Bronchitis is a term that is used to refer to a respiratory illness characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the air passages connecting the lungs with the nose and mouth. These air passages are known as bronchial tubes. The sputum of patients with bronchitis contains thickened mucus and is sometimes discolored. Difficulty breathing (dyspnea), cough, and wheezing are some of the symptoms associated with bronchitis. People suffering from this illness may also experience trouble clearing the heavy phlegm or mucus from the airways.
Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic. With acute, the infection will clear up, but the infection is more persistent in chronic bronchitis and never goes away completely. Avoiding or quitting smoking is one way of preventing bronchitis.
If a bacterium or a virus causes the bronchitis infection, then it will spread in a similar manner that colds spread- via the germs in the air expelled when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It is also possible for you to inhale the germs if you are too close to an infected individual. If you also touch anything contaminated with these germs, like a table surface or a door, and then you proceed to touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, the germs will infect you. This is one of the reasons why health practitioners advocate for handwashing practices in both children and adults.
Although both pneumonia and bronchitis have similar symptoms like fatigue, fever, and cough, these two respiratory conditions are very different. For instance, pneumonia will affect your air sacs or alveoli that are found in your lungs, while bronchitis will affect your bronchial tubes. Also, the pneumonic symptoms are typically worse and can sometimes be life-threatening. This is mostly the case in people with a compromised immune system and older people.
Most acute bronchitis occurs due to acute viral and bacterial infections like the cold and the flu. In most cases, smoking tobacco is mostly the cause of chronic bronchitis. Still, this disease can also occur as a result of exposure to air pollution, toxic gases, dust, and secondhand cigarette smoke. In addition, people with a history of chronic bronchitis, asthma, and allergies are at a higher risk of contracting this illness.
It is advisable to visit an ER for bronchitis if you show and of the symptoms below:
Altus ER in Baytown offers diagnostic services for bronchitis as well as treatment. Visit our Baytown emergency room if you have any of the above symptoms for a medical evaluation.
Acute bronchitis is contagious since it occurs from bacterial and viral infections, while chronic is less likely to spread as it results from long-term irritation of the air passages. If you are put on antibiotics for acute bronchitis, you will stop being contagious a day after starting the treatment. However, if your infection is viral, antibiotics will be ineffective, and you should isolate yourself for about a week.
When you seek bronchitis treatment near you, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, steroids, mucolytics, bronchodilators, or a humidifier as treatment.
According to experts at Altus Emergency Center (Baytown), the following tips will help lower your chances of getting bronchitis: