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Acute Bronchitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Publisher/Author : Pacific Cross

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

Know the basics

What is acute bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis, also known as chest cold, is inflammation of your bronchial tubes in the lungs. In bronchitis, bronchial tubes which carry air to the lungs may be swollen and build up mucus by a viral chest infection.

If your condition lasts less than 10 days, it is acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis usually stays for several weeks and may reoccur.

Despite its sudden occurrence, acute bronchitis may worsen and lead to pneumonia. If you have repeating acute bronchitis, you may suffer from other pulmonary disorders, asthma or chronic bronchitis.

How common is acute bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is a common viral infection. It always comes after a normal cold or flu. Elder people, infants and children are more likely have this condition.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of acute bronchitis?

Symptoms of acute bronchitis are similar to those of the common cold.

You may have the symptoms followed:

  • Cough with mucus
  • Runny nose and sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Aches and pains
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort feeling in the chest when breathing deeply or coughing.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Cough lasts longer than 20 days
  • Insomnia
  • Yellow or darker colored mucus
  • Mucus with blood

You should seek for treatment as soon as possible if you have additional signs of pneumonia that are:

  • High fever (>38OC)
  • Chills
  • Feel severely short of breath or fatigue.

Know the causes

What causes acute bronchitis?

The usual cause of acute bronchitis is the infection by virus following a cold or influenza symptoms. Besides, bacterial infection and bronchi’s lining irritation by chemicals, fumes, dusts or pollutants are other possible causes.

This inflammation and irritation of the lining may result in coughing. Excessed mucus production may make the bronchi narrower, leading to noisy breathing.

Acute bronchitis may be worse by the following things:

  • Smoking
  • Polluted environment
  • Ignoring the symptoms or any abnormal of the body
  • Not following the doctor’s instructions.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for acute bronchitis?

There are many risk factors for acute bronchitis, such as:

  • Tobacco use
  • Weak immune system
  • Severe heartburn from gastric reflux
  • Working in polluted or irritant-containing places
  • Lung problems, such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, or cystic fibrosis.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is acute bronchitis diagnosed?

To diagnose acute bronchitis, your doctor may ask you about the symptoms, do a physical examination, and listen for the noise at your lungs by a stethoscope.

You may have a chest X-ray if your doctor suspects that you have pneumonia.

In this case, you do not need a blood test.

How is acute bronchitis treated?

The doctor may prescribe drugs that relief your irritating symptoms.

If you have fever, you may take antipyretic medicines to low your body temperature. Analgesic medicines, including paracetamol and ibuprofen, can ease your chest discomfort feeling and irritations.

You may be drowsy by taking cough syrups.

Your doctor may use decongestants to treat other symptoms of cold.

For your narrow bronchi, you may need bronchodilators given by inhaler to open the airways and help with breathing.

Antibiotics are not necessary for this condition because it is a viral infection but not a bacterial one unless your doctor suspects otherwise.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage acute bronchitis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with acute bronchitis:

  • Quite smoke if you smoke
  • Avoid smoky places
  • Drink plenty of water. You can drink fruit juices either, but you should get rid of caffeine until you recover fully.
  • Get rest
  • Humidify your room by damp towels or a room humidifier
  • Wash your hands often to prevent infection from spreading
  • Go to see your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or become worse.
  • Do not decide to take any other medications without your doctor’s prescription or allowance.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you. Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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