Acute bronchitis is infection of large airways known as bronchi. This condition is usually caused by some viruses or rarer, some bacteria. People suffering from acute bronchitis have reported cough as the main symptom. High fever and headaches are also frequent problems associated with any viral infection. Acute bronchitis can also provoke symptoms of cold and aches and pains in different parts or the whole body. In most cases, symptoms last for several days, but the cough could linger for weeks after that. The cough actually lasts as long as the inflammation caused by the virus completely resolves.
Complications of Acute Bronchitis
Medical complications of acute bronchitis are not common, since viral infection clears within several days. However, some symptoms may indicate further health problems and you should consult with your doctor. This includes the cough lasting for more than 3 to 4 weeks and worsening of headaches, fever or wheezing. Also, make sure to report fast breathing, chest pain and shortness of breath, coughing up blood or dark/rusty colored sputum. Drowsiness, confusion and recurring acute bronchitis must also be checked with your doctor.
How to Treat Acute Bronchitis?
Since acute bronchitis is usually mild condition, treatment measures are to ease the symptoms and wait until the immune system resolves the problem. Doctors recommend taking some ibuprofen, Aspirin or paracetamol for high temperature. These drugs will also be helpful with the aches, pains and headaches you might have.
Plenty of fluids are also advised for these patients, in order to prevent dehydration form the fever. Additionally, smokers should quit their habit. If this condition is not enough to quit, it might be helpful to know that smokers are more common to develop bronchitis, chest infections and some severe lung diseases. Patients could also use some cold and cough remedies to ease the symptoms.
For children under 16 years of age, Aspirin is not recommended and they should take either ibuprofen or paracetamol. According to the latest studies, over the counter (OTC) cough and cold medications should not be given to children under 6 years of age, because of the possible unwanted effects.
Carefully read the labels and don’t use remedies which may make you sleepy or drowsy during daytime or if you have to drive or operate any machinery. If you are using paracetamol be careful about the dose and look on the label how many tablets per day are considered to be safe to use.
Antibiotics don’t work against viral diseases and should not be used to treat acute bronchitis caused by viruses. They may be useful for patients who already have some chronic lung disease or pneumonia after viral bronchitis.