The Urgent Care Association of America’s 2016 Benchmarking Report found that the most common illnesses diagnosed at urgent care centers in 2015 were acute upper respiratory infection, acute sinusitis, acute pharyngitis, cough, and acute bronchitis. That being said, bronchitis isn’t always easy to diagnose, as its symptoms are also related to other respiratory issues. While bronchitis is often caused by smoking, it’s characterized as a worsening cough that persists for two to three months. Here’s what you need to know about seeking treatment for bronchitis.

Diagnosing Bronchitis
Bronchitis affects approximately 8.7 million U.S. adults each year. It occurs when the bronchioles, the small tubes within main tubes, bronchi, in the lungs, become inflamed. Sometimes, a common cold can essentially turn into bronchitis. This is typically a result of the increased mucus production and irritants created and passed through your lungs and airway. Keep in mind that those who smoke or live with smokers are at a perpetually higher risk of developing the illness. This is also the case for those who may have been exposed to air irritants and toxins, like chemicals present in some work sites.

Bronchitis onsets in both acute and chronic forms. While acute bronchitis starts suddenly and persists for only a few weeks, chronic bronchitis is typically a result of smoking and can occur for as often as two to three months each year. 

Could You Have Pneumonia?
Difficulty breathing is a common symptom of bronchitis, but it’s sometimes confused with pneumonia, another serious illness. While pneumonia onsets as an infection in the lungs, it’s considered to have worse symptoms than those associated with bronchitis. Fortunately, both can be treated quickly and conveniently. Just seek convenient medical treatment for a proper diagnosis and antibiotic prescription.

In the 2015 fiscal year, urgent care centers reported seeing an average of nearly 12,000 patients. That amounts to an average of three patient care visits per hour or 32 visits each day. Local emergency clinics like urgent care are designed to treat multiple types of respiratory issues, so if you feel as though you may have bronchitis or another respiratory illness, it’s important to seek proper treatment immediately. For more information about local emergency clinics or urgent care clinics, contact LegacyER.