What Is Bronchitis?
Inflammation of the airways following the lungs due to viruses or bacteria is known as bronchitis. The accumulation of smoke or dust particles in the airways can also cause bronchitis.
A cough is an immediate effect of narrowing the airways due to inflammation. There are two types: the first is ‘Acute,’ and the second refers to ‘Chronic.’ Airway inflammation, or acute bronchitis, is typically brought on by a virus.
Acute is due by influenza and the common cold virus. Without medication, it can be a catastrophic medical emergency that drags on for weeks. The virus usually fades away after a few days.
On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is a persistent lung disease frequently brought on by a lifetime of cigarette smoking. The condition can last for at least three months.
Is Bronchitis Contagious?
Anyone can catch a chest cold. An average adult can get 2 to 3 episodes per year of the common cold. Any of these can quickly turn into acute Bronchitis. It can spread virally, just like colds and flu.
The tiny saliva droplets are produced during cough, wheezing, or speaking. If you’re close enough to someone, these droplets could land in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
People with respiratory illness should keep their distance from others and use face masks. Predicting how your body and others will react when you get a respiratory disease is impossible. Therefore, taking preventative measures for your safety and those around you is essential.
It can cause by exposure to harmful substances, not infectious agents. Chronic Bronchitis is not contagious. Although if a virus causes it, you can be contagious for a few days.
Transmission of Bronchitis
A majority of cases of acute bronchitis can trace back to viruses. It is a condition in which a person can spread the virus to others. Spreads by coughing or contact with infected droplets on furniture surfaces. It can cause by unwashed hands near the nose, mouth, or eyes.
If you think you have acute bronchitis, it’s better to rest at home. Further, it is good to cover your mouth with a handkerchief or your elbows with a bandage when you cough.
A good habit is frequent hand washing with soap and running water. By taking this action, you will slow the transmission of the infection. Acute bronchitis is more likely to strike a select few
- People with a weak or compromised immune system
- For the elderly
- Patients with asthma and those suffering from respiratory-related issues.
- Cigarette smokers
- People who have not received immunization against whooping, pneumococcal diseases, or influenza.
You can reduce your risk by quitting smoking or avoiding them altogether.
A cough, fatigue, tightness in the chest, or a persistent sore throat can be bronchitis, pneumonia, or simply a common cold. How do I tell them apart? Dr. Ford says that its persistence distinguishes it. “It can persist long after symptoms subside.” He offers an anatomy lesson to help you understand bronchitis.
The large airways in the chest are bronchioles, extending into the chest, where the lungs cap them. When the virus infects the bronchioles, it most commonly causes acute bronchitis. The airways produce mucus to fight the virus invaders. This mucus can make you cough like a maniac.
The bronchial lining remains inflamed and irritated even after the virus has passed. You are no longer contagious, even if you have a barking cough that makes your coworkers avoid it. Dr. Ford says, “You are not sick, but there are these exposed, raw tissues in your airways that can be reactive.”
For Chronic Bronchitis:
- Regular use of corticosteroids and bronchodilators opens the airways and decreases inflammation. It improves health and raises living standards.
- Anticholinergic medicines help to treat coughing fits.
- Prednisone and corticosteroids help to treat chronic Bronchitis. These medications reduce inflammation and swelling.
Non-Medication Remedies For Chronic Bronchitis Include:
- Drinking plenty of water helps to thin the mucus, making it easier to eliminate.
- To thin the mucus in the air passages, use a warm or cool moist-air humidifier. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to rule out the possibility of mold or bacteria growth.
- Your doctor may suggest oxygen treatment if you have health issues, particularly if the symptoms worsen abruptly. Many sufferers find “home oxygen therapy” helpful when they have trouble breathing. However, this therapy is only effective if the oxygen level is low.
- Quitting smoking can slow down chronic bronchitis and reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. The best way to quit smoking is to seek counseling from your doctor and join a support group.
When to see a doctor?
Acute bronchitis is usually self-limiting and can manage at home by taking NSAIDS and resting. Three weeks is the average duration of acute bronchitis.
If you are:
- Over three weeks, a persistent, severe cough persists.
- The mucus is a source of blood.
- Breathing is difficult or rapid.
- It can cause confusion and drowsiness.
Fever lasting more than three days may indicate pneumonia. A person with chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) may require bronchodilators or steroids to open the airways and clear mucus. Additionally, oxygen therapy can aid in breathing.