Bronchitis is a condition in which the bronchial tubes are inflamed. These tubes carry the air to the lungs. When the tubes become infected or inflamed, they produce a lot of mucus, which is slimy substance made by the bronchial tubes. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which could be discolored. Perhaps, bronchitis might be either acute or chronic. Usually developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is popular. Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, is a constant inflammation or irritation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, often because of smoking.
Acute bronchitis often improves in a few days without lasting effects; despite you might contribute to cough for several weeks. Nevertheless, once you have repeated bronchitis, you might have chronic bronchitis, requiring medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions contained in the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
There are two forms of bronchitis, including acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. When it comes to signs and symptoms of bronchitis, they vary from each form.
The signs and symptoms of bronchitis include:
- Persistent mucus-producing coughing, making it hard to sleep (About 90% of cases of acute bronchitis are resulted by the same viruses causing the common cold and the flu.) [Read: symptoms of the flu]
- Chest tightness and discomfort
- Excess mucus production, which could be white, clear, yellowish-gray or green in color (rarely streaked with blood)
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Slight fever and chills
- Bluish tinge of skin and lips
- Sputum production
- Watery eyes
[Read more: signs and symptoms of asthma]
In case you have acute bronchitis, you might have a nagging cough which lingers for some weeks after the infection and inflammation resolves. Chronic bronchitis is defined as the productive cough that lasts at least 3 month, with the recurring boots happening for at least 2 consecutive years.
In case you have chronic bronchitis, you might have periods of worsened signs and symptoms of bronchitis. In such periods, you might have acute bronchitis on top of the chronic bronchitis.
Children with acute bronchitis might have symptoms of mild fever, a runny nose, and vomit mucus or cough up sputum.
You might wonder if bronchitis contagious? In fact, bronchitis itself could be caused by a virus or bacteria that are contagious. Acute bronchitis could be contagious, but acute bronchitis resulted by exposure to pollutants like tobacco smoke and other chemicals is not contagious. Nevertheless, chronic bronchitis typically is not contagious.
[Read more: symptoms of lung cancer]
So, When To See A Doctor?
You had better see your doctor if your symptoms of bronchitis persist more than 3 weeks or your cough:
- Prevents you from normally sleeping
- Lasts more than 3 weeks
- Is accompanied by fever of over 100.4 F (about 38 C)
- Produces blood
- Produces discolored mucus
- Accompanies with shortness of breath or wheezing
What Are Risk Factors Of Bronchitis?
- Smoking tobacco
- Being exposed to environmental pollutants like large amounts of irritants or dust
- Low resistance, frequent respiratory ailments and infections
- Recurrent respiratory tract infections during infancy or early childhood
- Pneumococcal and influenza vaccines
- Gastric reflux