One can be said to have bronchitis, when he faces breathing problems due to irritated and inflamed bronchial tubes that produce mucus.
The bronchial tubes are the ones that transfer air to the lungs, when these tubes get inflamed and irritated due to a number of reasons, they swell and produce mucus, causing breathing problems. This is known as bronchitis. There are two forms of bronchitis: acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
Bronchitis caused by respiratory tract infections such as cold or flu is termed as acute bronchitis that is easily treatable within few days. However, chronic bronchitis is often caused by smoking and is a more serious condition that takes much time to get treated effectively.
Symptoms of Acute & Chronic Bronchitis
A person with common cold or flu is at a higher risk of developing acute bronchitis that comes and goes quickly within 2-3 weeks. Its first symptom is dry frequent cough, initially it does not produce any mucus or phlegm, but gradually it does develop mucus. Along with cough, the person might fall sick and feel weak and also experience burning pain or congestion in the chest. All this accompanied by wheezing indicates acute bronchitis. These symptoms improve within 2-3 weeks; however the person might have to deal with persistent cough that lasts for months.
A person is said to be suffering from chronic bronchitis, if he experiences the symptoms of acute bronchitis for a period of 3 months and continues up to 2 years. Prolonged smoking habits are mainly responsible for chronic bronchitis.
Treatment for Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is a condition that can be easily treated by taking certain self-care measures such as taking rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Medicines that bring up the mucus or soothe the throat can be used.
Chronic bronchitis requires lifelong treatment. The best way to improve this condition is to quit smoking completely. Steroids and bronchodilators are usually prescribed for treating chronic bronchitis.
Bronchodilators such as Spiriva work by relaxing muscles in the airways and improving the airflow in the lungs. Steroids are used in case of people who do not go well with bronchodilators. Steroids work by reducing the phlegm production and thus making breathing easier.
Also one can go for breathing exercises that makes breathing process easier.
Acute bronchitis is a condition that disappears with self-care techniques, but to avoid being a victim of chronic bronchitis, one must quit smoking.