If you haven’t ever developed a case of bronchitis, consider yourself lucky, as it’s a pretty common ailment. It occurs when your bronchial tree becomes infected which is caused by a virus or a bacterial or fungal infection. The tubes that carry air to your lungs become swelled up and mucus forms inside of them, making it extremely difficult for you to breathe. While most cases of bronchitis last a few weeks or less, chronic bronchitis can be long lasting. Chronic bronchitis is also typically reoccurring and is most common among smokers.
Symptoms of acute bronchitis can include things like sore throat, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, congestion, a mucus-type cough, wheezing and fever.
Unlike colds coughing from bronchitis can last weeks because the bronchial tree is one of the slowest healing parts of our bodies. It’s not uncommon to feel better but still have a bit of a cough for a month after the initial infection.
While it is hard to prevent since most cases of bronchitis come from airborne viruses or skin contact, there are several things you can do to help lower your risk:
Wash hands often
Use antibacterial soap
Don’t smoke. Smoking irritates the bronchial tree and can make it more susceptible to infection. It also extends the healing period once you contract bronchitis.
Avoid touching your face when you’re at school, work, etc.
Keep keyboards and phones clean with antibacterial wipes.
Since the majority of bronchitis cases are caused by a virus it’s not necessary to undergo treatment with antibiotics. Most cases can be treated at home. Drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol/caffeine, use over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers, take cough syrup, use a humidifier and rest in order to cope with bronchitis. If your case lasts longer than two weeks, or you’re coughing up blood you need to see your doctor as it could indicate other complications.
At least by the look of things, diagnosing the ailment will be much easier in coming years, as the 3Ders website recently reported that 17 year old Maya Varma developed a device with very little; using 3D printed mouthpiece, electronic board, and a smartphone. The patient who may be struggling with bronchitis symptoms, simply has to breathe in the mouthpiece, which then processes the data. The data is then sent to an app that will display the patient’s results.