How to deal with acute bronchitis

When it comes to acute bronchitis, it can be triggered by various factors that you should be familiar with. The time of the year in which this condition is quite common is during the winter and early spring.

Who are at risk?

  • Individuals who had common cold or the flu
  • Smokers
  • Elderly
  • Individuals who have COPD
  • Individuals who have weakened immune systems

What are the possible causes?

Acute bronchitis can be triggered by various factors in which viral bronchitis is the most common. It is usually caused by viruses such as influenza or those that cause the common cold.

In some cases, it can also be caused occasionally by bacteria and rarely by dust, chemical agents or fumes.

How it spreads

Acute bronchitis

Individuals who had common cold or the flu

Always bear in mind that bronchitis spreads by being exposed to an infected individual, but typically occurs after common cold or flu that progresses into the condition. The virus attacks the lining of the bronchial tree in the lungs which triggers infection, swelling and increased production of mucus. The ensuing irritation leads to coughing that can last for weeks.

What to expect

  • Cough starts out dry and painful and progresses to a productive one with yellowish or greenish mucus
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Chest congestion
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Body aches

Always bear in mind that the cough due to acute bronchitis can last for several weeks or months. Nevertheless, if the cough persists and changes in any manner or if you are worried that it might not be bronchitis, a doctor should be consulted.

Management

The condition eventually subsides on its own without specific treatment. The viruses are not eliminated by antibiotics; thus they are rarely used in treating the condition. They might be used if the doctor believes that the condition is triggered by bacteria. The usual treatment for acute bronchitis includes the following:

  • Adequate rest
  • Increased intake of fluids
  • Medications including anti-inflammatory medications and pain medications
  • An inhaler that opens up the airways if wheezing is present.
  • Cessation of smoking among those who smoke to promote faster healing of the lungs

Since bronchitis is typically triggered by viruses, antibiotics are rarely useful even if the mucus is yellowish or greenish. They will not help the individual get any better unless the doctor is sure that the bronchitis is triggered by bacteria.

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