchitis that are not present with a cold are cough with mucus, wheezing, chest congestion, and trouble breathing. These symptoms are temporary and usually don’t cause any permanent breathing difficulties. They typically clear up in 7 to 10 days, until the immune system fights off the infection and returns your airways their normal state. You may need immediate doctor’s attention in the following cases: cough with bloody mucus, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, symptoms that last more than three weeks, and repeat episodes of bronchitis.

Similar treatments ( Bronchitis or cold )

Both of these conditions clear up on their own. There is no need for antibiotics, nor are they recommended, but you can use medications for symptom relief. You should also get plenty of rest, hydrate with lots of fluids, eat honey to relieve coughing, use nasal spray or drops to relieve a stuffy nose, use a clean humidifier or breathe in steam from hot water to cleanse airways and ease breathing.

How can you prevent getting these infections? ( Bronchitis or cold )

When it comes to bronchitis or cold , basic care of your health and hygiene can help a lot. So, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke.

If you already have a cold and you want to prevent it from turning into bronchitis, you’ll need to strengthen your immune system. You can use the convenient services of online doctor’s evaluation to get fast and accurate advice on how to improve your health.

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