October 4, 2022
Article Disease

What is Bronchitis?

In the illness known as bronchitis, the airways in the lungs (also known as bronchial tubes) become inflamed, which results in a hacking cough that frequently produces mucus. There are two different types of bronchitis: acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term).

Causes

The acute form of bronchitis is extremely prevalent. The majority of cases are caused by viral illnesses like the common cold or the flu, and recovery time for most people ranges from a few days to a few weeks. An acute case of bronchitis may on occasion be brought on by an infection brought on by bacteria.

A persistent cough that lasts for several months and returns for two or more years in a row is a sign that you may have chronic bronchitis. The cough is productive, which means that it causes mucus to be brought up. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by persistent inflammation of the lining of the airways. This results in the lining becoming swollen and producing an increased amount of mucus, which can make it difficult to breathe. In many cases, chronic bronchitis is a component of a more severe lung condition known as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (COPD). The most common cause of chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is smoking cigarettes.

People who are older, have been exposed to fumes or secondhand smoke, have a family history of lung disease, have a history of childhood respiratory diseases, or have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are also at a higher risk of getting chronic bronchitis. Other risk factors include having a family history of lung disease.

Prevention

Taking the following steps may help you avoid acquiring bronchitis or reduce the likelihood that you will contract it in the future:

Symptoms

There is no difference between acute and chronic bronchitis in terms of the symptoms, which include the following:

When should one go to the doctor?

In most cases, acute bronchitis clears up on its own and does not require medication.

Make an appointment with your primary care physician if your cough does not improve after two or three weeks, if it gets worse, or if you are having problems breathing.

Your doctor will perform a physical exam, as well as ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, in order to make a diagnosis of bronchitis. In addition, the physician may decide to perform a blood test to check for indications of an infection or a chest X-ray to determine whether or not your lungs and bronchial tubes appear to be normal and to rule out the possibility of pneumonia.

Treatment

Most cases of acute bronchitis clear up on their own without the need for treatment from a medical professional. Nevertheless, there are things you may do at home to feel better, like the following:

Antibiotics are only given out by doctors as a standard course of treatment if it is determined that the patient has a bacterial illness, which is more typical in younger children. Before using any over-the-counter medicines, you should consult with your primary care physician if you are currently taking any medications that are prescribed to you or if you suffer from any other ailments.

Your ability to breathe more easily and the management of your symptoms should be the primary focus of any treatment you receive for chronic bronchitis.

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