What you should know about Bronchitis

Bronchitis

It is the inflammation( swollen and sore) of the bronchi(the main airway/tubes of the lungs which carries air to and fro the lungs). It can be either acute or chronic.

Acute bronchitis( usually caused by a virus or bacteria following a cold or flu) improves within 7-10days without a lasting effect whiles Chronic Bronchitis is usually associated with smoking or long-term exposure to irritants with sufferers mostly also suffering from COPD( Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Signs and Symptoms

  • cough
  • sore throat
  • blocked or runny nose
  • Headaches
  • coughing up mucus which is usually yellowish-grey, greenish or white.
  • shortness of breath with chest discomfort
  • wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • breathlessness when doing energetic activities
  • Fever and or chills

Risks factors

  • People who smoke cigarette
  • People who are exposed to irritants(such as Chlorine, strong acids, ammonia, grain dust, textiles) at work
  • People who just had another acute illness such as cold
  • People suffering from GERD-gastric oesophagal reflux disease

Causes

Bronchitis is caused by either a virus( the most common type) or bacteria. The virus that causes common cold is the same virus that causes bronchitis.

Prevention

Follow these tips to reduce the risk of bronchitis:

  • avoid cigarette smoking
  • get a yearly flu vaccine
  • wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • wear a face mask at work if you are exposed to dust or fumes at your workplace

Treatment

Acute Bronchitis usually takes few days (7-10days) to clear and are usually treated at home with plenty of fluids and rest.

For chronic Bronchitis, the following are recommended:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids(avoids alcohol, however)
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • avoid irritants such as smoke, paint and strong fumes
  • warm honey and lemon drink is helpful with pain associated with cough
  • get enough rest
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • treat cold-like symptoms such as fever with paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • exercise moderately
  • Try cough suppressant at bedtime if  the cough prevents you from sleep
  • antibiotics are not ideal as they are mostly caused by viruses.

Complication

  • Pneumonia.
  • COPD-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
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