Symptoms of acute bronchitis may vary, but generally bronchitis would not be diagnosed without a persistent cough. Along with the cough, the patient may experience shortness of breath and/or a sensation of tightness in the lungs and chest.
The cough may or may not be a productive cough with yellow, green, or clear mucus. Wheezing is common, along with chest pain for many. Finally, there may be a fever present. All of these symptoms may come along with a cold or flu, or just after recovering from a cold or flu.
Presenting these symptoms to a medical professional, a patient may receive an x-ray of the chest area to detect visible inflammation and potential infection. Bacterial bronchitis can be detected with a sampling of the mucus or with blood tests.
For those with asthma or with other related lung conditions, bronchitis may also lead to a lung function test to ensure that the bronchitis is not drastically affecting breathing function. Finally, simply placing an oxygen monitor on the finger can determine if the patient is receiving sufficient oxygen through the lungs or not. It may be necessary for the patient to receive oxygen therapy.
Treatment for bronchitis may be as simple as a recommendation to use a humidifier or to take a steam bath. Cough medicine may ease the frustrating persistent cough. But for those who have a suspected bacterial infection, antibiotics may be required. Lastly, for those who have severe enough bronchitis, a round of steroids may be prescribed to control the inflammation.