Acute bronchitis is more common during cold and flu season. Acute inflammation is caused by a virus or bacterial infection and usually resolves on its own except for people with:
1. Respiratory irritants such as cigarette smoke, pollutants, chemicals
2. Lowered immune system- such as children, elderly, pregnancy, cancer,
3. Heartburn- GERD
4. Respiratory conditions- Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Symptoms usually began with upper respiratory set the symptoms such as sore throat stuffy nose and cough. The cough starts as a dry hacking nonproductive and usually interrupts sleep. After a few days mucus production begins. Chest X rays may be normal or show inflammation. Scattered wheezing may be noted, and fever may be present. Respiratory infections can last up to 3 weeks. Symptoms include cough with little to no sputum, low grade fever or chills, sore throat, body aches, tightness or pressure of the chest. Sputum tests look for type of respiratory infection such as pertussis.
Chronic bronchitis involves excessive mucus production. There is a relationship between the amount and duration of cigarette smoking and severity of bronchitis. But in advanced stages of chronic bronchitis, emphysema can develop as well as heart failure, increased airway obstruction, and Polycythemia which can result in pulmonary embolism. Diagnosis occurs when the cough and increased mucus production occurs three months each year for two years. Advanced stages of chronic bronchitis can resemble emphysema. Over time chest xray results would show hyperinflation of the lungs. Pulmonary function tests show airway obstruction.
Seek medical care if:
1. Cough lasts more than 3 weeks
2. Prevents you from sleeping
3. Fever of more than 100.4
4. Yellow/green/dark colored mucus or having streaks of blood
5. Having wheezing or SOB
Treatment includes bed rest, and increase of fluid intake as well as:
1. An antibiotic if infection is bacterial
2. Cough medicine- to help expectorate mucus. Cough suppressant only at
bedtime allows for better sleep
3. Inhalers to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in your lungs
4. Wear mask if your exposed to respiratory irritants at work
5. Use humidifier
6. Vaccines- flu, and pneumonia
7. Hand washing to prevent spread of viral infections.
8. Use hand sanitizers