To manage the symptoms of bronchitis and feel better, you may
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. If due to certain medical conditions such as kidney diseases your doctor has restricted your fluid intake, you may ask them of the number of fluids you can safely have.
- Take adequate rest.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, as per the label instructions.
- Take steam inhalation.
- Take a warm shower.
- Adults may take non medicated lozenges to soothe the throat.
- Avoid smoking.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself from pollution or cold air.
- Take a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean meat.
- Perform breathing exercises.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Have ginger tea and other herbal teas.
- Gargle with salt and water.
- Drink some honey in water.
- Avoid being around second-hand smoke.
- Use a humidifier.
What is bronchitis?
Bronchitis refers to the inflammation of the air-carrying tubes in the lungs (bronchioles). The condition is often associated with persistent, nagging coughs with mucus. The condition often starts as an infection of the nose, throat, ears, or sinuses that later moves to the bronchi.
Bronchitis can be acute or chronic:
- Acute bronchitis: It is a short-term condition. It is usually caused by a viral infection. Smoking may initiate or worsen the symptoms. Bacterial infection may occasionally cause acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis usually goes away in a week or two. The symptoms may at times last for three weeks.
- Chronic bronchitis: It is less common compared with acute bronchitis. It is defined as cough productive of sputum, lasting for three months of the year for at least two consecutive years. It may block the airflow in the lungs and is classified as a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Chronic bronchitis may begin as cough and inflammation caused by a respiratory infection or illness, exposure to tobacco smoke, or other irritants in the air.
What causes bronchitis?
Bronchitis is usually caused by viral infections. It may occasionally result due to bacterial infections. Certain conditions such as asthma and obesity may make a person more likely to get bronchitis.
Smokers are more likely to get bronchitis. The risk is relatively higher in female smokers than in male smokers.
A history of childhood lung diseases is associated with a high risk of bronchitis.
Exposure to environmental pollutants, dust, and second-hand smoke increases the risk of bronchitis.
People who have allergies, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, a type of digestive disorder that occurs when acidic stomach juices or food and fluids back up from the stomach into the food pipe), or a family history of bronchitis are more likely to get bronchitis.
What are the symptoms of bronchitis?
The commonest symptom of bronchitis is a persistent cough with mucus production. Other symptoms include:
Is bronchitis contagious?
Acute bronchitis may be contagious because it is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. You may get the infection from the affected person when they sneeze or cough. You may also get the infection if you touch a contaminated object and then touch your face without washing your hands.
Chronic bronchitis is usually not contagious because it results from a long-term irritation of the airways.
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