Bronchitis

Lung diseases child

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of bronchitis

World Health Organisation’s recent reports reveal that countries having a tropical or humid climate throughout the year harbor the germs and pathogens responsible for few respiratory disorders of destructive nature. This has left the doctors worldwide concerned and worried. The dominance of one of the most severe forms of the pulmonary disease – “Bronchitis” has worsened the situation. In the year 2012, nearly 3 million people lost their lives worldwide due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is the most severe and chronic form of Bronchitis.

Definition of Bronchitis

Lung diseases smokingBronchitis is a severe inflammation of the respiratory tract, especially the bronchial pipes that are responsible for the passage of air.

It is accompanied by increased mucus secretion that might block the respiratory passage.

It starts with temporary breathlessness, tightness around the chest, excessive mucus secretion and might even lead to a blockage of the respiratory pathway.

Causes of Bronchitis

Bronchitis is typically known to be of viral or bacterial origin. But there are other causative agents as well. The typical causes of bronchitis are listed below:

  • Bacterial infection: Bronchitis is often an outcome of bacterial infection. It is caused by certain species of bacteria namely- Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Bordetella pertussis. Bacteria normally cause bronchitis in people affected with few other existing infections.
  • Viral infection: Few very common viruses can be the threat behind bronchitis. These are- rhinovirus, adenovirus, influenza A and B and parainfluenza virus. Viral infections account for 90% of cases of acute bronchitis.
  • Smoking: Increase in tobacco concentration within the body (caused due to active or passive smoking) predisposes the body to bronchial infections. Quite often, habitual smokers develop emphysema, a respiratory disease where lung alveoli become dilated and are severely damaged. This might lead to bronchitis in the future. Smoking has so far been investigated as the major contributor to bronchitis (about 42 % in men).
  • Industrial pollution: Particulates generated due to industrial emissions cause irritation and blocking of bronchial channels, preparing fertile grounds for bronchial diseases. Prolonged exposure to airborne irritants can cause chronic bronchial spasms accompanied by excessive mucus secretion (leading to edema)
  • Allergy: Environmental allergens such as pollen grains, animal dander etc can cause irritation of bronchial passage and might result in bronchitis.
  • Lung diseases: In a few cases patients suffer from bronchitis because of prevailing respiratory ailments like asthma and emphysema.

Vulnerable groups of bronchitis

  • Lung diseasesSmokers (both active and passive )
  • Pregnant women
  • Children suffering from recurring, mucus-producing cough
  • Newborn children having mothers infected with (or carriers) of the bronchial virus
  • Factory workers (exposed to particulates throughout the year)
  • Residents of urban areas (exposed to high level of pollution)
  • Patients suffering from asthma, emphysema or dyspnoea (a disease characterized by acute difficulties in breathing)

General Symptoms

  • A whooping or a wheezing cough
  • Expulsion of excess mucus
  • Fever and intermittent chilling
  • Digestive disorders

Types of bronchitis

Bronchitis might manifest itself in mild or severe forms. On the basis of the severity of the infection, bronchitis can be classified into two categories: (a) Acute Bronchitis (b) Chronic Bronchitis. The characteristics of both types are detailed below:

Acute Bronchitis: This kind of bronchitis occurs when the body is already infected with viral fever, cold and flu, which are manifested through a sore throat, extreme fatigue and weakness, constant body pain, itchy and runny nose, nausea and vomiting and sometimes gastrointestinal disorders (especially diarrhea). Acute bronchitis is usually characterized by symptoms like a recurring and long-lasting cough (stretching up to almost 18-20 days).

Lung diseases childContinuous mucus secretion takes place during this time.

Greenish or yellowish sputum may be produced, which is an indicator of existing bacterial infection.

There are other conspicuous symptoms of acute bronchitis as well such as- (i) wheezing cough (ii) tightness around the chest and (iii) persistent fever.

Under certain critical circumstances, acute bronchitis can exacerbate to cause pneumonia.

Chronic Bronchitis: This type of bronchitis causes persistent mucus-producing cough called “smoker’s cough”. It is mainly produced due to prolonged exposure to irritants and particulates and is more prevalent in middle-aged people. The growth of the disease is slow and insidious, wherein the cilia present in the inner lining of respiratory passage are directly attacked and damaged by the invading virus. This causes inflammation and subsequent blocking of the respiratory tract, leading to breathing problems.

Chronic Bronchitis can be further classified into two subtypes viz- (i) simple chronic bronchitis and (ii) chronic obstructive bronchitis

A severe form of Chronic Bronchitis is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  COPD occurs when Chronic Bronchitis is accompanied by obstructed air-flow in the respiratory tubes. About 15-20 % of permanent smokers tend to develop COPD. A far-reaching and destructive effect of COPD is “Asbestosis” (a lung infection caused due to irritants like asbestos particles). In more critical cases, this might eventually lead to pleural cancer (Mesothelioma).

Bronchitis in children

Children affected with bronchial infections should be treated with intense care, failure to do which can lead to further complications, few of which are listed below-

  • Severe inflammation and damage of the adenoid tissue (located at the back of the mouth)
  • Allergies resulting in asthma
  • Abnormal swelling (widening) of bronchial branches causing severe infections (Bronchiectasis)
  • Children having a family history of bronchitis might be carriers of genes causing Cystic Fibrosis (Secretion of sticky mucus causing clogging of bronchial tubes, pancreatic ducts, intestinal paths etc)
  • Acute inflammation of sinus (sinusitis)

Diagnosis

Chest X-ray is recommended in the first place to detect the degree of inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Blood cultures and sputum cultures can be carried out to determine the degree of infection.

Treatment & Prevention

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis.  The treatment is aimed at managing the symptoms effectively and curbing further progress of the disease. This mainly comprises of:

  • Cough medicines (though complete suppression of a cough is not desirable as coughing naturally removes toxins from the lungs).
  • Bronchodilators & mucolytics – To flush out the toxins from the lungs and open up air pathways.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs – To obtain relief from chronic inflammation in the lungs.
  • Antibiotics – In case there is a bacterial infection in the respiratory tract.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation program – A respiratory therapist is involved in helping the patient restore normal breathing.

One can follow these preventive measures in order to mitigate the risk of developing bronchitis:

    • Avoid all forms of exposure to tobacco smoke – be it in the form of active smoking or second-hand inhalation of the smoke.
    • Steer clear from all forms of lung-irritants. This includes air pollution, industrial and automobile fumes, dust, smoke, and other toxic fumes.
    • Don’t forget to get the yearly flu and pneumonia vaccines.
    • Ensure that you exercise regularly. The heavy breathing associated with exercises forces the toxins and pathogens out of your lungs.
    • Gets immediate treatment for respiratory infections including the common cold. Make sure that you don’t self-medicate.
    • Keep your environment clean and dust free. Keep your pets clean and ensure that you don’t inhale pet fur and dander.

Bronchitis Home Remedies

In addition to the current treatment prescribed by your doctor, the following home remedies can help in lowering the severity of bronchitis symptoms. However, always check with your doctor before using any of these home remedies.

  • Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water in bronchitis will help you in two ways. First, it will make sure all the toxins and microbes get flushed out of the system. Second, it will dilute the mucus deposition within the lungs and make it easier to expel it out.
  • Vitamin D: Studies have shown that there is a direct link between vitamin D deficiency and frequent upper respiratory tract infections. Thus, eating foods rich in vitamin D such as fish and fish oil supplements, egg yolk, fortified milk, and liver can help in lowering the severity of bronchitis. Adequate exposure to sunlight is also important in getting proper vitamin D.
  • Ginger Tea: Ginger’s dual action of anti-inflammation and immunity boost can help patients of chronic bronchitis attain relief from the symptoms. Drinking warm ginger tea can soothe the painful symptoms of bronchitis and also trigger the immune system to fight against the disease.
  • Lemon and honey water: Honey is an effective natural treatment in destroying bacterial growth in the lungs and soothing the inflamed lung tissues. Adding honey to warm lemon water will add the anti-inflammatory properties of honey with the immunity boosting powers of lemon. Together they make a great remedy for controlling bronchial attacks.
  • Inhale steam: You can either use an air humidifier/vaporizer or you can heat water in a container and inhale the steam. The steam will help unclog the air pathways blocked by excessive mucus production and facilitate easy breathing.

TL;DR?

Facts

  • In the year 2011, more than 10 million Americans were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis out of which 70% were over the age of 45 years.
  • The symptoms of bronchitis last for over 2 weeks and the cough alone can persist for over 8 weeks.

Facts

  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases (which include bronchitis and asthma) are ranked as the 3rd most common cause of deaths (USA).
  • Women are more vulnerable to chronic bronchitis than men. In fact, the prevalence ratio is almost 2:1.

Facts

  • Bronchitis and emphysema are collectively termed as COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. In 2004, COPD affected 64 million individuals globally.
  • Roughly 20% of COPD cases can be linked to occupational/industrial exposure to industrial pollutants.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Remain amply hydrated. This will help in easing the pain in the chest and will also flush out toxins from the body.
  • Take cough drops and suck on candies to obtain relief from the pain of a sore throat.
  • Give your body time to rest to recover from the condition. Taking off time from school/work will ensure that you rest properly and avoid spreading the infection to others.
Don'ts
  • Resort to self-medication or try to treat this condition by yourself.
  • Fail to take the prescribed medicines strictly as per the directions and dosage. This can result in long-term worsening of the condition and relapse of symptoms.
  • Expose yourself to potential lung-irritants such as cigarette smoke, toxic fumes, and industrial/automotive exhaust.

 

 

 

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Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
Cottage cheese: What can you find in this healthy chunk of fresh milk cheese? Love cheese but scared of putting on extra pounds? With cottage cheese, you can get the best of…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…