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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Bronchitis

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

It is referred to as a cough phlegm syndrome. It is a self-limited infection that causes the lining of the bronchial tubes to inflame and swell. Cough is the primary symptom. 

Bronchitis may be acute or chronic. For acute bronchitis, this means that the symptoms of bronchitis last for three weeks while in chronic bronchitis symptoms occur most days for at least 3 months of the year and for at least 2 consecutive years. Chronic bronchitis is one condition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Repeated bronchitis may indicate other conditions such as asthma, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, and sinusitis.

Diagnostic Tests

  • Chest x-ray if pneumonia is suspected
  • Pulse oximetry to determine oxygen levels in the blood
  • Sputum culture
Symptoms
  • Cough
  • Increased sputum volume and purulence that may be clear or yellow-green
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal congestion
  • Rhinorrhea
  • Low-grade fever
  • Wheezing in patients with asthma
  • Fatigue
Risk Factors
  • Smoking and passive smoking
  • Inhalation of noxious agents such as cigarette smoke, industrial pollutants, and other environmental pollutants
  • Respiratory infections. Infectious etiologies may either be viral (Adenovirus, Coronavirus, Influenza A and B, Metapneumovirus, Parainfluenza virus, Respiratory syncytial virus, Rhinovirus) or bacterial (Bordetella pertussis, Chlamydia pneumonia, Mycoplasma pneumonia)
  • History of bronchitis
  • Work hazards such as exposure to coal, manufactured vitreous fibers, oil mist, cement, silica, welding fumes, and engine exhaust
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Pelargonium
  • Beta-agonist inhalers for patients who are wheezing
  • Ipratropium bromide
  • Oral theophylline
  • Antibiotics. May be given but is not used routinely for the treatment of acute bronchitis.
  • Antitussives for children and adults older than six years
  • Aspirin or acetaminophen in case of fever. Do not give aspirin to children.
Treatment and Management
  • Avoid exposure to respiratory irritants
  • Dark honey in children
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take plenty of rest
  • Use a humidifier so that the air in the room is warm and moist
  • Do not smoke. Avoid passive smoking and air pollution
  • Observe proper hygiene practices
  • Wear a mask when going outside
Home Remedies
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