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What is Acute Bronchitis?


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. This makes it hard for you to breathe.

Symptoms of 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, chest congestion, shortness of breath 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. Your cough can last for several weeks or months. This happens because the bronchial tree takes some time to heal.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

How is acute bronchitis diagnosed?

Your treating doctor can rule out acute bronchitis by the symptoms you narrate. They can advise you to do a Chest X-ray to rule out Pneumonia.

Can acute bronchitis be prevented or avoided?

If you are habituated to smoking, the best defense against acute bronchitis is to quit smoking. Smoking damages your bronchial tree and puts you at risk for infection. Smoking also slows down the healing process. You can help to prevent acute bronchitis by staying healthy and avoiding germs. Wash your hands often to kill any viruses.

Acute 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.
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