Bronchitis is a very common respiratory condition and it can be occur in anyone, regardless of sex and age. However, the people who are exposed the most to developing forms of bronchitis are smokers, people with other respiratory illnesses or people with weak immunes system. Smokers usually develop chronic bronchitis, a form of disease that needs ongoing treatment. The main factors that are considered to contribute to the occurrence of bronchitis are: smoking, prolonged exposure to irritants (dust, pollen, chemicals, pollutants), immunologic deficiencies, genetic predisposition to developing respiratory conditions (in the case of chronic bronchitis) and infection with viruses and bacteria.
Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis symptoms can be very intense, but they usually ameliorate in a few days. If acute bronchitis is caused by infection with viruses, the illness usually clears on itself, without medical treatment. However, if acute bronchitis symptoms appear to intensify, it is very important to seek the advice of your doctor.
Chronic bronchitis symptoms are usually of moderate intensity, but they are persistent and have a recidivating character. Unlike acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis is an infectious disease and needs specific, long-term medical treatment. It is very important not to interrupt the treatment prescribed by the doctor even if chronic bronchitis symptoms are considerably ameliorated. If the medical treatment is prematurely stopped, the illness will quickly reoccur and chronic bronchitis symptoms can become even intensify.
General bronchitis symptoms are: cough, wheezing, throat pain, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort and soreness when breathing, fatigue and headache. If these bronchitis symptoms are accompanied by sweating, high fever and nausea, it means that the illness is caused by infection with bacteria. Bronchitis symptoms that might indicate an aggravation of the illness are: severe cough that contains yellowish mucus, spitting blood.
Bronchitis symptoms that reveal the acute character of the illness are: painful cough, chest sourness and pain, painful throat, wheezing, pain in the region of the upper abdomen, difficulty breathing. Bronchitis symptoms that reveal the chronic character of the illness are: persistent cough, cough that produces mucus, mild or moderate fever, shortness of breath, pronounced difficulty breathing (due to obstruction of the respiratory tract with mucus), recidivating chest pain, nausea and headache.
It is very important to pay attention to bronchitis symptoms. Left untreated, both chronic bronchitis and acute bronchitis (when caused by bacteria) can lead to serious complications. However, any form of self-medication is not advised. By taking random left-over medicines you can only cause yourself harm. If bronchitis symptoms ease up in a few days, it is a sign that the illness is caused by airborne irritants or by viruses, in which case no medical treatment is required. However, if you experience an aggravation of bronchitis symptoms, you should see a doctor right away.
If you have bronchitis, the best things you can do before receiving medical assistance are: drink plenty of fluids (especially if you have fever), rest, stay away from irritants (smoke, alcohol vapors, chemicals, astringent substances), maintain a warm temperature in your bedroom and use air humidifiers to keep the air moist.