What Causes Acute Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. This is most often the same viruses that cause colds and the flu. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection, or by physical or chemical agents that are breathed in. These may include dusts, allergens, and strong fumes, including those from chemical cleaning compounds or tobacco smoke.
Acute bronchitis may come after a common cold or other viral infections in the upper respiratory tract. It may also occur in people with chronic sinusitis, allergies, or those with enlarged tonsils and adenoids. It can be serious in people with lung or heart diseases. Pneumonia is a complication that can follow bronchitis.
How Is Bronchitis Diagnosed
When doctors suspect bronchitis, they will do an exam and listen to a child’s chest with a stethoscope to check for wheezing and congestion.
No tests are needed to diagnose bronchitis. But the doctor may order a chest X-ray to rule out a condition like pneumonia. Sometimes doctors do a breathing test to check for asthma. Some kids who seem to get bronchitis a lot with coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath may have asthma instead.
How Is Acute Bronchitis Diagnosed
Healthcare providers can often diagnose acute bronchitis by taking a medical history and doing physical exam. Tests may be done to rule out other diseases, such as pneumonia or asthma. Any of these tests may be used to help confirm a diagnosis:
- Chest X-rays. A test that uses invisible radiation beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs, including the lungs.
- Arterial blood gas. This blood test is used to analyze the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood.
- Pulse oximetry. An oximeter is a small machine that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. To get this measurement, a small sensor is taped or clipped on a finger or toe. When the machine is on, a small red light can be seen in the sensor. The sensor is painless and the red light does not get hot.
- Cultures of nasal discharge and sputum. Testing the sputum you cough up or swab from your nose may be done to find and identify the microorganism causing the infection.
- Pulmonary function tests. These are tests that help to measure the ability of the lungs to move air in and out of the lungs. The tests are usually done with special machines that you breathe into.
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Bronchitis Vs Pneumonia: What Are The Differences And Similarities
Acute bronchitis is a condition in which the lining of your bronchial tubes become inflamed. This condition usually develops as a result of a viral infection like a cold or the flu, and it typically gets better in about one to two weeks.
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. When you have pneumonia, the air sacs of the lungs fill up with fluid or pus. While anyone can get pneumonia, some people such as children, the elderly, people with asthma, and individuals with chronic disease are at an increased risk of developing this lung condition.
Both bronchitis and pneumonia involve inflammation in the chest . And both conditions share some common symptoms:
- Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
While symptoms for either bronchitis or pneumonia can range from being mild to serious enough to require hospitalization, symptoms such as fever, breathing problems, and chest pain tend to be more severe with pneumonia.
In people with pneumonia, the alveoli fill with pus and other fluids and prevent oxygen from reaching the bloodstream when theres too little oxygen in the blood, the body cannot function properly, increasing the risk of death.
Chronic Bronchitis Vs Copd
A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation is another issue entirely when compared to chronic bronchitis. A COPD exacerbation is simply an acute worsening of the symptoms of COPD, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, mucus production, or coughing.
Depending on the kind of COPD a person has , these symptoms may be slightly different.
Patients with chronic bronchitis generally have more mucus production and cough, whereas people with emphysema have more shortness of breath, although either type of COPD can cause any number of these symptoms.
A COPD exacerbation may be caused by an infection , but it may also be caused by non-infectious causes such as fumes, irritants, or smoke.
The treatment for an acute COPD exacerbation is often steroids, inhalers, and antibiotics .
If you have chronic bronchitis or COPD and experience worsening of your symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to determine the correct treatment for you.
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When To See Your Gp
Most cases of bronchitis can be treated easily at home with rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and plenty of fluids.
You only need to see your GP if your symptoms are severe or unusual for example, if:
- your cough is severe or lasts longer than three weeks
- you have a constant fever for more than three days
- you cough up mucus streaked with blood
- you have an underlying heart or lung condition, such as asthma or heart failure
Your GP may need to rule out other lung infections, such as pneumonia, which has symptoms similar to those of bronchitis. If your GP thinks you may have pneumonia, you will probably need a chest X-ray, and a sample of mucus may be taken for testing.
If your GP thinks you might have an undiagnosed underlying condition, they may also suggest a pulmonary function test. You will be asked to take a deep breath and blow into a device called a spirometer, which measures the volume of air in your lungs. Decreased lung capacity can indicate an underlying health problem.
Are The Symptoms Of Covid 19 And Bronchitis Similar
Both acute bronchitis and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses and can have similar symptoms. Acute bronchitis is caused by many different types of viruses and can develop after a common cold or upper respiratory infection. COVID-19 is caused by a type of coronavirus which has caused the global pandemic in 2020 and beyond.
Symptoms that are common to acute bronchitis and COVID-19 include cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, fever, chills, and body aches. COVID-19 can also cause symptoms such as loss of smell, loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
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How Long Does Bronchitis Last
Typically, acute bronchitis may last for 10-14 days or up to 3 weeks depending on individual care and treatment. Chronic bronchitis may last for up to 3 months with proper antibiotic administration and healthy lifestyle. But people with weak immune system may carry the chronic bronchitis condition throughout their lives.
How Bronchitis And Pneumonia Are Treated
Treatments for both bronchitis and pneumonia depend on the underlying cause, such as whether its bacterial or viral.
Bacterial pneumonia and acute bronchitis are both treated with antibiotics. For viral cases, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug. However, theyll likely suggest you get a few days of rest and drink plenty of fluids while you recover.
If you have chronic bronchitis, your doctor may prescribe a breathing treatment or steroid drug that you inhale into your lungs. The medicine helps to reduce inflammation and clear mucus from your lungs.
For more severe cases, your doctor might also prescribe supplemental oxygen to help you breathe. Its also important to avoid smoking or exposure to the substance that caused your bronchitis.
Regardless of the cause, follow these tips to speed up your healing time:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids to loosen up the mucus in your lungs. Water, clear juices, or broths are the best choices. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can be dehydrating.
- Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to reduce a fever and soothe body aches.
- Turn on a humidifier to loosen up the mucus in your lungs.
- Ask your doctor about using an over-the-counter cough remedy if your cough is keeping you up at night or making it hard to sleep.
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Is It Bronchitis Or Pneumonia
Acute bronchitis and pneumonia are often confused because they cause such similar symptoms. A cough that lasts for weeks or even longer are hallmarks of both illnesses.
However, there are key differences between these infections that you need to know about. If you have ever been diagnosed with either one or know someone who has, you’ll want to know how they differ.
Is Treatment For Bronchitis And Pneumonia The Same
Treatment for bronchitis and pneumonia is not the same, though they can be similar depending on the type of bronchitis or pneumonia someone has. Acute bronchitis and bacterial pneumonia, for example, will be treated with antibiotics. A doctor will prescribe a unique treatment plan for every individual based on their symptoms and medical history.
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What Are The Symptoms Acute Bronchitis
The following are the most common symptoms of acute bronchitis. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Back and muscle pain
- Watery eyes
The symptoms of acute bronchitis may look like other conditions or medical problems. Talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
What Is Asthmatic Bronchitis
The term asthmatic bronchitis is not recognized in medical diagnosis. Its a scant colloquial phrase that is used in denoting overlap symptoms of both asthma and bronchitis.
According to Len Horovitz, MD, a pulmonologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, in one of his discussion with Health, said, Its really not a clear entity as a diagnosis, The term may have originated decades ago when medical knowledge was less advanced and diagnoses less specific.
Occurring both asthma and bronchitis symptoms concurrently is called asthmatic bronchitis. In such case, both inflammation and narrowing of the air passages may take place which make breathing quite difficult.
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What Is Acute Bronchitis
Bronchitis is inflammation of the breathing tubes. These airways are called bronchi. This inflammation causes increased mucus production and other changes. Although there are several different types of bronchitis, the most common are acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis may also be called a chest cold.
Most symptoms of acute bronchitis last for up to 2 weeks. The cough can last for up to 8 weeks in some people. Chronic bronchitis lasts a long time. It is more common among smokers.
Whats The Difference Between Acute And Chronic Bronchitis And Is Either Of These Contagious
Acute bronchitis generally lasts about one to three weeks whereas chronic bronchitis you would find more where the patients would have some symptoms more of as of coughing and shortness of breath more than three months at a time.
Also, they can persist to have these symptoms for several years as far as a contagious you would find that the reasons for acute bronchitis to be more contagious.
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Flu Vs Bronchitis Vs Pneumonia
Its wise to have a clear idea on the signs, symptoms, and differences among the flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia so the victims or their observers dont mix up these three different conditions.
These three predicaments might appear similar initially but one has to look carefully into their progressive conditions.
Below, we shall try to make a comparative table of these three diseases:
|Enough bed rest and fluid in normal cases but prescribed antiviral medicines in complicated conditions.||Enough rest and fluid, cough suppressant medicines, pain reliever medicines, etc. Antibiotics for bacterial bronchitis.||Enough bed rest, healthy lifestyle, nutritious diet, vaccinations, prescribed medicines, etc.|
|Severity||It may go away on its own but can be life-threatening for victims with weak immune system.||Acute bronchitis is curable within 3 weeks at best but chronic bronchitis may last for a lifetime.||A worldwide phenomenon disease that affect about a million people in the US only.|
Medical Attention To Prevent Pneumonia:
One cannot be too hopeful to recover fully by vaccines. But the shots will reduce the intensity of the pneumonia and help you fight through the complications.
Vaccines are mainly applicable for those who have weakened immune system due to previous infections or bad lifestyle such as chain-smokers or heavy drinkers. The other group who may need vaccines is those with less capability to fight on like older people over 65 or children below 2.
Clinics and hospitals may give you two types of shots for preventing bacterial pneumonia. Those are:
- PCV13or Prevenar 13 for adults aging over 65 and kids under 5. This vaccine may be given to those who are at great risk of bacterial pneumonia. Side effects for this vaccine may be skin redness, hard lump, allergy, swelling, irritation, etc.
- PPSV23 or Pneumovax for adults over 65 and kids over 2. Kids who have high risk of bacterial pneumonia may take this vaccine. Those who are between 19 and 64, addicted to smoking and have asthmatic symptoms may be given this vaccine shot.
Both the above vaccinations are recommended for those who had never taken any of them before. There should be at least an 8 week gap between the two vaccines starting with the PCV13 followed by the PPSV23.
One should have a thorough check-up and discussion with the doctor before administering these shots.
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Bronchitis Vs Flu: Comparing Causes
Influenza is transmitted from person to person and can travel up to six feet. The flu travels through droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The transmission takes place when these droplets enter the mouth or nose of another person. The flu may also be transmitted when you touch a contaminated object and then touch your nose or mouth. There are three main strains of influenza A, B, and C and the annual vaccine combines different varieties of circulating strains in order to offer optimal protection.
The flu is highly contagious, and a person can infect others even being unaware of having flu. The flu is most contagious between one day prior to the symptom onset and up to seven days of becoming sick.
Bronchitis inflames the bronchi and trachea, as oppose to pneumonia, which inflames the lining of the lungs. Bronchitis is commonly caused by a viral infection, and this is why it does not respond well to antibiotic treatment. In some cases, a bacterial infection can inflame the bronchial tubes, causing bronchitis as well.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Bronchitis
If you are affected by acute bronchitis then your recovery time is within 10-14 days depending on your immune system and proper nursing. Some may have to endure this condition until three weeks also.
It will take longer for those who are affected by chronic bronchitis as a result of COPD. This may register in the body and last for about three months.
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What Are Pneumonia And Bronchitis
Pneumonia and bronchitis are infections of the lungs. Pneumonia is less common but can be more severe than bronchitis and sometimes requires hospitalization.
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways of the lungs, most often caused by a viral infection.
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs air sacs. The air sacs are deeper in the lung and are responsible for oxygen exchange with the blood. Pneumonia is often caused by bacterial or viral infections and causes the air sacs to fill with fluid or pus .
Pneumonia and bronchitis require different treatments. Its important to get the correct diagnosis from your doctor so you receive the right care.
What Causes Bronchitis
Most often, the same viruses that give you a cold or the flu also cause bronchitis. Sometimes though, bacteria are to blame.
In both cases, as your body fights off the germs, your bronchial tubes swell and produce more mucus. That means you have smaller openings for air to flow, which can make it harder to breathe.
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What Is A Chest Cold
The bronchi are the airways or breathing tubes in the lungs. A chest cold, also called acute bronchitis, is an infection of the bronchi. The same viruses that cause upper respiratory infections can also cause acute bronchitis. Sometimes, bacteria can also cause acute bronchitis.
During acute bronchitis, the airways in the lungs become swollen and produce mucus, causing a bothersome cough. The symptoms usually last for 3 weeks or less. Besides coughing with or without mucus, other symptoms can include slight fever, sore throat, chest soreness, mild headache, fatigue, and body aches.
Acute bronchitis usually clears on its own in a few days to weeks. Antibiotics are not recommended to treat acute bronchitis in most cases, not even bacterial bronchitis. However, you should get professional medical care if you have:
- High fever
- Cough with discolored mucus or bloody mucus
- Shortness of breath, chest tightness, or trouble breathing
- Symptoms lasting more than three weeks
- Repeated attacks of bronchitis
Do I Have A Cold Or Acute Bronchitis
If you know the difference between a cold and bronchitis, you can recognize the two conditions and treat them accordingly.
The main difference is that a common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. Bronchitis, on the other hand, is an inflammation and infection of the bronchial tubes in the lungs or lower respiratory tract. Therefore, a cold affects your nose and sinuses while bronchitis affects the airways in your lungs.
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