Is it a Cold or Bronchitis

Despite trying to do everything to keep those nasty germs at bay, catching a cold every year around this time seems almost a given for many of us. While a common cold doesn't usually put you down for the count, that simple cough or sniffle can hang around and develop into something more serious.

The run-of-the-mill cold we're all so familiar with comes with a scratchy throat, congested nose, and the occasional sneeze. The cough that usually accompanies your cold is another symptom; that's how your body is trying to remove the excess mucus that's building up in your lungs. You don't usually get a fever if it's just a cold, either. The symptoms will usually last 3-4 days, but you may still be congested for several days after that.

Bronchitis can evolve when your airways become irritated from the excess mucus. You may hear wheezing when you breathe, experience shortness of breath, and your mucus may be yellow or brown. That occasional cough may be more consistent, too, along with some chest discomfort. Now it's more than "just a cold."

In general, the majority of acute bronchitis cases will run their course and mostly go away on their own in a week or two (though your cough may hang on for several more weeks). However, more severe cases may require medical intervention. A visit to a health professional is a good idea, as they can determine if your condition is the result of a bacterial infection or a viral infection (which antibiotics cannot help). Otherwise, your best medicine is plenty of fluids and rest.

Don't hesitate to visit your nearest AppleCare Immediate Care Center if you think you may be developing bronchitis. It's always better to be safe than sorry.