What is Acute Bronchitis?The bronchial tubes send air from the trachea to the lungs. These bronchial tubes sometimes get inflamed which leads to a buildup of mucus. This condition is called bronchitis and has symptoms like coughing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and low-grade fever. The types of bronchitis are chronic and acute. There are many types of acute bronchitis caused due to viral infections and lasts for up to 2 weeks. The most common type of acute bronchitis is caused by the same virus that causes the common cold. And hence also called cold bronchitis. Acute Bronchitis SymptomsThe initial symptoms of acute bronchitis are the same as that of a cold or the flu. It includes:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches especially backache
- Fever which ranges mild to moderate
As the infection increases, the patient is likely to develop cough if it is acute bronchitis. The cough progresses from dry to productive with mucus which lasts from 10 days to 3 weeks. The colour of the mucus can also change from white to yellow or green. It is recommended that you consult a general physician if the above symptoms are found. The symptoms of the patient might include shortness of breath, chest pain, excessive weight loss, barking cough, or high fever. Who is at Risk?Acute Bronchitis risk factors are high in:
- People who have viral infections
- People who have low immunity and low resistance to illnesses.
- People who have not taken vaccinations for pneumonia, whopping cough, or the flu.
- People who are older than the age of 50 and have low immunity.
- Cigarette smokers and those who are exposed to second-hand smoking.
- People who are suffering from acid reflux.
- People who are exposed to dust, fumes, and other irritants.
- People with allergies to dust, pollen, and other allergens.
- People who are in direct skin contact with those having acute bronchitis
Acute Bronchitis CausesThe contagious virus is a common cause of acute bronchitis. These are the same virus that causes cold. It starts by affecting the nose, sinus, and throat and then infects the bronchial tubes lining. When the body produces antibodies to fight the infection, the bronchial tubes get inflamed and also produce mucus.
- Direct contact with a person having this virus can also lead to acute bronchitis.
- Though relatively less common, this disease can also be caused due to bacterial and fungal infections.
- Can be caused due to gastroesophageal reflux disease when the stomach acid backs up into the bronchial tubes.
- Can happen due to environmental factors like smoke, chemicals, dust, or other irritants.
- Asthma or other lung conditions can also cause acute bronchitis and is not contagious as it is not caused by infections.
How is Acute Bronchitis Diagnosed?Acute bronchitis diagnosis starts by looking at medical history and followed by a physical examination. The other tests that can be performed to get a proper diagnosis are:
- Chest X-rays: This helps in getting images of the lungs, bones, and tissues.
- Blood test: This is done to determine the level of oxygen and CO2 in the blood. It is also done to determine if there are any infections.
- Pulse oximeter: This is used to get the level of oxygen in the blood.
- Pulmonary function tests: These are done to measure the lung capacity and the movement of air into and out of the lungs.
- Cultures of nasal discharge and sputum: A nose swab or sputum is used to identify the organism causing the infection.
How is Acute Bronchitis Treated?There is no elaborate acute bronchitis treatment needed as the infection goes away on its own after it runs its course. The doctor usually recommends:
- Drinking lots of fluids like soup, water juice, etc to loosen the congestion in the chest.
- Taking enough rest.
- Pain reliever to ease the symptoms of muscle aches
- Cough suppressants to get relief from a persistent cough.
- Antibiotics in case of bacterial infections.
- Advise the use of humidifiers and the use of inhalers to help with breathing issues.
If even after a couple of weeks the symptoms don't go away or if you have infections frequently then it can be signs of some other issues. Consult our specialist at Cure.fit for Acute Bronchitis doctor to get proper Acute Bronchitis cure. They are available through video consultation. How can Acute Bronchitis be Prevented?Complete prevention of acute bronchitis is not possible as it can be caused due to many reasons. But the below tips can help in decreasing the risk:
- Avoid touching the nose, eyes, or mouth if someone near you is infected by acute bronchitis.
- Wear a mask to limit exposure to fumes, dust, and other pollutants.
- Wash hands thoroughly before consuming food or touching your hands and mouth.
- Consume a balanced diet so that it prevents infections.
- Do not share utensils, glasses, and other personal belongings with others.
- Get yourself vaccinated for flu, pneumonia, etc.
- Avoid smoking and exposure to second-hand smoking.