Most people will develop a cold and cough at some point in time. Unfortunately, without proper rest and care, this cold and cough can develop into a more severe condition. Bronchitis may develop if the bronchial tubes become irritated and inflamed, which is common if you have been suffering from a cold and cough. While common, especially after a cold or virus of sorts, bronchitis is not understood by most people very well. This guide will help you understand the causes, signs, and treatment options for acute bronchitis.
Again, bronchitis is caused by a virus, such as the common cold or the flu. The buildup of mucus and coughing can irritate the bronchial tubes, resulting in the inflammation and swelling associated with bronchitis.
Most people are surprised by how quickly a simple cold can progress to bronchitis. The infection can last up to 10 days, but the severe coughing that occurs with bronchitis can last much longer.
It is also important to note that bronchitis may develop after breathing in smoke and toxic fumes. If you smoke, live with someone who smokes, or are exposed to secondhand smoke frequently, you are at risk of developing bronchitis. Also, if you breathe in toxic cleaning products or other chemicals, your bronchial tubes may become inflamed.
The signs of bronchitis will differ from person to person, as each case is different. Plus, if you have a more severe case of inflamed bronchial tubes, your symptoms will be more severe than another person with less inflammation.
If you are experiencing the following signs, you most likely have bronchitis:
- Chronic cough
- Mucus/discharge while coughing
- Tightness/soreness in chest
- Difficulty breathing
- Nasal congestion
Most of the symptoms will improve after a few days, especially if your doctor prescribes medication for the bronchitis infection. However, the cough will continue to be a problem even after starting treatment.
Some people may not actually require treatment for their bronchitis because the bronchial tubes may heal on their own over time. When you are first diagnosed, make sure to get plenty of rest and drink a good amount of fluids to help you recover from the virus.
Taking a cough suppressant that is available over the counter is also helpful. These medications will prevent you from coughing excessively, which can ease the inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
If the coughing is just becoming too frequent, to the point that it is keeping you up at night and preventing you from completing normal everyday tasks, a more-involved treatment may be necessary.
Doctors may suggest prescription cough medications. Your doctor will discuss the importance of not suppressing the cough, since coughing is imperative for pulling the mucus up and out of your bronchial tubes and throat.
Bronchodilators will be prescribed to open up the bronchial tubes and mucolytics are prescribed to thin out the mucus. Combined together, coughing will be less frequent but more effective at ridding the bronchial tubes of inflammation and mucus.
If the bronchitis has caused tissue damage, anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed. These medications will ease the swelling and inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which can reduce the soreness, coughing, and wheezing of your bronchitis.
Many patients also find relief by using a humidifier at home. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which improves airflow through your bronchial tubes and lungs, helping to decrease inflammation and the discomfort felt while coughing.
Bronchitis can cause a great deal of discomfort, so understanding the signs and treatment options for this disorder is smart. This guide and your doctor will help you diagnose and treat bronchitis effectively and efficiently. Visit a medical clinic for more information.