Acute bronchitis or Chest Cold occurs when the bronchial air tubes (bronchi) that serve as a conduit between the windpipe (trachea) and lungs get inflamed or swollen producing mucus in the lungs. It is the most common type of bronchitis and is different from chronic bronchitis- a much severe form of bronchitis.
Infection caused due to acute bronchitis typically lasts for less than a couple of weeks, although the cough may persist for several weeks. Categories of people at risk of acute bronchitis include young and elderly persons with any major pre-existing medical conditions.
Acute Bronchitis symptoms often begin with a common cold accompanied by sneezing and a runny nose for many days before a cough develops. A dry cough could gradually turn into a cough with mucus discharge for three weeks. The mucus colour transitions from white to green to yellow indicating that the immune system is battling out the infection.
Acute bronchitis symptoms last for up to three weeks and can include the following:
Apart from the acute bronchitis symptoms listed above, some emergency symptoms would require immediate medical assistance:
In most cases, acute bronchitis is primarily caused by the common cold or flu virus, but a certain type of bacteria also possesses the potential to trigger acute bronchitis.
Inhaling artificial substances such as chemical fumes, tobacco, or exposure to dust, smog, and toxic air pollution.
The risk of acute bronchitis prevails with any underlying allergies or other conditions such as asthma.
The risk of acute bronchitis becomes manifold if there is a recorded family history of bronchitis, asthma, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Although acute bronchitis affects irrespective of gender type and age group, research studies have found that it is frequently seen to be affecting children younger than 5 years and older adults owing to their weaker immune systems. Also, its incidence and severity are found to be greater in males as compared to females.
Acute bronchitis is contagious given it’s a viral or bacterial infection and could be transmitted in the same way as common cold spreads.
In most cases, people affected by acute bronchitis may not even pay attention to its symptoms by assuming it to be a common flu. So, a step-by-step diagnosis may help confirm the occurrence of acute bronchitis:
In cases with a recorded family history of asthma or allergies, the doctor may suggest a lung function test.
Acute bronchitis treatment at home is easier to follow and has been proven to be quite effective for regular symptoms. Here are few tips to follow as part of the acute bronchitis treatment at home:
Hydrate yourself regularly by drinking a lot of water. Regular water intake helps replace fluids lost in your body due to rapid breathing and loosens up the mucus making it easier to cough.
Getting plenty of sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day is key to curing any illness and acute bronchitis is no exception to the norm. Loss of adequate sleep can adversely affect your immune system, increasing the chances of a respiratory infection.
Fruits rich in Vitamins C and D can enhance your immunity and ease any symptoms of nausea or constipation
During the cold, dry months of the year, a humidifier maintains the air moisture that helps ease congestion. Using essentials with the humidifier can loosen up the mucus and subdue coughing.
A hot cup of ginger tea infused with honey keeps your body hydrated and can act as an effective cough reliever. Just a spoon of honey is also a great remedy for sound sleep, especially for children aged above 1 year
Avoid smoking and stay away from dust, cigarette smoke or any chemical fumes that could irritate your nasal tract.
Wearing a mask, gloves, and eye glasses can help minimise transmission from infected persons around you
Get a shot of flu vaccine since acute bronchitis could be caused by a flu virus too
Wash your hands regularly to avoid catching an infection from any contaminated surface you would have touched. Also, cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing
Given the skyrocketing pollution, changing lifestyles, and occupational hazards, cases of bronchitis have been on the rise, irrespective of age group and gender. A global study has concluded that every 44 out of 1000 adults get affected annually by acute bronchitis Given the modest incidence of the disease, one cannot write away the possibility of such cases resulting in severe bronchitis. Availing quality healthcare access in such circumstances could be a costly affair and a good health insurance policy such as those available on Finserv MARKETS can help you manage such medical exigencies.