Coughs and company call at the Holidays. Coughs, Colds, Bronchitis and infections came with the company.
While families and friends across the country were sharing warmth and love, many of them also shared viruses.
At FLASS, the doctors and healthcare professionals have noticed that many patients interchangeably use terms like colds, coughs, bronchitis, and the flu. Likewise, they might confuse pneumonia with bronchitis. Even in our waiting room, we hear patients misusing the names of these actual conditions in generalized and non-specific ways.
Coughs are Symptomatic of Many Conditions
Other patients like Doreen whose story is below, simply assume that a cough is part of the aging process This is also untrue. Thus, this week’s blog ushers in the New Year with our most easily confused common respiratory conditions. The inspiration for this blog article is roughly based on commentary heard in our own reception area. It is heard from our own friends and family–and of course, from Doreen. Read on to see how…
Coughs do not Always Come With Colds
Yes, you can get the virus that causes colds when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you. However, every discomfort from an itchy nose, sinus infection or strep throat seems to get called a “cold.” So, let’s look at what a cold actually is.
A virus causes the common cold. It “brings on a runny nose, sneezing, and sometimes fever. It may irritate your lungs and airways.” It may give “you a cough, triggering asthma or infections like pneumonia or bronchitis.”
The experts at WebMD affirm, “There’s no cure, so expect to sniffle and sneeze for 7 to 10 days” So, “See your doctor if your symptoms worsen, you have a fever for 5 or more days, or you have a severe sore throat.”
Likewise, we know that “More than 200 different types of viruses are known to cause the common cold.These occur with “Rhinovirus causing approximately 30%-40% of all adult colds. Other commonly implicated viruses include -coronavirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and para-influenza virus.”
Knowing about all those viruses and their constant new mutations and adaptations helps us understand why colds happen so commonly and regularly. As “…new cold viruses constantly develop, the body never builds up resistance against all of them. For this reason, colds are a frequent and recurring problem.” And of course, a cold is not at all the same as the true flu from an influenza virus. Check out more ways to differentiate colds from the flu. Also, take a microscopic photo look at the differing viruses within this noteworthy article.
Coughs, Your Bronchitis Diagnosis, and Doreen’s Embroidery
You have symptoms which not only include a cough with mucus but a wheeze. As one 76-year-old patient, a lanky retired teacher named Doreen, stated it thur. “My Chest is making a funny old lady noise. When I cough, It sounds exactly like my embroidery thread when I yank it right through a really tight embroidery hoop.” And she demonstrated, “Hooopah…Hoooop. It’s so ugly, Doctor,” she sighed.
If your other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, fever and a sense of a “bad” cold, your doctor or healthcare professional at FLASS might give you a bronchitis diagnosis. In that case, welcome to the illness that is too bad to be a cold. And it is not bad enough to be pneumonia.
FLASS wants you to know that Bronchitis is not as dangerous as pneumonia. But, it does deserve a respectful amount of attention. The special sound made by bronchitis happens as a result of inflammation in the bronchioles. In addition to making that weird and sickening sound, the bronchioles also manufacture too much mucus during bronchitis. Please do not neglect a cough that brings up thick mucus tainted with various obnoxious colors and sometimes flecks of blood.
Chronic versus Acute Bronchitis
Did you know there are two types of bronchitis?
Type One: A Cough that Persists 2-3 Months and repeats the pattern the following year for 2 years or more. We call this Chronic Bronchitis.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “infection, illness, or exposure to tobacco smoke or other irritating substances in the air” might instigate this type of cough and inflammation.
Type Two: We diagnose “Acute” or short-term bronchitis much more often than the chronic type. “Acute or short-term bronchitis is more common and usually is caused by a viral infection.”
At FLASS, we give you straight talk about lung disease. Sometimes, as a partner in your journey to feel healthy, we must ask you to adapt some of your behavior. Thus, we would be remiss if we did not inform you that smoking can greatly aggravate acute bronchitis.
The Possible Dream
Cessation of the smoking habit is not impossible. Doreen had smoked a pack of cigarettes per day for 58 years. But, with a support system and medication, she hasn’t had a cigarette in a year and a half. She left her last pack in the office at FLASS after a particularly bad bout with bronchitis. Happy New Year, Doreen! In addition to ceasing her smoking habit, Doreen credits her medication, breathing exercises and other elements of her customized FLASS Action Plan for changing her life.
So, remember colds, coughs, bronchitis and the flu are not interchangeable terms. We hope none of you have contracted any of these common wintry diseases. Likewise, we hope you return to the blog next week to find out the differences between them and pneumonia