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6 Acute Bronchitis Symptoms That Tell You It's Not The Chronic Type
PHOTO BY Unsplash/Towfiqu Barbhuiya
  • Editor’s Note: This article is intended for information purposes only. It does not substitute a doctor. It is vital to always consult a medically trained professional for advice that suits your needs best.

    Ailments of the lungs and the rest of the respiratory system have always been a major health concern globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). One of these respiratory diseases is bronchitis, that's why health experts advice to be aware of, for instance, acute bronchitis symptoms.

    What is acute bronchitis?

    To understand acute bronchitis is to first understand its umbrella disease, bronchitis. As explained by Dr. John Paul B. Serafica, a specialist in internal medicine and pulmonology, in an interview with Smart Parenting, bronchitis is the inflammation of trachea and major bronchi.

    The trachea, also called windpipe, is located around the throat area, while the bronchi, or bronchial tubes, are found around the chest area. Both the trachea and bronchi are major airways in the lungs. The air that you breathe in goes through these airways until it reaches the alveoli, which are parts of the lungs that absorb oxygen and releases carbon dioxide.

    Bronchitis has several types, but as Dr. Serafica points out, it can be easily understood if classified into two: acute and chronic. While acute brochitis can have different causes, chronic bronchitis is usually caused by smoking and characterized by chronic cough for three months from one year to two consecutive years.

    Acute bronchitis causes

    When talking about acute bronchitis, pulmonologist Dr. Geraldine DC Garcia in her online talk, gives a few pointers. She says it's usually a reaction commonly caused by an infection. It's also usually treated in about seven days.

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    Meanwhile, Dr. Serafica says infection can be either viral or bacterial. He also gives extends the treatment from 10 to 14 days, but never beyond three weeks. He cautions that acute bronchitis due to viral infection caused by, for instance, influenza virus, can be transmitted through large respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    Another way that the viral acute bronchitis can spread is while an infected person breathes, without wearing a face mask, and small particle aerosols are released in the air where space is enclosed and people around are not wearing face mask.

    Still another source of infection is through surfaces that are contaminated also with respiratory droplets. This can happen when an infected person touches a surface, and then, unsuspecting persons touch it, too, and afterwards touch their nose or eyes.

    Acute bronchitis symptoms

    Coughing is the most common symptom for both acute and chronic bronchitis, says Dr. Serafica. It just varies in the type of cough, which can be dry or with phlegm and can be in combination with wheezing. He points out, though, that coughing takes longer in chronic bronchitis.

    Aside from coughing, the other possible symptoms of acute bronchitis are:

    • Runny nose
    • Nasal congestion
    • Headache
    • Malaise
    • Muscle and joint pain
    • Fever

    Ways to treat acute bronchitis

    If the bout of acute bronchitis is caused by a virus, Dr. Serafica recommends what doctors like him call symptomatic treatment. For instance, if you're having nasal congestion, you will be given advised to take nasal decongestant. For fever, there's antipyretic, such as paracetamol.

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    When prescribing antibiotics at antiviral medications, Dr. Serafica points out, doctors in general do so in a "case-to-case basis." He thus reminds, especially parents who care for their ill children, against taking antibiotics or antiviral medications without prescription and advice from their doctor.

    Instead, you can try these home remedies:

    • Take a lot of rest
    • Take plenty of fluids, including hot soup
    • Use a cool-mist humidifier in your room

    But if the acute bronchitis symptoms you're experiencing presist and your general condition worsens, Dr. Serafica recommends consulting your doctor. He also advises to take the flu vaccine since the influenza virus is a common cause of the disease. The vaccine is applicable to not just to adults but also to kids and even babies.

    Read here for way to make your lungs strong and resistant to diseases.

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