Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, the tubes/pathways that carry air to & fro from the lungs. The disease is characterized by a constant cough & sputum/mucus.
Bronchitis can be basically classified as acute of chronic, but it has various more classification:
- Acute: It is a short term inflammation of the bronchi, characterized by a cough, sputum may or may not be present, & a mild fever, if present. The infection may last for a maximum of 10 days, however the symptoms can persist till 3 weeks, the infection above all is due to a viral infection.
- Chronic: Defined as a constant productive cough, along with an overproduction of mucus, cough in chronic bronchitis can last from 3 months to upto two years. COPD is a comorbidity that is associated with it. The condition is usually caused due to exposure to smoke.
- Eosinophilic bronchitis is a chronic dry cough, defined by the presence of an increased number of WBC’s called eosinophils.
- Protracted bacterial bronchitis is a chronic productive cough in children usually resolved by antibiotics.
- Aspergillus bronchitis, in which the bronchi are victim to fungal infection by the fungus, Aspergillus.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Cough that lasts for more than 10 days
- Cough along with mucus
- Shortness of breath & breathing problems
- Chest discomfort
- Mild fever
- Overproduction of mucus
- Yellow or green mucus
- Blood in mucus
- Redness of the throat
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS OF BRONCHITIS
- Viral & bacterial infection in acute bronchitis
- Exposure to excessive smoke in chronic bronchitis
- Smoking of tobacco or cannabis
- Inhalation of industrial smoke, in coal mines, air pollutants, chemical hazards, metal molding, etc
- Sulfur & nitrogen dioxide.
- Acid reflux
- Low immunity of lungs
- TB or Pneumonia
- Chronic Bronchitis is usually associated with COPD.
- Most patients with chronic bronchitis have COPD, although not every patient with COPD have chronic bronchitis.
- Reducing quality of lungs.
- Inability to perform heavy physical activities.
DIAGNOSIS FOR BRONCHITIS
- Physical examination of the symptoms presented like, nature of cough, presence of sputum if any, its consistency & color, similarly presence of chest pain.
- Chest X-Ray to check whether something is wrong with the lungs, & for differential diagnosis of TB, pneumonia, COPD, etc.
- Sputum test to check for the presence of TB bacteria for differential diagnosis, after that to check for the consistency & color of the sputum, therefore it can be determined if the infection is treatable by antibiotics.
- Pulmonary function test, a patient is made to blow into a device called a spirometer, to check for the air holding capacity of the lungs & to rule out asthma.
- Medications like paracetamol, aspirin, etc.
- OTC cough syrup
- Drugs like relax the bronchi & air pathway, called bronchodilators.
- Expectorants/Mucolytics, drugs that clear mucus, & reduce its secretion
- Oxygen therapy
PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT OF BRONCHITIS
- Using humidifiers, warm moist air relieves cough & loosens the mucus.
- Drinking plenty of warm water
- Honey has showed evidence for relieving symptoms
- Cutting off smoking
- Wearing a mask in pollution
- Staying clear of industrial, chemical or toxic exhaust