The bronchitis is chronic or acute inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchial tubes, which constitute main roads respiratory into the lungs. This inflammation produces a tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and coughing (which may be accompanied by coughing up mucus).
Chronic bronchitis is part of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases) and is characterized by difficulty in getting air in and out of the lungs. Breathing dust or smoke for long periods and smoking are the main causes of chronic bronchitis, a disease that can be treated to relieve symptoms but never completely goes away.
The acute bronchitis, moreover, is a viral disease (caused by a virus). It begins with sinusitis, a runny nose and a sore throat and then reaches the airways, with a dry cough that usually lasts for several weeks. Once affected by acute bronchitis, it is common for the patient to contract a secondary bacterial infection in the respiratory tract.
The chronic bronchitis can favor the development of recurrent infections in the airways and allow the emergence of pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and emphysema. In all cases, it is important to go to the doctor to determine the appropriate treatment for each patient.
Acute bronchitis that does not have underlying lung disorders, on the other hand, usually disappears in a period of seven to ten days, although the cough may persist for longer.
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When making a diagnosis, doctors usually perform physical analyzes (the best known method being the auscultation of lung activity with the help of a stethoscope) and ask a series of questions to identify the symptoms clearly, without allowing preconceptions and information obtained from unreliable sources that patients often carry interfere with observation. It is important to emphasize that diseases such as pneumonia or asthma present similar symptoms, which is why it is essential to rule them out during this process.
To avoid the onset of this disease, it is recommended to maintain the habit of washing your hands before meals and when you get home after having been on the street, do not frequent closed places where many people gather, avoid tobacco (be it consumption itself or contact with smoke), respect the recommended hours of sleep and eat a healthy and nutritious diet. It is worth mentioning that bronchitis, as well as other more common and less serious conditions, are more likely to appear in the coldest and rainiest times of the year.
The most common treatment is usually based on the consumption of fever reducers, pain relievers (to treat headaches) and medications to reduce coughing attacks; The use of inhalers is also indicated, which promote the dilation of the bronchi. It is also very important to rest as much as possible, take steam inhalations, and drink large amounts of water to help dissolve the pulmonary phlegm.
With respect to antibiotics, they are not indicated in cases of acute bronchitis, since its origin is usually viral; They are only prescribed if the doctor orders a culture test and the presence of bacteria can be confirmed. On the other hand, since chronic bronchitis is commonly accompanied by bacterial infections, it is generally treated with antibiotics.
As in other cases, many people recommend natural medicine treatments, whether they complement those indicated by a doctor or replace them completely; the best known are herbal medicine (the consumption of certain species of plants), aromatherapy (with essential oils) and lymphatic drainage (through massages).