Lungs Feel A Lot Better When They Avoid Bronchitis

main of Lungs Feel A Lot Better When They Avoid Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the air passages that link the mouth and nose to the lungs. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis often results from a cold or other respiratory infection and clears up in 2-4 weeks. Chronic bronchitis is persistent, coming back repeatedly and often not even clearing up completely. Chronic bronchitis is also often associated with other respiratory problems, such as COPD.

While acute bronchitis is generally not seen as a big deal, chronic bronchitis can make your lungs a breeding ground for further infections. Chronic bronchitis requires medical treatment to manage and prevent it from creating bigger respiratory issues. Both forms of bronchitis can also advance to pneumonia if left untreated. This is typically characterized by a worsening of symptoms and requires immediate medical attention.

Bronchitis Causes

There are many causes for bronchitis. Acute bronchitis may be caused by:

  • A virus (this is the most common cause)
  • A bacterial infection
  • Exposure to lung-irritating substances (smoke, dust, fumes, vapors, pollution, etc.

There's not much you can do to avoid viral or bacterial infections other than the usual handwashing and boosting your immune system. You can avoid the environmental triggers, however, by wearing appropriate respiratory protection when you know you'll be exposed to those lung-irritating substances. This can help reduce your chances of getting acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is caused by:

  • Long-term exposure to dust, fumes, pollution, etc. in the environment
  • Genetic factors
  • A history of respiratory infections or GERD
  • Repeated acute bronchitis episodes
  • Exposure to pesticides
  • Smoking (The most common cause)

One of the genetic factors for chronic bronchitis is a condition called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. This is also called: AATD, Alpha-1, orInherited emphysema. This is an inherited condition that makes you more susceptible to lung and liver disease.

Bronchitis Symptoms

The main symptoms for both acute and chronic bronchitis are the same and include:

  • A cough with or without mucus
  • Production of white, clear, yellow-gray, or green mucus (in very rare cases, it may also be streaked with blood)
  • Chest discomfort or soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Mild headache and body aches
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath

Additional chronic bronchitis symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • A squeaky or whistling sound when breathing
  • Shortness of breath that worsens with physical activity

In both acute and chronic bronchitis, you should contact your doctor if you notice:

  • Temperature of 100.4 or higher
  • Cough with bloody mucus
  • Significant trouble breathing
  • Symptoms lasting longer than three weeks
  • Repeated episodes of bronchitis

Bronchitis Treatment

When treating bronchitis, the first thing to realize is that antibiotics will not treat it if it's caused by a virus or exposure to lung-irritating elements. Even if bronchitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are still not recommended and can actually do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics for bronchitis can lead to side effects such as a minor rash or more significant ones like antibiotic-resistant infections and C.diff infection. The best treatments for both acute and chronic bronchitis are:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Use a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • Use nasal spray or drops to clear a stuffy nose or moisturize nasal passages
  • Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or a hot shower
  • Use honey to relieve a cough in people older than one year
  • Take otc pain relievers and cough medicines to ease symptoms

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