Bronchitis

  • Alternative Names

    Inflammation - bronchi; Acute bronchitis


    Symptoms

    The symptoms of either type of bronchitis may include:

    • Chest discomfort
    • Cough that produces mucus; if it's yellow-green, you are more likely to have a bacterial infection
    • Fatigue
    • Fever -- usually low
    • Shortness of breath worsened by exertion or mild activity
    • Wheezing

    Even after acute bronchitis has cleared, you may have a dry, nagging cough that lingers for several weeks.

    Additional symptoms of chronic bronchitis include:

    • Ankle, feet, and leg swelling
    • Blue-colored lips from low levels of oxygen
    • Frequent respiratory infections (such as colds or the flu)

    Signs and tests

    The health care provider will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. Abnormal sounds in the lungs called rales or other abnormal breathing sounds may be heard.

    Tests may include:

    • Chest x-ray
    • Lung function tests provide information that is useful for diagnosis and your outlook.
    • Pulse oximetry helps determine the amount of oxygen in your blood. This quick and painless test uses a device that is placed onto the end of your finger. Arterial blood gas is a more exact measurement of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, but it requires a needle stick and is more painful.
    • Sputum samples may be taken to check for signs of inflammation or bacterial infection.