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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger HendersonReviewed on 12.09.2023 | 3 minutes read

Bronchitis is an infection or inflammation of the bronchi, which are the largest airways of the lungs. These airways have a protective mechanism built into them where they produce mucus, this is meant to trap anything that is not welcome in the airways and could be harmful to the lungs.

When someone has bronchitis, something has irritated the airways, causing increased production of mucus. This leads to the body trying to get rid of the mucus, and causes a productive cough.

Bronchitis can be short term (acute) and longer term (chronic). Acute bronchitis lasts around three weeks and is most commonly caused by a viral infection. The definition of chronic bronchitis is a chronic cough with mucus reproduction for at least three months in two successive years when other causes have been excluded.

Chronic bronchitis is a chronic inflammatory condition in the lungs that causes the respiratory passages to be swollen and irritated. It also increases mucus production and may damage the lungs. The symptoms are coughing and breathlessness, which will get worse over the years.

When lung damage results in airflow restriction, the term 'COPD' (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is used. Smoking is the most important cause of chronic bronchitis. Other things that make it worse are air pollution and allergy. The seriousness of the disease depends on how much and for how long a person has been smoking.

Is it contagious?

Acute bronchitis can be caused by infections that may be contagious, but the condition itself is not contagious.

Healthwords pharmacists' top tips

If your cough is a chesty cough, where you're bringing up mucus and it sounds rattly or loose, or a dry tickly cough, there are different treatments that are worth trying.

For chesty coughs, treatment with a cough mixture containing guaifenesin, or herbal alternatives containing marshmallow and thyme extract may help to help loosen and expel excess mucus to clear the chest.

For a dry tickly cough at the back of the throat that is particularly troublesome and frequent, then a product such as simple linctus can help. It works by coating the back of the throat to relieve the sensation to cough, and does not generally cause drowsiness. Another option is to use a cough suppressant such as pholcodine linctus, or medication containing dextromethorphan which can help to reduce the frequency of cough.

If you have asthma or other lung conditions then you should always ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice, as some medications could make the chest tighter, or make the asthma or wheeziness worse.

Paracetamol can be used to relieve mild fever and pain.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any worrying symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fever or feeling severely unwell then you should seek urgent medical advice.

If you have had a cough for more than three weeks, you should book an appointment to discuss this with your doctor. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine you, and come up with the best next steps.

What is Wegovy and how does it work?
Wegovy is a prescription medication containing semaglutide, designed for adults dealing with obesity or an overweight BMI. It works alongside a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise to help manage weight.
Who is eligible to take Wegovy in the UK?
Adults with a BMI of 30 kg/m² or higher (obese) or 27 kg/m² or higher (overweight) with weight-related health issues like type 2 diabetes or hypertension are generally eligible. Healthwords provides an eligibility questionnaire.
How is Wegovy administered?
Wegovy is administered via a subcutaneous injection under the skin, usually on a weekly basis. Healthwords offers guidance on proper injection techniques.
How effective is Wegovy for weight loss?
Clinical studies show significant weight loss when using Wegovy along with a calorie-controlled diet and exercise. Weight loss typically ranges from 12-15% of initial body weight.
Are there any common side effects associated with Wegovy?
Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These often diminish over time, and Healthwords offers action plans for those experiencing side effects.
How long is the treatment course with Wegovy?
Treatment duration varies per individual and doctor recommendations. The maximum recommended period is 2 years, and Healthwords customizes treatment plans accordingly.
What lifestyle changes are advised while taking Wegovy?
A calorie-restricted diet and increased physical activity should accompany Wegovy use. Healthwords works with you to establish sustainable lifestyle changes.
Can I get Wegovy through a pharmacy in the UK?
No, Wegovy is prescription-only. Healthwords streamlines the prescription process and offers ongoing support.
Can I do or take other things while using Wegovy?
It's essential to follow healthcare provider advice while on Wegovy. Healthwords coordinates with healthcare professionals for overall healthcare needs.
What happens if I stop?
Stopping should be a decision made with healthcare professionals. Maintaining diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes is crucial even if you stop taking Wegovy.

Am I fit for work?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be fit for work.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 12.09.2023
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