What Causes Bronchitis?

February 3, 2024

Respiratory illnesses are running rampant and acute bronchitis is one of the most common and contagious, but how do you know if you have it?

There are two types of bronchitis—acute and chronic. Most cases of acute bronchitis are diagnosed during cold and flu season. The differences between the two types of bronchitis are highlighted below.

What Is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes which carry air to and from the lungs. People who have bronchitis tend to cough a lot and can struggle to breathe. The coughing often brings up thickened mucus which may be discolored.

Common Bronchitis Symptoms

  • Coughing that is frequent and produces mucus
  • Lack of energy
  • Wheezing when breathing (may or may not be present)
  • Fever and chills (may or may not be present)
  • Shortness of breath

What Are the Causes of Bronchitis?

Though acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis share a name, there are some significant differences between the two concerning how they are caused and treated. Typically, acute bronchitis is brought on by a viral infection such as the common cold or the flu though, sometimes, it is caused by a bacterial infection. You can find some relief through self-care measures.

Chronic bronchitis is usually, though not always, caused by smoking tobacco products. It can also be caused by exposure at work or home to secondhand cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust, or toxic gases. The symptoms of chronic bronchitis may come and go, but it never completely goes away. Treatment often takes the form of breathing treatments, steroids, or other types of bronchodilators, and active avoidance of environmental irritants.

Your risk of chronic bronchitis can be increased by the following factors:

  • A family history of bronchitis
  • Asthma and allergies, and having
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD)
  • You are between the ages of 45 and 65

Now that you know what bronchitis is, you can decrease your risk of developing it by washing your hands regularly, wearing a surgical mask when risk is high, and considering being vaccinated for the flu and other lung issues such as RSV if you are over 60.

If you have bronchitis, there are things you can do to feel better, and we have listed some of them below.

Home Remedies for Bronchitis

  • Drink fluids every one to two hours unless your doctor has restricted your fluid intake.
  • Rest.
  • Do not smoke and stay away from all kinds of smoke.
  • Relieve body aches by taking aspirin or acetaminophen.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on ways to help you clear your mucus.
  • Use a humidifier.

Are you worried that you may have bronchitis? Get the peace of mind you need by visiting AFC Urgent Care Hickory today!

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