Broncitis General description

What is Broncitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchi that carry air in and out of the lungs. People who have bronchitis usually cough up thick mucus and, perhaps, discolored. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic.

Acute bronchitis is very common and often occurs from a cold or other respiratory infection. Chronic bronchitis, more serious illness, is an irritation or continuous inflammation of the lining of the bronchi, in general, by smoking.

Acute bronchitis, also known as a “cold,” usually improves a week or ten days without lasting effects, although the cough may remain for weeks.

However, if you have recurrent episodes of bronchitis, you may have chronic bronchitis, which requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is one of the disorders of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

symptoms of bronchitis

The signs and symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis can be the following:

Mucus production (sputum), which may be transparent, white, yellowish-gray or green-rarely, may show blood spots
Difficulty breathing
Light fever and chills
Discomfort in the chest
If you have acute bronchitis, you may have cold symptoms, such as generalized pain or mild headaches. Although these symptoms usually improve in about a week, you may have annoying cough for several weeks.

Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts at least three months, with recurrent episodes for at least two consecutive years.

If you have chronic bronchitis, you are likely to have periods in which cough or other symptoms get worse. At those times, you may have an acute infection in addition to chronic bronchitis.

When to see the doctor

Check with your doctor if the cough has the following characteristics:

Lasts more than three weeks
It does not let you sleep
It is accompanied by fever greater than 100.4 ° F (38 ° C)
Produces discolored mucus
Produces blood
It is accompanied by a whistle or difficulty breathing
Request a Consultation at Mayo Clinic

Causes of bronchitis

In general, acute bronchitis is caused by viruses, usually the same viruses that cause colds and the flu (influenza). Antibiotics do not kill viruses, so this type of medication is not useful in most cases of bronchitis.

The most frequent cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking cigarettes. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or in the workplace can also contribute to the development of the disease.

Risk factor’s of bronchitis

Some of the factors that increase the risk of getting bronchitis are:

The smoke of the cigarette. People who smoke or who live with a smoker have a higher risk of both acute and chronic bronchitis.
Low resistance. It can be the result of another acute illness, such as a cold, or a chronic disorder that compromises your immune system. Older adults, infants and young children are more vulnerable to infection.
Exposure to irritants in the workplace. The risk of getting bronchitis is higher if you work near certain lung irritants, such as pimples or textiles, or if you are exposed to chemical gases.
Gastric reflux. Recurrent episodes of severe heartburn can irritate the throat and make you more likely to get bronchitis.

Complications of bronchitis

Although a single episode of bronchitis is not a cause for concern, in some people it can lead to pneumonia. However, recurrent episodes of bronchitis may indicate that you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Prevention of bronchitis

To reduce the risk of getting bronchitis, follow the following tips:

Avoid cigarette smoke. This increases the risk of suffering from chronic bronchitis.
Get vaccinated Many cases of acute bronchitis occur because of the influenza virus. If you get the influenza vaccine every year, you can protect yourself against this condition. You can also consider vaccinating against some types of pneumonia.
Wash your hands. To reduce the risk of getting a viral infection, wash your hands often and get used to using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Use surgical mask. If you have a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you may consider wearing a face mask at work if you are exposed to dust or fumes, and when you are in contact with many people, such as while traveling.

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