What is bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an acute inflammation of the airways in the lungs.

This happens when the trachea (breathing tube) and large and small bronchi (airways) in the lungs become inflamed due to a viral or bacterial infection.< /p>

The thin lining of the bronchi becomes irritated and swells. The cells that make up this thin “lining” of the airways can secrete fluid in response to inflammation.

Coughing is a reflex that helps the patient clear secretions from the lungs. Often, the discomfort caused by the severe cough prompts the patient to seek medical help.

Adults and children can get bronchitis and the symptoms are identical.

Children, however, usually get bronchiolitis, in which the smaller bronchi become inflamed, and the symptoms it causes are very similar to those of asthma.

Asthmatic bronchitis develops when bronchitis occurs in pre-existing asthma.

Asthma is a chronic condition of inflammation of the airways, which causes the muscles around the bronchi to spasm and swell, causing the airways to narrow.

The combination of inflammation of the inner lining of the bronchi and the release of mucus from the cells of the airways can lead to severe wheezing and shortness of breath.

Symptoms of bronchitis

Acute bronchitis usually occurs after an upper respiratory tract infection such as a common cold or sinus infection.

The affected person may have symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nasal congestion and sore throat.

Coughing is the most common symptom of bronchitis. The cough may be dry or accompanied by the release of sputum.

A significant amount of sputum production suggests that the lower respiratory tract and lungs are inflamed, and these symptoms may also be a sign of pneumonia.

Bronchitis may last more than 2 weeks. Prolonged strong coughing can be painful and can also cause pain in the chest and abdominal muscles.

The cough can be so strong that it injures the chest and pleura – the lining of the lungs, and can even break one of the ribs. It is also possible that the patient loses consciousness.

Wheezing can occur due to muscle spasms and inflammation of the bronchi, and this makes the airways very narrow, this can cause shortness of breath in the patient.

Symptoms of asthmatic bronchitis consist of a combination of wheezing and shortness of breath along with other symptoms of bronchitis.

Types of bronchitis

Depending on the duration and characteristics of symptoms, bronchitis is generally classified into two main categories: acute and chronic.

Acute bronchitis is usually short-term and often follows a viral infection such as the flu or the common cold.

It can cause symptoms such as cough, headache, high fever and general malaise.

Although unpleasant, acute bronchitis usually gets better on its own within a few weeks.

On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is a more serious condition that is characterized by a long-term cough with secretions that lasts three months or more and recurs year after year.

Chronic bronchitis is part of the group of diseases known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is usually the result of prolonged exposure to irritants such as tobacco smoke, dust and harmful chemicals.

Both types of bronchitis can be serious and require medical attention. It is important to see a doctor if you suspect you have developed any of these types of bronchitis to get the right treatment and support.

Possible Complications of Bronchitis

Bronchitis, whether acute or chronic, can lead to a number of possible complications that can be serious and require additional medical attention.

One of the most common complications is pneumonia, which is inflammation of the lungs.

This usually happens when a bacterial infection develops in the lower respiratory tract, which can be life-threatening, especially for the elderly, young children and people with a weak immune response.

Chronic bronchitis can lead to more severe and long-term complications, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is a term that covers a number of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that limit the ability of the lungs to expand and contract normally.

Another possible complication of bronchitis is pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs.

Bronchitis treatment

Most cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections.

This means that most cases of bronchitis are short-term and require nothing more than treating the symptoms to relieve the sufferer’s condition.

Antibiotics do not treat viral diseases. Specialists in the field of infectious diseases have been alarming for years that the excessive use of antibiotics is making bacteria resistant to them.

Doctors often prescribe antibiotics because they feel pressured by their patients to prescribe them, so you shouldn’t expect to be prescribed an antibiotic if your bronchitis is caused by a viral infection.

Paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen will help relieve muscle aches and a runny nose.

Drinking more fluids is important because fever dehydrates the body quickly. Lung secretions will be more diluted and more easily coughed up if the patient is hydrated.

You can put a vaporizer or humidifier in the aid where you spend the most time, thus reducing bronchial irritation.

Cough suppressants available at pharmacies are also proven effective and will be helpful.

Home remedies for bronchitis such as honey, lemon, ginger, bay leaf and almonds have stood the test of time and are perhaps more effective in relieving the symptoms of bronchitis.

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