Bronchitis | Causes | Symptoms | Treatment |

Define Bronchitis   |   Types   |   Symptoms   |   Causes   |  Is It Contagious?   |    Side Effect of Covid-19   |   Risk Factors   |   Diagnosis   |   Treatment   |   Prevention   |   Living With   |   Conclusion   |

Have you ever experienced a persistent cough that just seems to linger longer than a common cold?

If so, you might have had a bout of bronchitis.

Let’s dive deeper into what bronchitis is and how it can be managed?

What is Bronchitis?

It’s an infection in the tubes, called bronchi, that carry air into your lungs become irritated and inflamed.

What is Bronchitis?

This irritation causes the bronchi to swell and produce excess mucus, which makes you cough a lot, sometimes for a few weeks. This condition is mostly caused by viruses, but things like smoke can also lead to it.

What are the Types of Bronchitis?

There are two types of Bronchitis:

  • Acute 
  • Chronic

Acute bronchitis is a short-term illness that usually comes from a virus. It makes you cough, but generally gets better on its own in a few weeks. Usually, you won’t need any special treatment for it.

Chronic Bronchitis is a long-term problem. If you find yourself coughing and producing mucus for many days in a month, for three months in a year, and this continues for at least two years, it could be chronic bronchitis.

If you have chronic bronchitis, it could be a sign of a more serious condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

You should talk to your doctor about getting tested for COPD if you’re showing signs.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of Bronchitis

How Does Bronchitis Affect My Body?

It impacts your body by causing inflammation and irritation in your bronchial tubes.

You may start feeling:

  • Like your chest is full or blocked
  • Coughing, sometimes with clear, white, yellow, or green mucus
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Making a whistling sound when you breathe

For acute bronchitis, you may also have:

  • Body pain and chills
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • A slight fever
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • A sore throat

Even when other symptoms go away, the cough from bronchitis can stick around for a few weeks until your airways recover and the swelling reduces.

If your cough lasts much longer, you may have a different issue.

If you suddenly have a new cough, fever, or difficulty in breathing, you should contact your doctor to see if it could be COVID-19.

How Do You Trap By Bronchitis?

How do you trapped by Bronchitis

It is often caused by a viral infection, similar to those that cause the common cold or the flu.

These viruses can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by touching surfaces contaminated by these viruses and then touching your face, particularly your mouth, nose, or eyes.

The other causes include:

  • Viruses: These include the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus, common cold (rhinovirus), and coronavirus.
  • Bacteria: Some bacteria like Bordetella pertussis, Mycoplasma pneumonia, and Chlamydia pneumonia can also cause bronchitis.
  • Pollution: Dirty air can irritate your airways and lead to bronchitis.
  • Smoking: Whether it’s tobacco or marijuana, smoking can cause bronchitis.

Is Bronchitis Contagious?

Bronchitis, which is the swelling of your airways, can’t be passed from person to person.

However, the viruses and bacteria that lead to bronchitis can spread.

For example, if you have the flu and it causes bronchitis, you can give the flu to a friend. But it doesn’t mean your friend will also get bronchitis; their airways might not react the same way as yours did.

Is It A Side Effect Of Covid-19?

Is Bronchitis a Side Effect Of Covid-19?

Bronchitis can be caused by many types of viruses, including SARS-CoV2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.

The signs of bronchitis can look a lot like COVID-19, so it’s important to get tested to find out which one you’re dealing with.

However, as of now, there’s no research to suggest that COVID-19 causes bronchitis more often than other viral infections.

Who Are At Higher Risk?

Your chances of getting bronchitis are higher if:

  • You smoke
  • You have asthma or allergies
  • Your immune system isn’t very strong

This can happen with older people, people with chronic illnesses, and young kids. Even having a cold can raise your chances because your body is already busy fighting those germs.

Your chances of getting the long-term version of bronchitis, known as chronic bronchitis, are higher if:

  • You’re a woman who smokes. You might have a higher risk than a man who smokes.
  • Someone in your family has had lung disease.

How To Diagnose If You Have Bronchitis?

How to diagnose if you have Bronchitis?

To find out if you have bronchitis, your doctor will examine you and ask about your symptoms.

They’ll ask about your cough, like how long it’s been going on and what kind of stuff you’re coughing up. They’ll also listen to your lungs to check for any abnormal sounds, like wheezing.

Depending on whether they think you have short-term or long-term bronchitis, they might do some tests.

These could include:

  • Checking the oxygen level in your blood with a small sensor to put on your toe or finger.
  • Doing a lung function test(Pulmonary function tests):  You’ll breathe into a device called a spirometer, which can help to check for conditions like emphysema (a kind of COPD where the air sacs in your lungs are damaged) and asthma.
  • Taking an X-ray of your chest to see if something else, like pneumonia, might be causing your cough.
  • Doing blood tests to see signs of infection and measure the amounts of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood.
  • Testing your mucus(Sputum Test) to check if bacteria are causing your symptoms.

For example, whooping cough (also known as pertussis) causes intense coughing and breathing difficulty.

If your doctor thinks you might have this or the flu, they’ll also take a sample from your nose.

How Is Bronchitis Treated?

Bronchitis Treatment

Acute Bronchitis

usually gets better on its own in a few weeks.

If it’s caused by bacteria (which isn’t common), your doctor might give you antibiotics.

If you have asthma or allergies, or if you’re wheezing, they might recommend an inhaler to help you breathe more easily.

To help your symptoms, you can:

  • Drink lots of water. Aim for eight to twelve glasses a day to help thin your mucus, making it easier to cough up.
  • Rest as much as you can.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen for pain. Don’t give aspirin to kids though. You can use acetaminophen for both pain and fever.
  • Use a humidifier or take a hot shower to help loosen mucus.
  • Take over-the-counter cough medicines like guaifenesin during the day to help loosen mucus so it’s easier to cough up. Always check with a pediatrician before giving cough medicine to children.

For Chronic Bronchitis

Treatments focus on easing symptoms and can include:

  • Medications like antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and bronchodilators to help open your airways.
  • A device that helps clear mucus and makes it easier to cough up fluid.
  • Oxygen therapy to help you breathe better.
  • A special exercise program (pulmonary rehab) that can help you breathe easier and become more active.

How Can I Lower My Risk Of Bronchitis?

How do you lower your risk to get Bronchitis?

It’s best to avoid catching viruses and being exposed to things that irritate your lungs.

Here are some specific steps you can take:

  • Try to stay away from people who might be sick, especially during winter when everyone spends more time indoors.
  • Avoid smoke and other things that can irritate your lungs.
  • If you have asthma or allergies, try to stay away from things that trigger them, like pets, dust, or pollen.
  • Use a humidifier. Moist air is less likely to irritate your lungs.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If you can’t use soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that has alcohol in it.
  • Keep your flu and pneumonia vaccines up to date.
  • Put on a mask when you’re around things that can irritate your lungs, like the smell of paint.

Living With Bronchitis

Taking Care of Your Lungs is Essential

How Do I Take Care Of Myself?

If you have long-term bronchitis, you can reduce how often you have symptoms by treating conditions that go along with it, like COPD.

You and your doctor can come up with a plan to address your specific issues.

When Should I See My Doctor Regarding Bronchitis?

It can be hard to know if you have bronchitis or something more serious. You should see your doctor if you:

  • Have a cough that lasts more than three weeks
  • Have a fever higher than 102° F
  • Have a fever that lasts more than five days
  • Cough up blood
  • Have trouble breathing or wheeze

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?

  • What’s the best way to deal with my symptoms at home?
  • How long should I expect to have bronchitis?
  • What new or worsening symptoms should I watch out for?
  • When should I come back if my symptoms don’t get better?

Wrap Up

Bronchitis, while uncomfortable, is a treatable condition.

Understanding its causes and symptoms is key to getting timely treatment and preventing its progression into a chronic condition.

Always consult with a healthcare professional if you think you may have bronchitis or are experiencing prolonged coughing or respiratory discomfort.

Remember, your lungs are essential for your overall health and wellbeing.

Take good care of your lungs, and they’ll take good care of you!


Reviewed By : Dr. Aviral Vatsa

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Bronchitis | Causes | Symptoms | Treatment |


Bronchitis makes your lungs get irritated and swollen. This makes you cough a lot, sometimes for a few weeks.