How To Deal With Bronchitis
Bronchitis affects the bronchial tubes and leads to a bad cough with the production of mucus. It can either be acute or it could be chronic. The acute form is more common. It usually lasts for a couple of weeks and then starts to improve on its own. However, those who suffered from repeated bouts over a period of time may be suffering from the chronic form. This is usually more severe and requires professional medical attention.
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What is Bronchitis?
Inflammation in the bronchial tubes leads to bronchitis. These tubes are the airways that carry air to the lungs. When they get inflamed, a thick lining of mucus is formed and the body then tries to expel the mucus. This results in a cough with a discharge of discolored mucus.
Common Causes and Symptoms
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by some kind of virus. Since antibiotics don’t kill viruses, medication is not used for bronchitis treatment. Chronic bronchitis is most commonly caused due to smoking of cigarettes. Those who have a lot of exposure to toxic gases, fumes and polluted air may also suffer from this condition.
Bronchitis symptoms for both kinds are very similar. They include:
- A cough
- The production of mucus which may be clear or discolored and can be anything from a yellowish-grey to a slightly green color
- Shortness of breath
- Discomfort in the chest
- A slight fever or the chills
Visiting a Doctor and What Treatment to Expect
If you have a cough that lasts for longer than three weeks, a fever that stays for more than a week and you find it difficult to sleep, you should visit a doctor and get yourself checked. The doctor will ask you a number of questions in order to determine whether there may be some kind of underlying condition that is more serious and needs medical attention. Typical questions that are asked include those related to the symptoms you have been showing, whether you smoke or consume drugs, whether you have been vaccinated for pneumonia and received the flu shot, etc. After that, you may be asked to take a chest x-ray and a few other tests to see the amount of air in your lungs and check the mucus.
After finding out the cause of your illness, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics if he suspects there is a bacterial infection. Otherwise, you will usually be given a cough medicine to help relieve the discomfort or a medicine to treat allergies.
- Avoid Smoking: Smoking is very bad for health and it increases the chances of getting chronic bronchitis.
- Get the Flu Shot: The flu shot will help protect you from influenza which could prevent bronchitis as well. Pneumonia vaccines are also available and should be considered.
Wash your Hands: If your hands stay clean, there are fewer chances of you picking up infections. If you can’t wash your hands, carry around a hand sanitizer.