Acute bronchitis involves abrupt development of inflammation in the bronchial tubes. This occurs due to viruses or inhalation of irritating substances such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, dust and fumes. In some cases, bacteria are also responsible for the condition.
Indications of acute bronchitis
The usual signs and symptoms of acute bronchitis include the following:
- Coughing up mucus that is yellowish or greenish in color
- Feeling tired
- Stuffed or runny nose that starts a few days before chest congestion occurs
- Could not stay active as usual
- Ribs feel sore after extended periods of coughing
- Wheezing while breathing
Acute bronchitis is typically brought about by a respiratory virus and sometimes by a bacterial infection, but it is considered uncommon.
- Direct exposure to an individual with common cold or acute bronchitis
- Unable to receive appropriate immunizations
- Being exposed to fumes, tobacco smoke, air pollution and dust
When to seek medical care
A doctor should be consulted if an individual is suspected with acute bronchitis and if his/her symptoms become persistent.
Most cases of acute bronchitis settle on their own. The infection usually runs its course in a matter of several weeks. The doctor will recommend adequate rest, fluids, pain medications and a cough suppressant. A humidifier or steam is also beneficial. In addition, inhalation medications might be needed to open the airways if the individual is wheezing.
It is important to note that antibiotics are not proven to shorten the course of the condition or alleviate the symptoms. Since most cases are due to viruses, antibiotics are not widely used since they are only effective against bacteria. If the doctor believes that bacteria is the cause, antibiotics are given.