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What Are The Signs Of Bronchitis?

Have you ever gotten a cold or the flu? Normal cases of cold and flu will usually go away and you will be back to normal in a few weeks. However, in some cases, you may get bronchitis, too.

Bronchitis, according to the website WebMD happens when bronchial tubes, which carry air to your lungs, get infected and swollen. You will end up with a persistent cough and a lot more mucus (lendir).

SYMPTOMS OF BRONCHITIS

Some of the signs and symptoms as stated by Mayoclinic are:

  • Cough
  • Production of sputum (kahak), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be contain traces of  blood
  • Fatigue (keletihan)
  • Shortness of breath (sesak nafas)
  • Slight fever and chills
  • Chest discomfort (rasa tidak selesa pada dada)

IS BRONCHITIS CONTAGIOUS?

There are two types bronchitis. One is acute bronchitis. The other is chronic bronchitis.

A person with acute bronchitis can be contagious as soon as symptoms first appear.

In the early stages, it is usually difficult to determine whether a cough is caused by bronchitis or some other condition.  Therefore, it is best to assume that they are contagious.

Typically, people are most contagious during the early stages of illness.

TYPES OF BRONCHITIS

Acute bronchitis is the more common one. Symptoms could last for a few weeks, other than that it usually doesn’t cause any problems.

Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts at least three months for two consecutive years.

A person with chronic bronchitis is likely to have periods when the signs and symptoms of bronchitis worsen.

In some cases, the cough may disappear but reappear later.

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF BRONCHITIS

Commonly, the same viruses that give you a cold or the flu would also cause bronchitis the website WebMD explains.

 Although, sometimes, bacteria are to be blamed.

Because your body is fighting off the germs, your bronchial tubes swell (membengkak) and make more mucus .

Which means you will have smaller openings for air flow, which makes breathing harder.

Situations that could cause bronchitis:

  • You have a weaker immune system. This is usually for older adults, people who are already sick, babies and young children.

  • You smoke or live with a smoker.
  • You work around substances that bother your lungs, such as chemical fumes or dust. (Examples: coal mining, working around farm animals).
  • You live in or travel to a place with poor air quality or lots of pollution.

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?

According to Medical News Today, if you suspect you might be having bronchitis, you need to see a doctor when the following signs are present.

  • Cough lasts more than 3 weeks.
  • Constant fever lasting 3 days or more.
  • If coughed up mucus includes blood.
  • Anyone with an existing lung or heart condition.
  • Rapid breathing and/or chest pains.
  • Becoming drowsy or confused.
  • If bronchitis is recurring

TREATMENT

Most cases of acute bronchitis get better without treatment, usually within a couple of weeks, according to Healthline.

Since most cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections, antibiotics would not work.

However, if your doctor suspects that you have a bacterial infection, you may be prescribed an antibiotic.

In some circumstances, your doctor may recommend other medications, including:

  • Cough medicine. If your cough keeps you from sleeping, you might try cough suppressants at bedtime.
  • Other medications. If you have allergies, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications such as bronchodilator and theophylline to reduce inflammation (keradangan) and open narrowed passages (saluran yang sempit) in your lungs.
  • If your symptoms don’t improve with bronchodilator or theophylline, your doctor might prescribe steroids.

These medications can be taken either with an inhaler or in pill form.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program that is meant to improve your breathing and overall well-being.
A person undergoing a pulmonary rehabilitation session

It is usually used for cases of chronic bronchitis, since there is no cure for it.

It often consists of exercise, nutritional counseling, and breathing strategies.

PREVENTION

Although it is not always possible to prevent acute or chronic bronchitis, there are several things that you can do to reduce the risk as mentioned by Medical News Today:

  • Do not start smoking; quit smoking if you already smoke.
  • Avoid lung irritants such as smoke, dust, fumes, vapors, and air pollution. If avoiding exposure is not possible, wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth.
  • Wash hands often to limit exposure to germs and bacteria.
  • Get a yearly flu vaccine.
  • Get a pneumonia vaccine.
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