Acute Bronchitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention
Acute Bronchitis- This is a pathological condition of the lungs in which there is irritation and inflammation of the bronchial tubes causing an individual to cough incessantly.
How Do We Define Acute Bronchitis?
As stated, Bronchitis is a medical condition in which the bronchial tubes which are the tubes that carry oxygen to the lungs get inflamed and irritated resulting in the tubes to swell and produce mucus causing an individual to cough incessantly. Acute Bronchitis can strike both children as well as adults. A normal healthy individual who develops Acute Bronchitis gets better without any complicating issues, but Acute Bronchitis can take a serious turn in the elderly population and individuals who have other illnesses of the lungs like asthma etc. Some of the complications are pneumonia and recurrent bouts of severe bronchitis.
Causes of Acute Bronchitis
Acute Bronchitis generally is caused by a virus. Normally, an individual Acute Bronchitis develops a few in days following an upper respiratory infection like cold or flu. There have been instances where Acute Bronchitis has been caused by bacteria as well. Acute Bronchitis can also be caused as a result of inhaling substances that have a potential to irritate the bronchial tubes like excessive smoke. The bronchial tubes can also get irritated if food or vomitus gets into the lungs.
Symptoms Of Acute Bronchitis
The most striking symptom of Acute Bronchitis is persistent cough which is generally dry hacking. As the infection progresses, the dry cough may become wet and there is production of mucous. The affected individual may also have low grade fever and may feel lethargic and fatigued. Usually, Acute Bronchitis is a self limiting condition and the affected individual may get better in a couple of weeks but there are instances where the cough may persist for more than a month. In case, the symptoms get worse with presence of high fever, chills, or chest pain with shortness of breath then there are chances that it could be pneumonia.
Diagnosis of Acute Bronchitis
To diagnose Acute Bronchitis, the treating physician will first inquire about the symptoms being experienced by the patient and will then conduct a detailed physical examination, which usually confirms Acute Bronchitis. There are instances when the treating physician may order a chest x-ray to rule out other lung conditions like pneumonia etc., especially if the symptoms are not getting better for quite some time.
Treatment For Acute Bronchitis
Majority of cases of Acute Bronchitis are treated without any intervention or drug therapy.
Some Of The Home Remedies For Treating Acute Bronchitis Are:
- Stay away from smoking
- In order to calm down dry throat due to the infection, try and suck cough tablets
- Try and inhale moist air from a humidifier or a hot shower so that the mucous remains moist and can be taken out of the body easily
- Medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc. can be used for fever and body pains
- Adequate rest is imperative
- Consumption of adequate fluids is beneficial
- An over the counter cough medication can also be useful
Prevention Of Acute Bronchitis
- As mentioned stopping smoking and try and even stay away from secondhand smoke
- Keeps yourself clean during the flu season
- Avoid direct contact with sick people
- Get flu vaccine every year.
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