What Is Bronchitis? | Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Bronchitis

What Is Bronchitis? | Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Bronchitis

What is bronchitis? Know more about this respiratory condition as we discuss its causes, signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention below.

In this Article:

 

What is Bronchitis? Causes, Mode of Transmission, Signs & Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

 

What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is the irritation and inflammation of the bronchi, the large tubes that serve as a passageway of air to and from the lungs. It has 2 types -- acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.

Bronchitis Definition | What Is Bronchitis? | Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Bronchitis | bronchitis prevention
  • Acute bronchitis is more commonly referred to as chest cold. It is caused by a viral infection and, seldom, a bacterial infection. Since it’s an acute infection, it lasts only for a few weeks, typically 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Chronic bronchitis is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is caused by inhalation of toxic substances and chronic cigarette smoking. It persists in recurring episodes for more than 6 months to years. Chronic bronchitis may lead to emphysema if left untreated.

 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis?

Bronchitis symptoms are, generally, similar between acute and chronic conditions but they differ in duration:

Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis:

  • Cough that lasts for 2 to 3 weeks

  • Clear, yellow, or green respiratory excretion of mucus

  • Fever (less common)

Bronchitis Infection | What Is Bronchitis? | Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Bronchitis | acute bronchitis symptoms

 

Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis:

  • A persistent cough that lasts for more than 8 weeks

  • Fever

  • Chest pain

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Rapid breathing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Discolored mucus production

  • Post-nasal drip

 

How is Bronchitis Transferred?

Basing on the cause -- having a virus or a bacteria as causative agents -- only acute bronchitis is the infectious type. It can be transferred from one person to another through droplets:

  • Sneezing

  • Coughing

  • Contact with secretions

  • Saliva

 

How is Bronchitis Diagnosed?

Acute bronchitis needs no diagnosis for the most part unless another condition like influenza or pneumonia needs to be ruled out.

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, needs diagnostic tests to be established:

  • X-ray

  • CT Scan

  • Sputum Test

  • Pulmonary Function Test

 

What are the Different Bronchitis Treatment Options?

Since the causes of acute and chronic bronchitis are different, the management and treatment options also differ. Acute bronchitis may be managed by simple home remedies, depending on the causative agent (virus or bacterium):

  • Steam inhalation

  • An increase in fluid and electrolyte intake

  • Prescribed antibiotics (if caused by bacteria)

  • Rest and sleep

Bronchitis Antibiotics | What Is Bronchitis? | Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Bronchitis | how contagious is bronchitis

 

On the other hand, chronic bronchitis needs the assistance of prescription medications and a proper treatment plan:

  • Bronchodilators

  • Antibiotics

  • Steroids

  • Oxygen Therapy

  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation

  • Surgery

  • Cessation of cigarette smoking and/or exposure to toxic gases

 

How Can Bronchitis be Prevented?

The spread of infectious bronchitis can be prevented by:

  • Regular hand washing

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing

  • Vitamins and supplements

Non-infectious bronchitis may be prevented through lifestyle management:

  • Avoiding exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke

  • Avoiding cigarette smoking

  • Regular exercise

  • Pursed lip breathing exercises

  • Avoiding exposure to dust and fumes

  • Wearing protective masks

 

Check out this video from Osmosis for more discussion about chronic bronchitis:

 

To wrap up our discussion, here some words of advice from Dr. Stephen Smith:

“Prevention is the best course of action. I have found most cases of bronchitis can be prevented. Every fall, we would see the first round of bronchitis would occur in school teachers. The children would return to school bringing their newly acquired viruses. The viruses would quickly spread to other children and the teachers. This used to be a problem until started the teachers on Bio-Vegetarian by Priority One.”

 

Would you give Bio-Vegetarian a try? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Up Next: What Is Pneumonia?

 

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the nutritional products mentioned are intended to Diagnose, Treat, Cure or Prevent Any Disease.

 

Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on June 13, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.