Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Bronchitis can be a consequence of the common cold, flu or some other infection which affects your respiratory tract. Other causes of bronchitis may include viruses, bacteria or long term exposure to chemicals or pollutants. Smokers are at greater risk of bronchitis than people who do not smoke. This disease is more common in children, elderly and in people with weakened immune system. Bronchitis may last from several days to a couple of weeks.
The most common symptom of bronchitis is cough. In some cases, cough can last for a long time, even if the other symptoms are no longer present. The cough up may contain white, yellow or green mucus. Other common symptoms are breathing difficulties, wheezing, weakness, fever, chills and pain in the chest. You may also experience some of the symptoms which are similar to the common cold, such as runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. More severe cases of bronchitis may include persistent cough which lasts for 3 weeks or more, cough which lasts during the night, high and persistent fever, hoarseness and fatigue.
The treatment of bronchitis includes medications, plenty of fluids and plenty of rest. If you have bronchitis which was caused by bacteria you will be given some antibiotics, but bacterial bronchitis is more rare than viral. Viral bronchitis is usually not treated with antibiotics, but some medications may help you deal with the symptoms.
While you are sick, you should stay at home and have plenty of rest. You should put a humidifier or a mist vaporizer in your room because it will help you reduce the irritation of the airways in the lungs. Drinking plenty of fluids will help your body get rid of the mucus. Staying hydrated is especially important if you have fever because in this case your body loses fluid faster.
Since smoking is one of the causes of bronchitis, you should stop smoking and stay away from the second hand smoke as well. If cold air, car exhaust or other pollutants irritate your throat and make you cough, make sure you protect your nose and mouth with a mask. You should also maintain good health because the common cold or flu can lead to bronchitis. In order to reduce the risk of bronchitis stay away from people who are sick, eat healthy food and exercise regularly.