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?

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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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These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
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…
Threatened abortion
A few facts about threatened abortion A threatened miscarriage indicates an early pregnancy loss. Look out for symptoms like bleeding, vaginal discharge, and pain.
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
blood elements analysis
Vitamin Profile Your doctor will recommend you undergo the vitamin profile test if you are showing signs of either vitamin…
Splenda
Splenda Splenda is an artificial sweetener derived from Stevia plant extracts. It is low in calories and a popular…
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…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Shilajit: A miracle Himalayan herb for an active and happy life The Himalayas contain more wonders than you thought. Shilajit is a miracle herb that is widely used in…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
CEA_test
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
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…
angiography
Angiography Angiography is a diagnostic tool used to determine the narrowing or blockage in the arteries and veins supplying…
Ultrasound
Abdominal Ultrasound An abdominal ultrasound is used to visualize the organs inside your abdominal cavity including the liver, spleen, gall…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
leptospira Igm test
Leptospira-IgM Test A Leptospira-IgM test is a blood test which is carried out to detect anti-Leptospira IgM antibody. Leptospirosis is…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Inhale oxygen, exhale worries: The top breathing exercises and how to perform them Performing the breathing exercise is like becoming mindful of how you breathe.  Here is a list of breathing…
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…
Rheumatoid Arthritis xray
Arthritis Profile Arthritis profile is a panel of primarily blood tests used to detect the presence of arthritis or check…
Vaginoplasty - Post-op care
Vaginoplasty Know more about vaginoplasty, the procedure, post-operative care, best options for treatment, cost, and possible risks. %%sitename%% %
Sputum test Sputum test is a commonly used diagnostic tool that is used to examine the presence of pathogens in…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
cystoscopy
Cystoscopy Cystoscopy is a procedure to check the health of the urethra and the bladder. The procedure is also…
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?…
APL IgM Test
Antiphospholipid Antibody(APL)-IgM test The antiphospholipid antibodies are specific protein in the body directed against the phospholipids. It is used to detect…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
stain blood
Blood in your stool Know the reason for blood in your stool, toilet bowl or tissue and the important steps to take…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
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…
Anti-Inflammatory foods: 18 foods to a disease-free you Anti-inflammatory foods are the foods which are known to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain from…
Pelvic_ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…

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