I Got bronchitis

I Got Bronchitis, What should I do?

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If you searched, ‘ I Got Bronchitis ‘ you are at the right place. In this article, you can learn all about Bronchitis from its symptoms to the signs which you should be vary to get treated.

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Overview

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tube lining. They move air to and from the lungs. People with this condition frequently cough up thickened mucus (can be discoloured). Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.

Symptoms 

Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. If it happens once and then a person heals then it is acute Bronchitis. Chronic Bronchitis doesn’t go away, it is present constantly, even though it may get better and worse.

Symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis include:

  • a persistent cough (with mucus)
  • wheezing
  • low fever and chills
  • the feeling of tightness in the chest
  • sore throat
  • body ache
  • breathlessness
  • headache
  • nose block & sinuses

Other symptoms include a cough lasting for several weeks or a few months. That is in cases where the bronchial tubes take a longer time to heal. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis can spark often especially during the winter months.

If you have acute bronchitis, you might have cold symptoms, such as a mild headache or body aches. While these symptoms usually improve in about a week, you may have a nagging cough that lingers for several weeks.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if your cough:

  • Lasts more than three weeks
  • Causes trouble sleeping
  • Is accompanied by fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
  • Produces discoloured mucus
  • Produces blood
  • Is related to wheezing or shortness of breath

But bronchitis alone doesn’t cause cough. Prolonged cough may be a sign of asthmapneumonia, or other conditions. Anyone with a persistent cough should see a doctor for a diagnosis.

Acute bronchitis

It is a very common condition. Acute bronchitis (chest cold), improves within 7 to 10 days with cough remaining for weeks.

Its symptoms include:

  • cough with/without mucus
  • chest discomfort/soreness
  • fever
  • mild headache & body aches
  • shortness of breath

Symptoms usually go away after a few days or weeks.

Chronic bronchitis

It is defined as a cough lasting at least three months, recurring for at least two successive years. Chronic bronchitis develops from a cold or respiratory infection. This is severe if it causes persistent irritation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. And it is usually due to smoking.

If you got chronic bronchitis, cough or other symptoms worsen. And it might result in an acute infection on top of chronic bronchitis.

Repeated bouts of bronchitis signify chronic bronchitis, which requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Chronic bronchitis has identical symptoms to acute bronchitis, but it is an ongoing illness.

Transmission

If bronchitis is due to a viral/bacterial infection, it is possible to transmit the infection to another person through droplets when coughing.

To reduce the risk of transmission, a person should:

  • wash their hands frequently
  • cough into a tissue
  • take extra care around young children, older people, and those with a weakened immune system

Causes

Acute bronchitis is caused by viruses. They are the same viruses that cause colds and flu. Antibiotics don’t kill viruses. So this type of medication isn’t helpful in many cases of bronchitis.

The prevalent cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the condition.

Risk factors

  • Cigarette smoke. People who smoke/those living with a smoker are at higher risk of both acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
  • Low resistance. This may result from another acute illness, such as a cold, or from a chronic condition that compromises your immune system. Older adults, infants and young children have greater vulnerability to infection.
  • Job hazard. Working around certain lung irritants, like grains/textiles, or being exposed to chemical fumes increases the risks even further. 
  • Gastric reflux. Repeated bouts of severe heartburn can irritate your throat and make you more apt to develop bronchitis.

Treatment

A doctor may advise a person with bronchitis to:

  • rest
  • drink fluids
  • take over-the-counter (OTC) medications (ibuprofen)

OTC medication will help ease a cough and pain. In time, acute bronchitis will go away, usually without treatment.

The symptoms of chronic bronchitis may fix or improve. However, they will recur or become worse again, especially if there is exposure to smoke or other triggers.

Cough medicine: Coughing helps remove mucus from the bronchial tubes, but medication can help bring comfort.

Honey: 2 spoonfuls of honey may bring relief of cough symptoms.

Humidifier: This loosens mucus, improves airflow, and relieves wheezing.

Bronchodilators: These open the bronchial tubes and may help clear out mucus.

Mucolytics: These loosen or thin mucus in the airways, making it easier to cough up sputum.

Anti-inflammatory and steroid drugs: These help reduce inflammation that can cause tissue damage.

Oxygen therapy: In extreme cases, a person may need supplemental oxygen to ease their breathing.

Which home remedy is best for bronchitis?

Behavioural remedies

Other methods for treating bronchitis are as follows:

  • removing a lung irritant, for example. not smoking
  • exercising to strengthen the chest muscles to aid to breathe
  • improving breathing technique through pulmonary rehabilitation

Should people exercise when they have bronchitis? 

Antibiotics

A doctor may prescribe antibiotics if acute bronchitis results from a bacterial infection. Antibiotics may also help avert a secondary infection.

Complications

Although a single episode of bronchitis usually isn’t cause for concern, it can lead to pneumonia in a few. Repeated bouts of bronchitis may mean that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Prevention

  • Avoid cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke raises your risk of chronic bronchitis.
  • Get vaccinated. Getting a yearly flu vaccine can help you from getting the flu. You may also want to consider vaccination that protects against a few types of pneumonia.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Wear a surgical mask.If you have COPD, wear a face mask at work if you’re exposed to dust or fumes, and when you’re going to be among crowds.

Diagnosis

Spirometer Open pop-up dialogue box

During the first few days of illness, it is difficult to distinguish the symptoms of bronchitis from those of a common cold. In a physical exam, the doctor will use a stethoscope to listen closely to your lungs as you breathe.

In some cases, your doctor may suggest the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray. This can help determine pneumonia or another condition that may cause cough. This is especially important if you ever were or currently are a smoker.
  • Sputum tests. Sputum is the mucus that comes with cough up from lungs. It can be tested to see the presence of illnesses. Sputum can be tested for signs of allergies.
  • Pulmonary function test. During this test, you blow into a device called a spirometer, which measures how much air your lungs can hold and how quickly you can get the air out of your lungs. This test checks for signs of asthma or emphysema.

Conclusion

Acute bronchitis is a common condition and is uncomfortable but it goes away on its own within a few days. Whereas chronic bronchitis is an ongoing condition. Smoking may worsen symptoms, emphysema, and COPD. All these conditions can be life-threatening. Anyone who has concerns about the possible symptoms of bronchitis should see a doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

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Grace paulin
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Grace paulin
Hi! We serve to provide quality & much-needed content for everyone. I'm a medical student in my 2nd year. We also focus on the current medical issues we are facing. I will try my best to entrust the apt, verified data in a simple manner.