The first few days you are sick, it is difficult to know if your cough is caused by bronchitis. But if your cough persists for a week or more or the symptoms of a cold worsen, you should see a doctor for an examination. As a result, the bronchial tubes become swollen and produce mucus. This can make you cough.
There are two types of bronchitis:
Acute bronchitis usually occurs quickly and improves after 2 to 3 weeks.
Chronic bronchitis is reversible and can affect people for a long time, especially smokers. Chronic bronchitis means that you have a whooping cough for 3 months of the year and for at least 2 consecutive years.
In this article, we intend to introduce acute bronchitis. Both children and adults can get acute bronchitis. Most people who get sick recover without any problems. But older people, children and people with lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have more problems. Complications of acute bronchitis include pneumonia and recurrent episodes of bronchitis.
What causes acute bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a virus. Most people develop bronchitis within a few days of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or the flu. Occasionally, acute bronchitis is of bacterial origin. Inhaling things like smoke that irritate the bronchial tubes can also lead to bronchitis. Inhaling the smell of certain foods or returning vomit to the lungs is also a common cause.
What are the symptoms of bronchitis?
The most common symptom of acute bronchitis is a dry, then purulent cough. After a few days, the cough is accompanied by mucus secretion. You may have a fever and feel tired. Most patients recover within 2 to 3 weeks. But some of them still cough after 4 weeks. If symptoms such as fever, chills, shoulder pain, and shortness of breath worsen, you may have pneumonia. This complication is very serious, so be sure to see a doctor.
How is acute bronchitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and check for common symptoms. Physical examination allows the doctor to obtain the information needed to diagnose acute bronchitis. In some cases, a chest x-ray may be done to make sure your doctor knows if you have pneumonia, pertussis, or other lung disease. If you have acute bronchitis and it does not get better after a few weeks, you should get tested. Infants, the elderly, and people with lung diseases such as asthma should have several more tests.
How is acute bronchitis treated?
Most patients can relieve the symptoms of acute bronchitis at home with antibiotics or other prescription medications. Antibiotics help treat viral bronchitis. Bacterial bronchitis usually also improves after a few days.
The following tips may help you feel better:
• Do not smoke.
Use cough drops or hard candies to soothe your throat. Taking the drops prevents coughing and makes you feel better.
• Breathe in moist air. A hot tub or sink full of hot water are good options. Heat and humidity help keep mucus in the airways and prevent coughing from getting worse.
Use over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve fever and pain. Aspirin is not recommended for people under 20 years of age.
• Rest as much as you can.
• Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
• Use cough medicine. Cough medicines are safe for children and people with certain health problems and prevent coughing. Expectorant is one of the best options available for this.
If you have bronchitis or suffer from heart or lung disease (such as heart failure, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you should talk to your doctor. Antibiotics and throat relievers may help. Keep in mind that timely treatment can prevent acute complications such as pneumonia.