Bronchitis

Lung diseases child

Last Updated June 14th, 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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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…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Oxidative Stress: Understanding the most lethal phenomenon happening in your body right now Free radicals cause damage to the body, which is known as oxidation.  The amount of oxidation caused by…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
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…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
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…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
macadamia nuts in food
Proven health benefits and nutrition of macadamia nuts Know all about scientific, amazing health benefits of macadamia nuts, its nutrition, recipes, how to consume, price and…
macadamia nuts in food
Proven health benefits and nutrition of macadamia nuts Know all about scientific, amazing health benefits of macadamia nuts, its nutrition, recipes, how to consume, price and…
Beware of these common foods that cause high bodily inflammation! Maybe its the long list of inflammatory foods in your diet that is making you frequently sick. Find…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in 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…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody (tTG) Test Transglutaminase is an enzyme present in our body and is involved in protein metabolism. A tTg test is…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigious superfood you need to include in your diet today! Quinoa - what is so special about this native South American grain that has taken the world by…
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…
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…
bananas exercise
10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out how you can…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
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…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
hepatitis B envelope antigen
Hepatitis B Envelope Antigen (HBeAg) The HBeAg or hepatitis B envelope antigen test is a screening test used to diagnose the onset of…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
shoudler exercises
Keep your shoulders pain-free with these shoulder exercises Shoulder exercises are important in order to prevent chronic back and neck pain. Learn more about how you…