Bronchitis: the lungs’ cleaning response to overload. Just when you thought you were finally over a cold, your chest starts to feel sore and you develop an irritating cough. Later, you might get the chills or a slight fever.
If these signs and symptoms sound familiar, you might have acute bronchitis, a condition that occurs when the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs become infected and inflamed.
Virtually everyone will have bronchitis at least once as bronchitis often follows a respiratory infection such as a cold.
Most causes of acute bronchitis disappear within a few days without lasting effects, although coughs may linger three weeks or more. A more serious health problem needing medical attention such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema may be what’s plaguing you if you have repeated bouts of bronchitis.
Signs and Symptoms
A cough that brings up yellowish-gray or green mucus, also known as sputum is one of the main signs of bronchitis. Mucus itself isn’t abnormal. Your airways produce at least an ounce of normal secretions every day.
Continuously cleared into your throat and swallowed with your saliva, these secretions usually don’t accumulate. When the main air passageways in your lungs, the bronchial tubes are inflamed, however, they often produce large amounts of discolored mucus that comes up when you couch. Mucus that isn’t white or clear usually means there a secondary infection.
Bronchitis may be accompanied by common signs and symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, including:
- Overall malaise
- Slight fever and chills
- Sore throat
- Soreness and a feeling of constriction or burning in your chest
- Risk factors
People who smoke or who live with a smoker are at greatest risk of both acute and chronic bronchitis. Children whose parents or siblings smoke are especially susceptible to bronchitis, as well as to asthma, pneumonia, colds and ear infections, or otitis media.
Bronchitis usually results from a viral infection, leaving antibiotics ineffective and possibly harmful. Instead, the following are the cornerstones of treatment for acute bronchitis:
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink extra liquids (this means lot’s of WATER!)
- Suck garlic infused honey for cough and definitely avoid cough supplement medicine.
- It’s best not to suppress a cough that brings up mucus. Coughing helps remove irritants from your lungs and air passages. Don’t stop the body’s cure.
If you have frequent, repeated bronchitis, the culprit may be something in your environment. Cold, damp locations, especially in combination with air pollution or tobacco smoke can make you more susceptible to acute bronchitis. You may need to consider changing where and how you live and work if the problem is severe.
Besides the basic treatments of rest, try liquids, garlic and honey. This next suggestion can also help make you more comfortable, speed recovery and prevent complication of acute bronchitis:
Use a humidifier in your room. Warm, moist air helps relieve coughs and loosens mucus in your airways. To avoid the growth of bacteria and fungi in the water container, be sure to clean the humidifier according to the manufacture’s recommendations.