Bronchitis Symptoms include the inflammation of the windpipe and bronchial tubes, after a bout of cold or flu. It is commonly caused by a virus; less often, bacteria; and even more rarely a fungus. You get the virus from germs in the air, or on people’s hands. Sometimes a door knob, or an escalator’s hand rail can carry the germs. When you breathe the viruses in, you get sick.
You are more likely to get bronchitis if you work around unhealthy environments (such as those filled with chemicals and smoke) as your bronchial tubes may already be damaged. If you get bronchitis from working in an atmosphere that has pollutants or irritants, sometimes removing yourself from the environment can cure any bronchitis you may have developed.
You can prevent bronchitis by washing your hands regularly. Making sure children cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and washing their hands afterwards can also help prevent the spread of bronchitis. Hand sanitisers can be found in many supermarkets nowadays, and they come in a little bottle you can carry in your bag – using this regularly can help disinfect hands when shopping, for example, by killing germs that can be picked up from a shopping trolley.
Ceasing smoking can prevent chronic bronchitis (where someone has a recurrent cough producing mucous on most days of the month, for months – sometimes years). Smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis (80% of chronic bronchitis is caused by smoking). People who smoke also have a harder time recovering from acute bronchitis and other infections involving the lungs. However if you stop smoking early enough, the damage caused can sometimes be reversed.
Also, repeated bouts of acute bronchitis can also cause chronic bronchitis. If you have chronic bronchitis but do not smoke, try to limit your exposure to second-hand smoke and other pollutants or irritants. If you suffer from reflux, see a doctor who can prescribe medication to help stop it, as the constant acids bubbling up into your airways can cause bronchitis.
Getting an annual flu and pneumococcal vaccine can also help prevent contracting bronchitis (as you don’t
get the flu, which can lead to bronchitis).
Bronchitis symptoms can be distressing, but by knowing how it is spread and how you can help prevent it, you can lessen the impact.