Also known as industrial or environmental bronchitis caused by exposure to various mineral and vegetable dusts as well as cigarettes. Exposure to fumes from strong acids, ammonia, some organic solvents, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and bromide causes this disease. It’s symptoms begin with a common cold, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue and chillness. One may also experience back and muscle aches together with a slight fever, particular if the cause is due to influenza. Fever is normally high and lasts 3 to 5 days. Higher fevers are unusual unless bronchitis is caused by influenza. Cough is the last symptom to subside and takes long to appear.
Viruses can damage epithelial cells in bronchi. Impairment of airflow may be triggered by common exposures such as inhaling mild irritants e.g perfumes, strong odors or exhaust fumes or cold air causing wheezing.
Doctors usually make a diagnosis of bronchitis based on the symptoms. Fevers that are high or prolonged or both could indicate the presence of pneumonia. Doctors may hear wheezing during the physical examination. A chest x-ray is sometimes done to exclude pneumonia, mainly when doctors hear wheezing or congestion in the lungs or when the person is short of breath.
A sample taken from the throat can be used to detect influenza. Sputum is generally only examined if doctors find evidence of pneumonia on a chest x-ray or during the examination. If a cough persists for more than 2 months, a chest x-ray is done to exclude an underlying lung disease, such as lung cancer.
Cough medicines can be used to suppress a dry, disturbing cough, particularly when it interferes with sleep. However, a cough that produces a lot of sputum usually should not be suppressed.