Acute Bronchitis is defined as an inflammation of the bronchioles especially seen in infants and children. Bronchitis may be acute or chronic. In chronic cases, the disease is of long duration. It is more serious than the acute type as permanent changes may have occurred in the lungs, thereby interfering with their normal movements. Chronic bronchitis is more frequent in males than in females and mortality rate is also higher in males.
Acute bronchitis is an infection of the bronchial (say: “brawn-kee-ull”) tree. In up to 95 percent of cases, the cause is viral. Even though acute bronchitis is a common diagnosis, its definition is unclear. While antibiotics are often prescribed for patients with acute bronchitis, little evidence shows that these agents provide significant symptomatic relief or shorten the course of the illness. It is typically associated with a viral upper respiratory tract infection (URI), such as the common cold, and is usually mild. Acute bronchitis usually develops rapidly and lasts 2 to 3 weeks in otherwise healthy people. In patients with chronic lung or heart disease, acute bronchitis is more severe, and can become chronic and progress to pneumonia. Like many disorders, bronchitis can be acute (short-term), or chronic (long-lasting). Although there are several different types of bronchitis, the two most common are acute and chronic (primarily affects adults). This inflammation means the walls of your bronchi are swollen and filled with extra sticky mucus. Bronchitis may be short-lived (acute) or chronic, meaning that it lasts a long time and often recurs. A case if bronchitis is considered "chronic" if symptoms continue for three months or longer.
Acute bronchitis is almost always caused by viruses that attack the lining of the bronchial tree and cause infection. The bronchial tree is made up of the tubes that carry air into your lungs. When these tubes get infected, they swell and mucus (thick fluid) forms inside them. In most cases, the same viruses that cause colds cause acute bronchitis. Research has shown that bacterial infection is a much less common cause of bronchitis than we used to think. Bronchial wall inflammation can occur in asthma or can be secondary to mucosal injury in an acute event, such as smoke or chemical fume inhalation. If you continue smoking, you may do sufficient damage to these cilia to prevent them from functioning properly, thus increasing your chances of developing chronic bronchitis. The viruses that cause this condition are often transmitted when they are expelled through coughing, sneezing, and talking. The viruses attack the insides of your airways and infect them. Your airways react by getting red and swollen, and by making extra mucus. Chronic bronchitis is predominantly caused by smoking, and has also been linked to pneumoconiosis , excessive alcohol consumption and exposure to cold and draught. Patients over 70 years of age may need up to 3 or 4 months of treatment.
Causes of Acute Bronchitis
The comman causes of Acute Bronchitis include the following:
- Acute bronchitis is almost always caused by viruses that attack the lining of the bronchial tree and cause infection.
- In most cases, the same viruses that cause colds cause acute bronchitis.
- Very rarely, an infection caused by a fungus can cause acute bronchitis.
- Lack of pertussis immunization.
- Malnutrition (particularly in children).
- Bacterial infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Clamydia pneumoniae, and Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough), particulary in young adults, can lead to acute bronchitis.
- Acute bronchitis can also be caused by exposure to smoke, chemicals, or air pollution, all of which can irritate the bronchial tubes, or it can develop from accidentally inhaling (aspirating) food, vomit, or mucous material.
Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis
In most cases of bronchitis, the larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes are acutely inflamed. The tissues are swollen due to irritation. Large quantities of mucus are secreted and poured into the windpipe to protect the inflamed mucous membrane. The phelgm, when expelled is found to be viscid and purulent. There is usually a higher fever, some difficulty in breathing and a deep chest cough are some of the symptoms of Bronchitis. Other symptoms of Bronchitis are hoarseness and pain in the chest and loss of appetite. Breathing trouble continues till the inflammation subsides and mucous is removed. Some sign and symptoms related to Acute Bronchitis are as follows:
- Cough is the most commonly observed symptom of acute bronchitis.
- Sputum production.
- Dyspnea (Shortness of breath).
- Production of thick, yellow mucus.
- Fatigue and/or malaise.
- Vibration in chest when breathing.
- Sore throat.
- Tickle feeling in back of throat that leads to soreness.
- Chest pain , soreness, and constricted feeling in the chest.
Treatment of Acute Bronchitis
Here is list of the methods for treating Acute Bronchitis:
- You can relieve your cough by drinking plenty of fluids and using cough drops and other nonprescription medications.
- Antibiotics can be used to treat bronchitis caused by a bacterial infection, but are completely ineffective for bronchitis caused by a virus.
- You can reduce fever and pain by using nonprescription pain relievers. Prescription medications, such as antibiotics, generally are not beneficial.
- Decongestants (such as pseudoephedrine ) may also help alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis.
- In severe cases of chronic bronchitis with COPD, if your body's ability to transfer oxygen from your lungs into the bloodstream is significantly handicapped, your doctor may prescribe oxygen therapy.
- If symptoms are caught early, the patient may benefit from treatment with erythromycin.
Chronic Bronchitis information & its prevention and cure
In case of chronic bronchitis, the patient can begin with an all- fruit diet for five to seven days, taking each day three meals of fresh juicy fruits. After the all-fruit diet, the patient should follow a well-balanced diet of seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits. For drinks, unsweetened lemon water or cold or hot plain water may betaken. The patient should avoid meats, sugar, tea, coffee, condiments, pickles, refined and processed foods, soft-drinks, candies, ice-cream and products made from sugar and white flour.
Acute Bronchitis information & its prevention and cure
In cases of acute bronchitis , the patient should fast on orange juice and water till the acute symptoms subside. The procedure is to take the juice of an orange in a glass of warm water
every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thereafter, the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for two or three days.