Bronchitis: Symptoms, Causes & How it can be prevented?
Bronchitis is an infection of the bronchial tubes which serve as passageways for oxygen to flow from your lungs to the rest of your body. This can cause swelling and irritation which ultimately leads to difficulty breathing. People who suffer from it usually have a cough accompanied by colored mucus. The condition can be either short-term or long-term in duration.
Acute bronchitis is usually a result of a cold or respiratory infection and is fairly common. Chronic bronchitis, however, is a much more serious condition. It can be caused by prolonged irritation or inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which in many cases might be due to smoking.
Acute bronchitis, otherwise known as a chest cold, usually subsides within one to ten days and seldom leaves any further consequences. But the coughing may last for several weeks more.
If you experience recurrent bronchitis, you likely have a condition known as chronic bronchitis. As this needs medical care, it is important to consult your doctor regarding chronic bronchitis, which forms part of the family of diseases called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Symptoms of Bronchitis
People affected by acute or chronic bronchitis may experience a variety of symptoms, some of which include:
- Mucus, which may vary in color from clear to white, yellowish-gray, or green and sometimes even contain streaks of blood, is normally produced.
- Shortness of breath
- Slight fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
Acute bronchitis may cause mild cold-like symptoms like headaches and body aches. These usually clear in a week but the cough can stick around for several weeks after.
When a person has a cough that lasts for three months or more, with recurring episodes appearing over two consecutive years, it is known as chronic bronchitis.
People suffering from chronic bronchitis may experience flare-ups during which their coughing & other symptoms tend to get worse. During these times, they could suffer from an additional infection in addition to chronic bronchitis.
Causes of Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is often by viruses, like those causing colds and the flu. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, so these medications are generally not a treatment for this type of bronchitis.
Smoking tobacco is the number one perpetrator of Chronic Bronchitis, and it has serious long-term effects. Environmental factors such as air pollution or exposure to dust or toxic gases can also contribute to this condition.
Take proactive steps to decrease the likelihood of developing bronchitis by adhering to these tips:
- Steer clear of cigarette smoke to reduce your chances of developing chronic bronchitis. The danger posed by smoking is real, and the damage it can do is substantial. Make sure you’re protecting your health by staying away from cigarettes.
- Stay on top of your health & get vaccinated. A simple yearly flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu, which is one of the causes of acute bronchitis. Additionally, certain vaccinations may reduce your chances of getting pneumonia as well.
- Make sure to keep your hands clean. By regularly washing your hands & using alcohol-based sanitizers, you can help protect yourself from catching various illnesses. Creating this habit is essential for maximum safety.
- It is important to protect your health and prevent the spread of illnesses. For those with COPD, wearing a surgical mask can be beneficial when exposed to dust and fumes at work, or when going outdoors among large groups of people.
We can cure Bronchitis quickly if the symptoms can diagnose early, but if not taken care of, can lead to pneumonia in some cases. It is always important to get proper treatment for bronchitis as soon as possible. If your cough persists beyond 3 weeks, prevents you from sleeping, comes with a fever above 100.4°F (38°C), produces discolored mucus or blood, or wheezing/shortness of breath, then it is best to consult your doctor.
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