What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi in the lungs.
Both adults and children can get bronchitis, symptoms are similar for both.Infants usually get bronchiolitis, which involves the smaller airways and causes symptoms similar to asthma.

What are the kinds of bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and may last several days or weeks.
Chronic bronchitis is not necessarily caused by infection and is generally part of a syndrome called COPD a persistent cough that produces sputum (phlegm), for at least three months in two consecutive years.

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

Bronchitis may be indicated by:
  • Expectorating cough
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Wheezing
  • Occasionally chest pains
  • Fever
  • Fatigue or malaise
  • Sputum characteristics do not correspond with a particular etiology

Acute bronchitis often follows a cold or infection.
The earliest clinical feature of bronchitis is increased secretion of mucus by sub mucosal glands of the trachea and bronchi. Damage caused by irritation of the airways leads to inflammation and infiltration of the lung tissue by neutrophil. The neutrophil release substances that promote mucosal hyper secretion.
Neutrophil infiltrate the lung tissue, aided by damage to the airways caused by irritation.
Damage caused by irritation of the airways leads to inflammation and leads to neutrophil being present
Mucosal hyper secretion is promoted by a substance released by neutrophil
Further obstruction to the airways is caused by more goblet cells in the small airways. This is typical of chronic bronchitis
Although infection is not the reason or cause of chronic bronchitis it is seen to aid in sustaining the bronchitis.

How to treat bronchitis?
In most cases, acute bronchitis is caused by viruses, not bacteria and it will go away on its own without antibiotics.
To treat acute bronchitis that appears to be caused by a bacterial infection, or as a precaution, antibiotics may be given, also to treat bronchitis symptoms must be treated:
  • Acetaminophen will help with fever and muscle aches.
  • Drinking fluids is very important because fever causes the body to lose fluid faster. Lung secretions will be thinner and thus easier to clear when you are well hydrated.
  • A cool mist vaporizer or humidifier can help decrease bronchial irritation.
  • Cough suppressant may be helpful. Preparations with Guaifenesin (will loosen secretions) Dextromethorphan suppresses cough.
  • Bronchodilator will help open airways and decrease wheezing e.g. Aironyl.

Print this page