Bronchial tubes are responsible for delivering air to the lungs during respiration. If these bronchial tubes become inflamed, there is a high chance of mucus formation in these tubes. Due to the mucus build up, coughing and shortness of breath occur. This condition is known as bronchitis. Acute bronchitis develops in people often after a viral chest infection. There are two types of bronchitis – acute and chronic and it is vital to distinguish between those two. Usually acute bronchitis lasts for less than 10 days. But the coughing can prolong for several weeks. Chronic bronchitis lasts for more than several weeks and there is a high possibility of it occurring again.
The most common cause of acute bronchitis is a viral upper respiratory infection. Normally occurring health disorders like common cold and influenza can also lead to acute bronchitis. There is a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis which is responsible for causing whooping cough. In some rare cases, this bacterium can also play a role in causing acute bronchitis.
There are no specific symptoms for acute bronchitis. The common symptoms include:
- Chronic cough lasting for more than 10 days and producing clear or coloured mucus
- shortness of breath
- low grade fever
- chest pain
- chest tightness
- sore throat
- he symptoms in children with acute bronchitis include:
- runny nose
- back or muscle pain
- sore throat
Some think that antibiotics can cure acute bronchitis. But antibiotics have no effect on viral bronchitis. Prescribed medications by doctors include over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen may help in soothing sore throat. Use humidifiers to moist the air you breathe. This will loosen the mucus formation and help you breathe easily. Drink plenty of liquid to thin out the mucus. This will lead to coughing up or blowing out of mucus through your nose.
Always practise good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and especially during cold seasons. This will help in avoiding viral infections. Some body parts like mouth, nose and eyes are very susceptible to infection. So avoid touching these body parts while around people infected with acute bronchitis.
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