There are two types of bronchitis, acute and chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis lasts for 10 to 12 days. It is mainly caused by a virus or bacteria and in some cases it may come from fungus. People suffering from acute bronchitis have the following symptoms, constant coughing with mucus, excessive fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, low fever, vibration felt when breathing, and sometimes a cold feeling.
In the past, bronchitis was often associated with measles and whooping cough. Acute viral bronchitis develops when a virus causing an upper respiratory tract infection invades the bronchi, triggering inflammation and the secretion of excess mucus. Asthmatic bronchitis is triggered by exposure to a substance to which the child is allergic.
Acute bronchitis can be caused by contagious pathogens. In about half of instances of acute bronchitis a bacterial or viral pathogen is identified. Typical viruses include respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, influenza, and others. In most cases, acute bronchitis is caused by viruses, not bacteria, and will go away on its own without antibiotics. To treat acute bronchitis that appears to be caused by a bacterial infection, or as a precaution, antibiotics may be given. Also, a meta-analysis found that antibiotics may reduce symptoms by one-half day.
Acute bronchitis can also result from breathing irritating fumes, such as those of tobacco smoke, or breathing polluted air (from unwashed bed linens for example).
If someone is prone to bronchitis, the following measures will reduce the chance of recurrences:
1) Avoid smoking at home. Those who are exposed to cigarettes smoke in the home are four times as likely to develop bronchitis as infants in a smoke-free environment.
2) Wash your hands regularly and encourage frequent hand washing in the child to prevent the spread of viruses that cause bronchitis.
3) Protect the person from exposure to conditions that trigger an allergic reaction.
4) If you are living in a polluted area using an air conditioner and filters in your house are recommended to be able to breathe clean air.
Call your doctor if you:
o Coughs persistently for longer than four or five days without showing any improvement
o Complains of pain during breathing, which is a symptom of pneumonia
Bronchitis causes discomforts in patient’s life that is why it is important to become aware of the signs and symptoms of this illness to determine if you already have this condition, or if it is time to consult your doctor. Bronchitis is a preventable illness, establishing proper hygiene inside your house and taking care of your health may help you avoid this condition.