An Overview of Acute Bronchitis – What It Is, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Acute bronchitis is simply bronchial tubes inflammation, and a cough lasting over five days usually suggests this condition as a cause. In most cases, individuals suffering from recurrent acute bronchitis develop chronic bronchitis – defined as a cough, which occurs almost every day with production of sputum, which lasts between 2 months and 2 years in a row.

coughing

Causes of Acute Bronchitis

Viruses are the most common causes of this condition. Adenovirus, corona viruses, RSV, parainfluenza, and influenza are the primary genera, but several individuals develop mild symptoms quite often the viral genus is not determined.

Bacteria are not common the causative agents of this acute condition. However, some of its bacterial causes may include moraxella, mycoplasma, bordetella, streptococcus, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and haemophilus. Other irritants (for instance, smoke, tobacco, and chemicals just to mention a few) may also irritate the bronchi, which leads to acute bronchitis.

Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

The most common symptom of this disease is coughing that starts in the early stages of the disease and often lasts 2 to 3 weeks as it subsides gradually. About 50% of people have a severe productive cough with either, greenish, yellow, clear, or blood tinged sputum that comes occasionally. The other acute bronchitis symptoms may include nasal congestion, fatigue, headache, sore throat, and muscle aches.

In addition, children may have mild fever, runny nose, and may also vomit or gag mucus. For example, if you experience shortness of breath, fever, chest pain or cyanosis, you likely have another health problem other than acute bronchitis.

How is it diagnosed?

Because this infection has several causes is usually self-limiting within 2 to 3 weeks and coughing is its main symptom, your doctor may diagnose you after checking your medical history and physical exam without additional tests. Where the specific cause of the infection needs to be identified or the diagnosis isn’t clear, such medical tests as throat cultures, chest X-rays, bronchoscopy, blood gas, influenza tests, sputum cytology, and even procalcitonin can be used to identify bacterial, viral and other causes or sources of the infection. In most cases, may patients may experience mild to moderate symptoms that can be treated for some days before an extensive workup is started.

Is there any treatment for acute bronchitis?

Supportive care such as reducing coughing, and bed rest are the common treatments of this medical condition. In most people, antibiotics can be used, especially if the infection is caused by viral or environmental factors. If you have wheezing with your cough, bronchodilators may be helpful. Perhaps the most common treatments are often directed at minimizing coughing symptoms with certain over-the-counter preparations that contain mucolytics and guaifenesin.

Moreover, certain home remedies can also used to minimize symptoms of acute bronchitis. For instance, breathing humidified air, avoiding dairy products, and staying well-hydrated by drinking many fluids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can easily interfere with some of the ingredients of certain medications.

Conclusively, keep in mind that antibiotics can only be used if you are in good health and don’t kill viruses. Normally your immune system clears the infection – which lasts at least 10 days to 20 days.