Bronchitis

Contents
  1. Chronic Bronchitis | Symptoms of Bronchitis
  2. What causes chronic bronchitis?
  3. Who is at risk for chronic bronchitis?
  4. What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?
  5. How is chronic bronchitis diagnosed?
  6. What are the treatments for chronic bronchitis?
  7. Can chronic bronchitis be prevented?
  8. Bronchitis Symptoms & Treatment
  9. What is the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia?
  10. What causes bronchitis?
  11. What are the symptoms of bronchitis?
  12. Is bronchitis contagious?
  13. How long are you contagious if you have acute bronchitis?
  14. How is acute bronchitis spread?
  15. References
  16. Bronchitis Symptoms and Treatments
  17. List of Bronchitis Symptoms
  18. For These Bronchitis Symptoms, Contact a Doctor
  19. Home Remedies for Bronchitis
  20. Acute Bronchitis Medications
  21. Chronic Bronchitis Treatments
  22. Other Ways to Reduce Bronchitis Risk
  23. Bronchitis: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology
  24. Bronchitis Symptoms, Contagious, Transmission, and Recovery
  25. What should you know about acute bronchitis?
  26. Is acute bronchitis contagious?
  27. What are the signs and symptoms of acute bronchitis?
  28. How causes acute bronchitis?
  29. What are the types of bronchitis?
  30. What drugs treat acute bronchitis?
  31. What is acute bronchitis?
  32. Is acute bronchitis contagious?
  33. What causes acute bronchitis?
  34. Who gets acute bronchitis?
  35. How can I tell if I have acute bronchitis?
  36. How long does acute bronchitis last?
  37. What natural or home remedies treat and cure acute bronchitis?
  38. What is the treatment for acute bronchitis?
  39. What medications treat and cure acute bronchitis?
  40. Cough suppressants
  41. Which specialties of doctors treat acute bronchitis?
  42. When should I contact my doctor about acute bronchitis?
  43. Bronchitis
  44. Symptoms
  45. Diagnosis
  46. Treatment for Acute Bronchitis
  47. Treatment for Chronic Bronchitis
  48. Prevention

Chronic Bronchitis | Symptoms of Bronchitis

Bronchitis
URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/chronicbronchitis.html

Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse over time. The other main type of COPD is emphysema.

Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.

Chronic bronchitis is inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are the airways that carry air to and from the air sacs in your lungs. The irritation of the tubes causes mucus to build up. This mucus and the swelling of the tubes make it harder for your lungs to move oxygen in and carbon dioxide your body.

What causes chronic bronchitis?

The cause of chronic bronchitis is usually long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause chronic bronchitis, especially if you inhale them.

Exposure to other inhaled irritants can contribute to chronic bronchitis. These include secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dusts from the environment or workplace.

Rarely, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can play a role in causing chronic bronchitis.

Who is at risk for chronic bronchitis?

The risk factors for chronic bronchitis include

  • Smoking. This the main risk factor. Up to 75 percent of people who have chronic bronchitis smoke or used to smoke.
  • Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes and dusts from the environment or workplace.
  • Age. Most people who have chronic bronchitis are at least 40 years old when their symptoms begin.
  • Genetics. This includes alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is a genetic condition. Also, smokers who get chronic bronchitis are more ly to get it if they have a family history of COPD.

What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

At first, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include

  • Frequent coughing or a cough that produces a lot mucus
  • Wheezing
  • A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Tightness in your chest

Some people with chronic bronchitis get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, chronic bronchitis can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.

How is chronic bronchitis diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your medical history and family history
  • Will ask about your symptoms
  • May do lab tests, such as lung function tests, a chest x-ray or CT scan, and blood tests

What are the treatments for chronic bronchitis?

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis. However, treatments can help with symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and improve your ability to stay active. There are also treatments to prevent or treat complications of the disease. Treatments include

  • Lifestyle changes, such as
    • Quitting smoking if you are a smoker. This is the most important step you can take to treat chronic bronchitis.
    • Avoiding secondhand smoke and places where you might breathe in other lung irritants
    • Ask your health care provider for an eating plan that will meet your nutritional needs. Also ask about how much physical activity you can do. Physical activity can strengthen the muscles that help you breathe and improve your overall wellness.
  • Medicines, such as
    • Bronchodilators, which relax the muscles around your airways. This helps open your airways and makes breathing easier. Most bronchodilators are taken through an inhaler. In more severe cases, the inhaler may also contain steroids to reduce inflammation.
    • Vaccines for the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia, since people with chronic bronchitis are at higher risk for serious problems from these diseases.
    • Antibiotics if you get a bacterial or viral lung infection
  • Oxygen therapy, if you have severe chronic bronchitis and low levels of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen therapy can help you breathe better. You may need extra oxygen all the time or only at certain times.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems. It may include
    • An exercise program
    • Disease management training
    • Nutritional counseling
    • Psychological counseling
  • A lung transplant, as a last resort for people who have severe symptoms that have not gotten better with medicines

If you have chronic bronchitis, it's important to know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You should get emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. Call your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have signs of an infection, such as a fever.

Can chronic bronchitis be prevented?

Since smoking causes most cases of chronic bronchitis, the best way to prevent it is to not smoke. It's also important to try to avoid lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Source: https://medlineplus.gov/chronicbronchitis.html

Bronchitis Symptoms & Treatment

Bronchitis
Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: How are they Different?

Bronchitis occurs when the bronchioles (air-carrying tubes in the lungs) are inflamed and make too much mucus. There are two basic types of bronchitis:

  • Chronic bronchitis is defined as cough productive of sputum that persists for three months the year for at least two consecutive years. The cough and inflammation may be caused by initial respiratory infection or illness, exposure to tobacco smoke or other irritating substances in the air. Chronic bronchitis can cause airflow obstruction and then is grouped under the term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Acute or short-term bronchitis is more common and usually is caused by a viral infection. Episodes of acute bronchitis can be related to and made worse by smoking. Acute bronchitis could last for 10 to 14 days, possibly causing symptoms for three weeks.

Excess mucus in the bronchial tubes

What is the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia?

In terms of symptoms, these two diseases may seem very similar. Both cause cough, fever, fatigue, and a heavy feeling in your chest. Bronchitis can sometimes progress to pneumonia.

Despite similarities, the conditions are different. First, bronchitis involves the bronchial tubes, while pneumonia affects the alveoli, or the air sacs in the lungs. Second, pneumonia symptoms are usually much worse. In addition, pneumonia can be life-threatening, especially in older people and other vulnerable groups.

If your symptoms do not get better in a week or so, it is best to contact your doctor.

What causes bronchitis?

Usually, acute bronchitis is brought on by a viral infection, though it may also be caused by a bacterial infection. The flu and colds are examples of viral infections.

Chronic bronchitis is usually, but not always, caused by smoking tobacco. It can also be caused by exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust, or toxic gases. Your risk can be increased by family history of bronchitis, having asthma and allergies, and having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

Symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • A cough that is frequent and produces mucus.
  • A lack of energy.
  • A wheezing sound when breathing (may or may not be present).
  • A fever (may or may not be present).
  • Shortness of breath.

Is bronchitis contagious?

Acute bronchitis can be contagious because it is usually caused by infection with a virus or bacteria. Chronic bronchitis is not ly to be contagious because it is a condition usually caused by long-term irritation of airways.

How long are you contagious if you have acute bronchitis?

If you have begun taking antibiotics for bronchitis, you usually stop being contagious 24 hours after starting the medication. If you have a viral form of bronchitis, antibiotics will not work. You will be contagious for at least a few days and possibly for as long as a week.

How is acute bronchitis spread?

If bronchitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it is spread the same ways that colds are spread—by germs traveling through the air when someone coughs or sneezes.

You can breathe the germs in if you are close enough. You could also touch something that has germs on it, a door, and then transfer the germs by touching your nose, mouth or eyes.

That is why good hand washing practices are important for adults and children.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/12/2019.

References

Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/3993-bronchitis

Bronchitis Symptoms and Treatments

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways in the lungs. The main tubes that air flows through in the lungs are called bronchi, and branching off them are smaller tubes called bronchioles.

When these tubes become inflamed it causes narrowing, constriction, and blockage of the airways, which leads to symptoms of bronchitis.

Bronchitis can be acute, lasting less than six weeks, or chronic, recurring multiple times for more than two years.

Acute bronchitis is a form of the illness that starts suddenly and resolves itself after just a few weeks. Symptoms of acute bronchitis include hacking cough and production of mucus (phlegm). It is usually brought on by a viral (90%) or bacterial illness in the upper respiratory tract. While the symptoms can be bothersome, acute bronchitis in otherwise healthy people is rarely severe.

Chronic bronchitis is a recurrent disorder where there is chronic inflammation, swelling, and narrowing of the airways. It is defined as a cough with production of mucus (sputum) for at least a 3-month period, for two years in a row. Chronic bronchitis is usually the result of lung damage from chronic medical disorders or smoking.

Smoking is a major irritant to the lungs, and it causes damage on the cellular level.

This damage to the lung tissue, especially the cilia (cells in the lung lining that help clear out debris and mucus), causes the lung tissue to be more susceptible to acute bronchitis.

Smokers also eventually cause so much damage to their lungs they can get chronic bronchitis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Acute bronchitis is caused by upper respiratory viral infections in 90% of cases; the other 10% of cases are caused by bacterial infections.

Chronic bronchitis is caused by repeated inflammation of the lung tissues. People at highest risk for chronic bronchitis are those who have occupational exposure to lung irritants (such as coal miners, construction workers, metal workers, etc.), and smokers. High levels of air pollution can also contribute to developing chronic bronchitis.

There are many symptoms of bronchitis that can often be painful and uncomfortable.

List of Bronchitis Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Production of mucus (phlegm)
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

If bronchitis is suspected, you may need to seek professional medical attention.

For These Bronchitis Symptoms, Contact a Doctor

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • High fever
  • Coughing up blood
  • Throat swelling
  • Wheezing
  • Symptoms that worsen or last longer than 2 weeks

If symptoms of bronchitis are not severe, you may be able to effectively treat it with home remedies.

Home Remedies for Bronchitis

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Quit smoking
  • Take over-the-counter fever-reducing medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) if advised by a doctor
  • Get plenty of rest

Bronchitis is generally diagnosed by a doctor taking a medical history and performing a physical exam. Usually no additional tests are needed.

In more severe cases of bronchitis, or in cases of chronic bronchitis, a chest X-ray, blood tests, or pulmonary function testing may be needed.

Treatment for bronchitis usually includes home remedies discussed such as drinking plenty of fluids, quitting smoking, getting plenty of rest, and taking over-the-counter fever reducers.

Over-the-counter cough medications are rarely useful and in some young children may be harmful.Antibiotics are rarely prescribed because most cases of bronchitis are caused by viruses, which do not respond to antibiotics.If symptoms are severe enough to see a doctor, patients may be prescribed medications.

Acute Bronchitis Medications

  • Inhaled bronchodilators
  • Steroids
  • Expectorant cough medications

There are several ways to help keep chronic bronchitis at bay.

Chronic Bronchitis Treatments

  • Inhaled bronchodilators
  • Inhaled or oral steroids
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Yearly flu vaccinations
  • Pneumococcal vaccinations

Because chronic bronchitis makes the lungs more susceptible to bacterial infections, doctors may prescribe antibiotics to treat these secondary infections.

The treatment for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is similar to that for chronic bronchitis: inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled or oral steroids, supplemental oxygen, annual flu vaccinations, and pneumococcal vaccinations.

The most important thing patients with COPD can do is stop smoking.

The most important thing a person can do to reduce the risk of getting bronchitis is to not smoke and to avoid second-hand smoke.

Other Ways to Reduce Bronchitis Risk

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Reduce occupational exposures to lung irritants
  • Avoid others who may have symptoms of upper respiratory infections

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REFERENCES:

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is Bronchitis?”
  • UpToDate: “Acute Bronchitis in Adults”

Source: https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/bronchitis_lung_infection

Bronchitis: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology

Bronchitis

Author

Jazeela Fayyaz, DO Attending Physician, Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Medical Director of Sleep Lab, Unity Hospital

Jazeela Fayyaz, DO is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Roger B Olade, MD, MPH Medical Director, Genesis Health Group

Roger B Olade, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Klaus-Dieter Lessnau, MD, FCCP Former Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine; Medical Director, Pulmonary Physiology Laboratory, Director of Research in Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital

Klaus-Dieter Lessnau, MD, FCCP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Thoracic Society, Society of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP Geri and Richard Brawerman Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Professor and Executive Vice Chairman, Department of Medicine, Medical Director, Women's Guild Lung Institute, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine

Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Federation for Medical Research, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Paul Blackburn, DO, FACOEP, FACEP Attending Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Maricopa Medical Center

Paul Blackburn, DO, FACOEP, FACEP, is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association, and Arizona Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

David FM Brown, MD Associate Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Vice Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

David FM Brown, MD, is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Lippincott textbook royalty; Wiley textbook royalty

Ali Hmidi, MD Resident Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, Brooklyn Hospital Center, Weill Cornell Medical College

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey Nascimento, DO, MS Fellow, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital

Jeffrey Nascimento, DO, MS, is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Thoracic Society, New York County Medical Society, and Society of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Robert E O'Connor, MD, MPH Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia Health System

Robert E O'Connor, MD, MPH, is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Physician Executives, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, Medical Society of Delaware, National Association of EMS Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and Wilderness Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Samuel Ong, MD Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Samer Qarah, MD Pulmonary Critical Care Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, The Brooklyn Hospital Center and Cornell University

Samer Qarah, MD, is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

Source: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/297108-overview

Bronchitis Symptoms, Contagious, Transmission, and Recovery

Bronchitis
Coronavirus COVID-19: Latest News and Information Source: iStock

What should you know about acute bronchitis?

The medical definition of acute bronchitis is a cough lasting five or more days suggests acute bronchitis as a cause. Sometimes people with recurrent acute bronchitis (flare-ups) develop chronic bronchitis and/or a respiratory infection. Bronchitis is an inflammation of your bronchial tubes (the tubes that carry air to your lungs and makeup the bronchial tree).

Is acute bronchitis contagious?

Acute bronchitis can be contagious, however, acute bronchitis caused by exposure to pollutants, tobacco smoke and other chemicals is not contagious

What are the signs and symptoms of acute bronchitis?

The primary symptom of acute bronchitis is a cough. Other symptoms include sputum production, sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, and cough up sputum or vomit mucus.

How causes acute bronchitis?

The most common way people become infected with or “get” acute bronchitis is by a viral or bacterial infection; however, other causes may include irritants tobacco smoke, air pollution, or chemicals. Some home remedies may relieve and soothe bronchitis symptoms.

What are the types of bronchitis?

There are two types of bronchitis 1) acute bronchitis, and 2) chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is defined as a cough that occurs every day with sputum production that lasts for at least 3 months, 2 years in a row.

What drugs treat acute bronchitis?

Some medications may relieve bronchitis symptoms, for example, cough suppressants, NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and antibiotics (for bacterial infections only). In children under age 2, a pediatrician should be consulted before OCT medicines are used. In children under age 2, consult a pediatrician before using over the counter (OCT) medicine.

How do you get acute bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is contagious if the causes is viral or bacterial, and will last until the the symptoms go away. Bronchitis usually lasts about 10 to 20 days, if it lasts longer than that you probably have chronic bronchitis, which is defined as a cough that occurs every day with sputum production for the last three months 2 years in a row.

Acute bronchitis is often referred to as a “chest cold,” caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. Acute bronchitis usually lasts about 10 days. Chronic bronchitis is defined as a cough that occurs every day with sputum production that lasts for at least 3 months, two years in a row. Both acute and chronic bronchitis have similar symptoms chronic cough and wheezing.

Learn more about chronic bronchitis symptoms and signs » Source: Bigstock

What is acute bronchitis?

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Acute bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes (the airways that allow air to pass from the mouth to the lungs) that usually is caused by viruses or bacteria. Although other irritants for example, smoke or pollution, also may cause the disease, they are far less frequent causes.

Is acute bronchitis contagious?

The majority of people with acute bronchitis are contagious if the cause is an infectious agent such as a virus or bacterium.

The contagious period for both bacteria and viruses is usually as long as the patient has symptoms although for a few viruses, then maybe contagious a few days before symptoms appear. Contagious viruses that may cause acute bronchitis are listed in the causes section.

Tracheobronchitis (inflammation of both the bronchiole(s) and the trachea) may lead to lung infections (respiratory infections pneumonia).

People usually are less ly to be contagious as the symptoms wane. However, acute bronchitis caused by the immune system, exposure to pollutants, tobacco smoke (including second-hand smoke), or other environmental chemicals or toxins that are bronchiole and/or lung irritants are not contagious.

Source: iStock

What causes acute bronchitis?

The most common cause of acute bronchitis are viral (short-term viral). There is no “bronchitis virus” as many different types of viruses can cause bronchitis. The main genera of viruses that cause acute bronchitis include:

Many people develop mild symptoms of acute bronchitis so often that the exact virus that caused the infection is never determined. In addition, the common cold may mimic an acute bronchitis flair-up.

Bacteria are less common causes of acute bronchitis. Bacterial causes of the disease (bacterial bronchitis) include:

  • Mycoplasma
  • Streptococcus
  • Bordetella
  • Moraxella
  • Haemophilus
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae

Other irritants (for example, tobacco smoke, chemicals, etc.) may irritate the bronchi and cause acute bronchitis. Consequently, bronchial or bronchitis infections are not the only cause of acute bronchitis.

Source: Bigstock

Who gets acute bronchitis?

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Risk factors for acute bronchitis are the same as those for getting viral and bacterial infections and two include:

Being in close contact with people that are coughing, sneezing, and touching items that infected persons recently handled.

People that are exposed to air pollution, tobacco smoke, and to chemicals that are aerosolized are at higher risk for acute bronchitis. Unfortunately, many people worldwide are at risk of getting this type of bronchitis. About 4.6 100 individuals may develop acute bronchitis each year (or about 12.5 million in the US). The highest risks for the disease are the winter months.

How can I tell if I have acute bronchitis?

Because acute bronchitis has many causes is often self-limiting within 10 to 20 days and its main symptom is coughing, most doctors consider the diagnosis after a history and physical without additional tests.

If the diagnosis is not clear or the specific cause needs to be identified , such tests as sputum cytology, throat cultures, influenza tests, chest X-rays, blood gas, procalcitonin levels and even bronchoscopy have been used to identify specific viral, bacterial and other sources or causes or rule out more severe illnesses (such as a pneumonia).

Usually, the symptoms of acute bronchitis are mild to moderate and symptoms cough are treated for a few days before a more extensive workup is begun.

How long does acute bronchitis last?

  • A cough lasting five or more days suggests acute bronchitis as a cause.
  • Acute bronchitis usually lasts about 10 to 20 days.
  • People with recurrent acute bronchitis may develop chronic bronchitis.

Chronic bronchitis is defined as a cough that occurs every day with sputum production that lasts for at least 3 months, 2 years in a row.

However, acute bronchitis may develop into chronic bronchitis in some individuals and even lead to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Source: iStock

What natural or home remedies treat and cure acute bronchitis?

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Home remedies may help reduce acute bronchitis symptoms. For example:

  • Stay well hydrated by drinking fluids
  • Use a humidifier to moisten the air.
  • Avoid dairy products because they thicken mucous secretions
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine because of potential drug interactions
  • Avoid exposure to environmental smoke and other air pollutants
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) cough suppressants and cough drops can help reduce coughing symptoms.

If symptoms worsen, see your doctor. For children under age 2 (and some doctors recommend under age 6), the doctor should be consulted before OTC medicines are used.

What is the treatment for acute bronchitis?

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Bed rest and supportive care such as reducing coughing are the main treatments for acute bronchitis. Usually, antibiotics are not needed, especially if bronchitis has viral or environmental causes.

For some people who have wheezing with their cough, bronchodilators (beta2 agonists) may be helpful.

The most useful treatments are directed at reducing cough symptoms with over the counter preparations containing guaifenesin (an expectorant) and a mucolytic. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) often are added to reduce inflammation and help relieve discomfort.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend giving OTC cough and cold medications to children under two years of age. These medicines may cause harmful side effects that can be life-threatening to young children.

Side effects include organ toxicity (kidneys, for example) and death.

Which illness is known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection? See Answer Source: Getty Images

What medications treat and cure acute bronchitis?

The following medication(s) may be helpful for people with acute bronchitis.

Cough suppressants

  • Robitussin and Delsym: Use this medicine sparingly because coughing helps remove irritants from the air passages, and you want to cough these irritants these passges in the lungs.
  • Mucolytics (Mucinex, Mucomyst): These medicines help remove sticky mucus from the airways.
  • Acetaminophen and NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) may reduce inflammation and/or discomfort.
  • Inhaler bronchodilators: This medicine opens airways, which makes it easier to breathe.
  • Antibiotics: Acute bronchitis is treated with antibiotics only if the cause is bacterial (suspected or diagnosed). Reports indicate that about 65%-80% of people with acute bronchitis receive an antibiotic despite evidence that antibiotics are not effective in treating acute bronchitis (with a few exceptions). Antibiotics are not recommended for routine acute bronchitis treatment.

Do not give drugs NSAIDs and aspirin to young children and young adults due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. Check with a pediatrician before giving over-the-counter medicine to your child.

Which specialties of doctors treat acute bronchitis?

Primary care physicians and pediatricians often treat acute bronchitis. If acute bronchitis reoccurs (recurring bronchitis), other specialties such as allergists, infectious disease or ENT specialists may be consulted. If you are pregnant, consult your OB/GYN or Midwife.

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Source: Bigstock

When should I contact my doctor about acute bronchitis?

Most people do not need to contact their doctor since acute bronchitis is usually limited to about 10 to 20 days and then resolves.

However, call your doctor or other healthcare professional if your symptoms become severe or if you develop a fever that does not go down.

Moreover, if other symptoms develop (short of breath, night sweats), if the symptoms persist past about 20 day, or if you have repeated bouts of acute bronchitis during the year, you should contact your doctor.

If you think your child has acute bronchitis (especially those aged two and under), call your pediatrician to have your child seen. Some doctors recommend that pediatricians treat children under 6 years old.

Bronchitis (Acute) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Remedies, and Cures See a medical illustration of bronchitis plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images

Medically Reviewed on 2/8/2019

References

CDC. Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices; Adult Treatment Recommendations. Updated: Oct 03, 2017. MCarolan, PL, MD. Pediatric Bronchitis. Medscape. Updated: Jan 22, 2019.

Gonzales, R. et al. Management of uncomplicated acute bronchitis in adults. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Mar 20;134(6):521-9.

Source: https://www.medicinenet.com/bronchitis_acute/article.htm

Bronchitis

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is when your bronchial tubes, which carry air to your lungs, get inflamed and swollen. You end up with a nagging cough and mucus.

There are two types:

  • Acute bronchitis. This is more common. Symptoms last for a few weeks, but it doesn’t usually cause problems past that.
  • Chronic bronchitis. This one is more serious. It keeps coming back or doesn’t go away.

Symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis include breathing problems, such as:

  • Chest congestion, when your chest feels full or clogged
  • A cough that may bring up mucus that’s clear, white, yellow, or green
  • Shortness of breath
  • A wheezing or a whistling sound when you breathe

Symptoms of acute bronchitis also may include: 

Even after the other symptoms of acute bronchitis are gone, the cough can last for a few weeks while your bronchial tubes heal and the swelling goes down. If it goes on much longer than that, the problem might be something else.

With chronic bronchitis, your cough lasts for at least 3 months and comes back at least 2 years in a row.

Most often, the same viruses that give you a cold or the flu cause acute bronchitis. But sometimes, bacteria bring it on.

In both of these cases, as your body fights the germs, your bronchial tubes swell and make more mucus. That means you have smaller openings for air to flow through, which can make it harder to breathe.

Chronic bronchitis causes include:

  • Breathing in air pollution and other things that bother your lungs, chemical fumes or dust, over time
  • Smoking or breathing in secondhand smoke for a long time

You have a bigger chance of getting either kind of bronchitis if:

  • You smoke.
  • You have asthma and allergies.
  • You have a weaker immune system. This is sometimes the case for older adults and people with ongoing diseases, as well as for babies and young children. Even a cold can make it more ly, since your body’s already busy fighting those germs.

Your risk of getting chronic bronchitis is higher if:

  • You’re a female smoker. You may be more at risk than a male smoker.
  • You have a family history of lung disease.

Call your doctor if your cough:

  • Brings up blood or mucus that thickens or darkens
  • Keeps you awake at night
  • Lasts more than 3 weeks
  • Causes chest pain
  • Has a barking sound and makes it hard to speak
  • Comes along with unexplained weight loss

You’ll also want to call your doctor if you have a cough and you have:

  • A foul-tasting fluid in your mouth 
  • Fever over 100.4
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath

If you’re 75 or older and you have an ongoing cough, check with your doctor to see whether you should come in. Call your doctor if you have a lung condition COPD and a flare-up of chronic bronchitis.

Bronchitis can lead to pneumonia, though this is rare. Usually, it doesn’t cause any other problems.

Your doctor usually can tell whether you have bronchitis a physical exam and your symptoms. They’ll ask about your cough, such as how long you’ve had it and what kind of mucus comes up with it. They’ll also listen to your lungs to see whether anything sounds wrong, wheezing.

Your doctor may need to do some tests, depending on whether they think you have acute or chronic bronchitis. These tests may include:

  • Check the oxygen levels in your blood. This is done with a sensor that goes on your toe or finger.
  • Do a lung function test. You’ll breathe into a device called a spirometer to test for emphysema (a type of COPD in which air sacs in your lungs are destroyed) and asthma.
  • Give you a chest X-ray. This is to check for pneumonia or another illness that could cause your cough.
  • Order blood tests. These can identify signs of infection or measure the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood.
  • Test your mucus to rule out diseases caused by bacteria. One of these is whooping cough, also called pertussis. It causes violent coughing that makes it hard to breathe. If your doctor thinks you have this or the flu, they’ll also take a nasal swab.

Most of the time, acute bronchitis goes away on its own within a couple of weeks.

If yours is caused by bacteria (which is rare), your doctor may give you antibiotics. If you have asthma or allergies, or you’re wheezing, they might suggest an inhaler. This helps open your airways and makes it easier to breathe.

To ease your acute bronchitis symptoms, you can:

  • Drink a lot of water. Eight to 12 glasses a day helps thin out your mucus and makes it easier to cough it up.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen help with pain. But avoid giving aspirin to children. You can use acetaminophen to help with both pain and fever.
  • Use a humidifier or steam. A hot shower can be great for loosening mucus.
  • Take over-the-counter cough medicines. You might take a medicine guaifenesin during the day to loosen your mucus so it's easier to cough up. Your doctor will call this an expectorant. Check with your pediatrician before giving any cough medicine to children.

Chronic bronchitis treatments target your symptoms and include:

  • Medications antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and bronchodilators to help open your airways.
  • A mucus-clearing device to help you cough up fluid more easily.
  • Oxygen therapy so you can breathe better.
  • Pulmonary rehab, an exercise program that can help you breathe more easily and exercise more.

To lower your chances of getting acute bronchitis or a flare-up of chronic bronchitis: 

  • Stay away from cigarette smoke.
  • Get the flu vaccine since you can get bronchitis from the flu virus.
  • Make sure your pertussis vaccine is up to date.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Wear a mask when you’re around things that bother your lungs, such as paint fumes.

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Bronchitis,” “Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).”

FamilyDoctor.org: “Acute Bronchitis.”

American Lung Association: “What Is COPD?” “Acute Bronchitis Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors,” “Diagnosing and Treating Acute Bronchitis,” “Managing and Preventing Acute Bronchitis,” “Emphysema.”

Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: “Acute Bronchitis.”

CDC: “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work”  “Pertussis.”

NHS: “Bronchitis.”

PubMed: “Bronchitis.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Bronchitis.”

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Acute Bronchitis.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Bronchitis Symptoms

Source: https://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-bronchitis-basics

Symptoms

Symptoms of acute bronchitis include: 

  • Cough 

  • Shortness of breath 

  • Wheezing 

  • “Rattle” sensation in chest 

  • General ill feeling, or malaise 

  • Slight fever 

  • Tickle feeling in back of throat that leads to soreness 

  • Chest pain, soreness, and tightness in the chest 

  • Poor sleep 

  • Chills (uncommon) 

Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include: 

  • Cough that produces mucus (sputum), which may be blood streaked 

  • Shortness of breath aggravated by exertion or mild activity 

  • Frequent respiratory infections that worsen symptoms 

  • Wheezing 

  • Fatigue 

  • Headaches 

Diagnosis

Tests to diagnose acute and chronic bronchitis include: 

Treatment for Acute Bronchitis

  • Antibiotics usually aren't helpful because acute bronchitis is almost always caused by a virus, which will not respond to antibiotics. Antibiotics are usually only needed if your doctor diagnoses you with whooping cough or pneumonia. 

  • Medications called bronchodilators are used to open tight air passages in the lungs. Your doctor may prescribe this type of medicine if you are wheezing. 

  • Decongestants may also help relieve symptoms of bronchitis. Medications that loosen mucus can also be prescribed, but how well they work remains uncertain. 

  • Your doctor will tell you to drink more fluids to help thin mucus in the lungs, rest and soothe your airways by increasing humidity in the air with a cool mist humidifier. 

Symptoms will usually go away within seven to 14 days if you don't have chronic pulmonary disease. However, in some people it may take much longer for the cough to go away. 

Treatment for Chronic Bronchitis

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis. Treatments to relieve symptoms and prevent complications include: 

  • Inhaled medications that dilate (widen) the airways and decrease inflammation may help reduce symptoms such as wheezing.

  • Antibiotics to fight infections

  • Corticosteroids may occasionally be used during flare-ups of wheezing or in people with severe bronchitis that does not respond to other treatments. 

  • Oxygen therapy may be needed in severe cases. 

Treatment will help symptoms, but chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition that keeps coming back or never goes away completely. 

Prevention

Good handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting viruses and other respiratory infections. 

  • Since flu viruses have been shown to be a major cause of bronchitis, getting a flu shot may also help prevent acute bronchitis. 

  • Limit exposure to cold, damp environments.

Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/bronchitis

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