Bronchitis refers to inflammation of the air passages within the lungs. It occurs when the trachea, or windpipe, and the large and small bronchi, or airways within the lungs get infected.
Causes of Bronchitis:
- Bronchitis occurs most often during the cold and flu seasons. Many viruses also cause bronchitis and these include Influenza A and B or the flu virus.
- Many Bacteria are known to cause bronchitis, for example, Mycoplasma Pneumoniae which causes Pneumonia.
- Inhalation of tobacco or cigarette smoke, fumes, chemicals, spores, or dust can trigger bronchitis.
- Bronchitis mostly affects the elderly with a weakened immune system, smokers and anyone with repeated exposure to lung irritants, for example fumes and chemicals.
- Viruses that cause acute bronchitis are spread in the surrounding air by the affected person through coughing. When an uninfected person breathes in these viruses, or touches any surface coated with such viruses, infection is possible.
- Smokers and individuals working in areas, or industries surrounded by fumes are more likely to be affected by acute bronchitis. They also suffer from it for a longer duration of time.
- Gastric reflux. Repeated bouts of severe heartburn can irritate your throat and make you more prone to developing bronchitis.
Types of Bronchitis and Symptoms
There are 2 types of Bronchitis:
- Acute Bronchitis: Acute bronchitis occurs after a bout of common cold or sinus infection. It may be accompanied by fever with chills, muscle pain, nasal congestion and sore throat. Cough is a major symptom of acute bronchitis. This may last for a week or two. It may be dry or produce phlegm (mucous). Excess phlegm production may suggest an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) or Pneumonia.
- Chronic Bronchitis: Chronic bronchitis is bronchitis that may have lasted longer than three months. Causes include cigarette smoking, which irritates the airways and produces excess mucous. People exposed to long term chemical fumes, dust and other substances, are prone to developing chronic bronchitis. Wheezing may sometimes occur, mimicking asthma. This may cause breathlessness too.
Bronchitis Self Help
- Drink fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Do not hold in a cough that brings up mucus. This type of cough helps clear mucus from your bronchial tree.
- If you smoke, you should quit. It will help your bronchial tree heal faster.
- Taking plain water steam can help to reduce nasal congestion.
- Pure Turmeric is a great antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. It can be mixed with water and taken before bed time.