Is It Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis, another complication of the flu, is an inflammation of the bronchi, the air passages or tubes to the lungs -- not of the lung tissue itself, as in pneumonia. Acute bronchitis often follows a common cold or flu or any infection of the nose and throat, usually for the same reason as pneumonia -- because your defenses are lowered, making you more susceptible to the viruses or bacteria that cause these illnesses.
Bronchitis has the following symptoms:
- a slight fever, 100 to 102 degrees F
- an irritating, dry, painful cough that starts to produce thick, yellow sputum after two or three days; at this stage the fever often recedes, and the pain from coughing diminishes
Even after the condition improves, a slight cough commonly remains for another week or two. Most cases of acute bronchitis simply represent continued inflammation from viral infection, rather than a bacterial complication. Many people benefit from short-term use of an inhaled bronchodilator. Antibiotics are generally not recommended in otherwise healthy adults with acute bronchitis, regardless of the duration of cough. But if you have a cough for three weeks or more, you should be carefully evaluated to rule out the possibility of pneumonia.