Can COVID-19 Turn into Bronchitis?

Written By Abeer Fatima
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Adnan Maqsood


Family Urgent Care is one of the fastest-growing providers of urgent medical care and telehealth. We have 3 locations in the heart of Chicago and Schererville. No appointments are required, and most clinics are open seven days a week, to treat non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
can covid turn into bronchitis

Imagine waking up to a scratchy throat and an irritating cough on a cold morning. While COVID is still looming around, many people wonder if the severe flu from the virus can turn into other severe complications like bronchitis.

Fret not! In this blog, we will guide you through the connection between COVID-19 and bronchitis and their differences in symptoms and treatment. You might be wondering whether you’ve got COVID or if it’s any other respiratory condition.

Further in the blog, you’ll also explore the role of urgent care in COVID and bronchitis management and care. 

Can COVID-19 Lead to Acute Bronchitis?

Yes, COVID-19 can lead to bronchitis, as it affects the respiratory system of the body. Bronchitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are responsible for passing air to the lungs.

The inflammation in the tube causes various symptoms like cough, shortness of breath and excessive mucus production. 

Understanding the connection between COVID-19 and bronchitis is really important. Both illnesses might have similar symptoms. The virus can trigger inflammation in the bronchial tubes, and then gradually, COVID-19 can lead to bronchitis as well. 

If you experience any concerning symptoms, like a persistent cough along with COVID-19 symptoms, it is recommended that you go for a medical checkup to evaluate your condition further.  

How Does COVID-19 Affect You If You Have Bronchitis?

Having COVID, along with bronchitis, can be a challenging situation for many people as it can complicate the symptoms of COVID-19. The infection in the airways can make it harder to breathe, and this can lead to more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest congestion and low-grade fever. 

Some overlapping symptoms of COVID-19 and bronchitis include: 

  • Dry or productive cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and body ache
  • Fever 

On days when COVID is on the rise (flu seasons), you can go for COVID testing at nearby urgent care for prompt testing and also receive general health counseling on how you can prevent your condition from worsening. 

Differences in Symptoms of Bronchitis vs COVID

Bronchitis SymptomsCOVID Symptoms
Coughing (with or without mucus)No loss of taste and smellSoreness in the chestFatigueFeverMild body aches & headaches (may or not occur)Cough (mostly without mucus)Loss of taste and smellSore throat Shortness of breathNauseaFever or chillsBody aches, muscle aches or headaches (may or not happen)

Should I Go To Urgent Care for Bronchitis or COVID?

If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms like cough, sore throat, loss of taste or smell and need prompt relief, you should consider seeking medical attention from an urgent care clinic. Let’s explore how visiting urgent care for bronchitis and COVID might be helpful. 

  1. Prompt Diagnosis 

Urgent care clinics provide a quick diagnosis for respiratory conditions through physical examination and evaluation of symptoms as they have less patient volume than hospitals. 

If you have severe symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend a chest X-ray to evaluate your condition further. The lab tests helps recognize the underlying cause and make a treatment plan according to your condition.

  1. Follow-up Checkups 

If the patient is experiencing any concerning symptoms, despite following a treatment plan, urgent care providers recommend visiting a clinic for a follow-up. Some clinics even offer telehealth video or phone consultations so that you can share your queries or concerns from the comfort of your home. 

  1. Prescribe Medication 

Urgent care providers can prescribe medications for both bronchitis and COVID-19. For the management of bronchitis, your doctor might review your existing medications or prescribe medicines such as cough suppressants, antibiotics or bronchodilators, as deemed necessary. 

For patients suffering from COVID, medications might include corticosteroids such as dexamethasone and supportive care like over-the-counter pain relievers and antipyretics (fever reducers).

What Can You Do About COVID-19 and Bronchitis at Home?

Struggling with COVID-19 symptoms or bronchitis? Let’s explore simple steps you can take to feel better and recover faster without having to go out.

  1. Steam Inhalation 

Steam inhalation is one of the most recommended age-old remedies. It helps clear the nasal passages and makes it easier to breathe. 

Doing steam inhalation 2-3 times per day for 10–15 minutes helps moisturize the respiratory passage, loosens the thick mucus in the respiratory tubes, and improves chest discomfort. Therefore, if you have a persistent cough with mucus or stuffy nose, try steam inhalation at home. 

  1. Gargle With Salt Water

People who have bronchitis may feel irritation or a scratchy sensation during swallowing. This is due to a severe cough. Gargling with salt water is a traditional way to soothe your throat, which provides temporary relief by reducing inflammation and easing discomfort. 

If you are experiencing symptoms like coughing and throat irritation, then gargle with salt water at least two to three times a day. 

  1. Get Enough Sleep

The symptoms of COVID-19 or bronchitis can make you feel tired, so it is important to get enough sleep as it recharges your immune system and body as a whole. 

And if you’re unable to sleep due to a cough, you can try using an extra pillow under your head as elevating it slightly might relieve the nagging discomfort. 

Visit Family Urgent Care for Managing COVID or Bronchitis

We are more than an urgent care clinic! Whether you need management of COVID or bronchitis, or follow-up care, we provide a wide range of services to all our patients. 

We are well-equipped with state-of-the-art lab testing facilities and ensure accurate diagnosis for our patients. You can also book an online video or phone to discuss your symptoms or any health-related concerns with your doctor. 

So, visit our Family Urgent Care clinic today and experience prompt, compassionate care for you and your loved ones. 

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