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Bronchitis is an inflammation of the little tubes called bronchia which are the basic components of lung tissues. Bronchia are irritated, inflamed, edematous and filled with mucous. Bronchitis can be classified as acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis lasts approximately two weeks and is rather common medical condition especially during winter months.

Causes of Acute Bronchitis

Viruses are the leading cause of acute bronchitis in majority of patients. They account for almost 90% of all cases. The transmission of the viruses is either direct via droplets that are ejected when a person sneezes or coughs or if a person touches some objects that have been previously contaminated by the virus.

Apart from viruses, bacteria and fungi may be additional culprits of acute bronchitis.

Some types of bronchitis can be caused by certain chemicals or irritants. The bronchitis is in this case caused by inhalation of these substances.

Smokers are more susceptible to acute bronchitis comparing to non-smokers.

Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

Cough is the basic symptom of acute bronchitis. It is persistent and rather dry and irritating in the very beginning of the infection. In time the mucous in the bronchia ripens and the cough becomes productive. The color of the mucous may vary. It can be transparent, white, and yellow, and sometimes it even contains tiny traces of blood. The cough lingers for a month.

Acute bronchitis can be additionally followed by slightly increased body temperature and pain in the chest. Some patients also complain about sore throat. In more serious cases a patient may wheeze while breathing or even experience shortness of breath. Apart from the previously mentioned, acute bronchitis can lead to mild muscle aches and exhaustion.

The patient is due to report to the doctor extreme increase in body temperature and if shortness of breath becomes unbearable and rather serious.

Risk Factors for Acute Bronchitis

Since viral infections most commonly occur during winter months it is obvious that acute bronchitis strikes during these months. However, proper hygiene and avoidance of contact with sick people can be suitable measures of protection.

If one has suffered from frequent episodes of acute bronchitis he/ she may develop chronic form of the disease. Chronic bronchitis is much more serious medical condition than acute bronchitis.

Smokers are at higher risk to develop both, acute and chronic form of the disease. This also refers to people who are professionally exposed to certain irritants and toxic chemicals. Even environmental pollutants may be responsible for acute or chronic bronchitis. This is the explanation why people who are living in urban areas suffer more from bronchitis comparing to people from rural areas.

And finally, people who are already suffering from some other medical conditions are mores susceptible to acute bronchitis.

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