By Dr. Nikhil Modi, Pulmonology
The inflammations of the lining in the bronchial tubes, which are responsible for carrying air from and to your lungs are known as bronchitis. It is a respiratory disease and more than a million cases are reported each year. Bronchitis requires medical diagnosis by your healthcare provider and can be chronic or acute. Cold or other respiratory infections can cause acute bronchitis whereas smoking leads to chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis usually lasts for few days but with persistent cough. Whereas, chronic bronchitis can be responsible for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Symptoms of bronchitis:
The symptoms common to both acute and chronic bronchitis are given below:
- Cough which may form mucus
- Body aches and breathlessness
- Headaches, blocked nose and sinuses
- Fever with chills
The diagnosis of bronchitis is done by your doctor who will ask you about your cough. Some other questions may include your medical history, about smoking or whether you have had cases of flu or cold recently.
Treatment for bronchitis:
Your doctor will mainly recommend pain relievers and cough syrup along with warm air to breathe mainly at indoors. However your doctor may prescribe the following medications in cases of severe bronchitis:
- Cough medicine: These medicines will help to remove mucus and irritants from your lungs. Medicines may not be able to suppress the symptoms completely but will give you relief from pain.
- Bronchodilators: Which clears out the mucus by opening your bronchial tubes.
- Mucolytics: These helps loosen mucus in the airways and help to cough up sputum.
- Oxygen therapy: It will help to improve the oxygen intake when you face difficulty in breathing.
- Therapy: Pulmonary program will include a therapist who would work to improve your breathing.
- Medicines: Using anti inflammatory medicines to reduce damage to your lungs tissue and to also avoid chronic inflammation.
Prevention of bronchitis:
Acute and chronic bronchitis can be reduced by the following measures; however, they cannot be completely prevented:
- Avoiding dust, smoke, and air pollution. You can always wear a mask when you are on the road or in traffic.
- Washing your hands often to avoid germs and infections.
- Avoiding smoking as it can cause harmful damage to your lungs.