Bronchitis: Symptoms, causes & treatment

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation caused in the lining of the bronchial tubes that carry hair in and out of your lungs. People who are affected by bronchitis used to cough with thickened mucus.

Types of Bronchitis

Bronchitis is of two types namely acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is very common bronchitis that develops via a cold or through other respiratory infections. Chronic bronchitis is a severe condition that causes inflammation in the bronchial tubes. The major cause of bronchitis is smoking. In some cases, bronchitis may end up in lung cancer.

However, Chronic bronchitis needs compulsory medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is an important condition that is included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Symptoms of Bronchitis

Some of the common signs and symptoms for bronchitis include:

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  • Cough
  • Over Production of mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Discomfort in chest

If you are diagnosed with acute bronchitis, you may face symptoms like cold, mild or severe headaches and sometimes body aches. These symptoms improve within a week and may lead to a prolonged cough for several weeks.

If you have chronic bronchitis, you may face problems like periods when your cough gets worse.

Causes of bronchitis

  • Cause of Acute bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is caused due to different viruses. The viruses that cause colds and flu are responsible for the cause of acute bronchitis. In general, Antibiotic medications don’t kill viruses that cause bronchitis.

  • Cause of Chronic bronchitis

The primary cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking. Air pollution and toxic gases also lead to the contribution of chronic bronchitis to your body.

Common complications and risk factors of bronchitis

Things that increase the risk of bronchitis include:

Cigarette smoke: People who smoke or inhale smoke from other people have a huge risk of getting affected by acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.

Low resistance: Due to bronchitis, your immune system may get seriously affected. Older adults and infants have a greater vulnerability to infection.

Exposure to irritants: Your chances of developing bronchitis are higher if you have lung irritation.

Gastric reflux: Continuous heartburn irritates your throat and eventually develops bronchitis.

Complications

Bronchitis may lead to pneumonia for some people. Repeated occurrence of bronchitis indicates a symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in your body.

Prevention of Bronchitis

Here’s how you can prevent bronchitis:

  • Avoid cigarettes: Cigarettes possess harmful threats to the lungs and other vital organs of the body. Therefore, stay away from the habit of smoking to prevent bronchitis.
  • Get vaccinated: Bronchitis, like acute bronchitis, is caused due to a virus called influenza. Flu vaccines protect you from the flu. You can also avail vaccines that prevent pneumonia infections.
  • Wash your hands : Wash your hands regularly with alcohol-based hand sanitizers to decrease the risk of viral infections.
  • Wearing a surgical mask: Wearing a surgical mask may lower the risk of getting exposed to dust or fumes.

Diagnosis of Bronchitis

In the first few days of illness, it is very hard to distinguish the symptoms between bronchitis and the common cold. The following tests are taken to precisely determine the existence of bronchitis.

  • Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray determines whether you are affected by pneumonia or any other conditions. If you are a smoke addict, then a chest x-ray is mandatory for you.
  • Sputum tests: Sputum is the mucus that causes cough in your lungs. This test is conducted to determine whether your illness could be cured via antibiotics or not.
  • Pulmonary function test : This test is conducted via a spirometer. This test measures how much air your lungs can hold to a maximum level and also measures the speed of your air getting out of your lungs. This test is also conducted to determine diseases like asthma or emphysema.

How to cure bronchitis?

Medication for Bronchitis

Most cases of acute bronchitis disappear within two weeks without treatment. Generally, bronchitis is caused by viral infections and antibiotics cannot cure bronchitis. Antibiotic medications are prescribed only for bacterial infections.

Your doctor may recommend medications based on your body’s condition. That includes:

Cough medicine: If your cough disturbs your sleep, then you can avail cough syrups before you sleep.

Other medications : If you are diagnosed with an allergy, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to decrease the level of your lung infection. Medications given with the doctor’s recommendations are more likely to cure your bronchitis problem permanently.

Therapies

If you are diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, a breathing exercise called pulmonary rehabilitation is taught to you by the respiratory therapist to ease your breathing process. Hence, you don’t feel uneasiness while breathing.

Home remedies for Bronchitis

To help you feel better, follow these home remedy tips to reduce the chances of getting prone to bronchitis:

Use a humidifier. Moist and warm air relieves your cough and loosens mucus in your airways. The humidifier must be very immaculate to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the water container.

Avoid lung irritants. Don’t smoke. If your residential area is surrounded by polluted air make sure to evacuate your location to a pollution-free area to safeguard yourself from lung infections.

Wear a face mask outside. If cold air makes you feel dizzy and causes shortness of breath, then make sure to wear a mask whenever you go outside.

Summing up

Is bronchitis a deadly virus? The answer is “No”. Bronchitis is a curable disorder. However, bronchitis left untreated may end up in mayhem. Bronchitis like acute bronchitis can be uncomfortable and can be resolved within a few days.

Chronic bronchitis is a complicated condition compared to acute bronchitis. If a person has unremitting behavior of smoking, then it can develop symptoms like emphysema, COPD, and other threatening disorders in the future.

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