It is necessary for us to know the pertinent facts about a particular disease in order for it to be prevented. These days, there are already countless respiratory diseases known to man and most of these can cause similar or overlapping symptoms which makes it hard for us to diagnose or distinguish the exact cause or type of the respiratory problem. One of the most common respiratory conditions is known as bronchitis. But what is bronchitis and how do you get bronchitis?
Definition of Bronchitis
Bronchitis is defined as a type of inflammation that occurs on the lining of the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that links the trachea to the lungs. This delicate lining is considered to be important since it produces enough mucus that helps in covering or protecting the respiratory system and as well as the organs and tissues used in breathing.
If a person or an individual is diagnosed to have bronchitis, it will be very hard for him or her to pass air in and out of the lungs. Because of this, the surrounding tissues can become irritated and it can cause the production of more mucus, which is already considered to be unnecessary. This is the reason why coughing is one of the most common symptoms of bronchitis.
Whenever we breathe in air, small and bristly hairs located near the opening of the nostrils help in filtering out dust, pollen and other airborne particles. However, germs or bacteria can sometimes pass through to these defenses, which can cause different kinds of illnesses.
Bronchitis can be classified as acute or chronic. An acute type of bronchitis usually occurs quickly and can cause severe symptoms. Fortunately, this type of condition only happens for a short time (less than a few weeks). Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses that can infect the respiratory tract and attack the bronchial tubes. Certain types of bacteria can also lead to acute bronchitis. In fact, most people actually experience acute bronchitis at some point of their lives.
On the other hand, chronic bronchitis can be mild or severe, which usually lasts longer. This condition could even stay for several months to a few years. In chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes continue to become inflamed, irritated and swollen. This is also exhibited by the production of excessive mucus over time. One of the most common causes of chronic bronchitis is none other than smoking. People with chronic bronchitis are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the airways and as well as the lungs. One of the most common resulting effects of bronchitis is pneumonia.
Identifying the Common Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis usually starts as a dry cough that is triggered by the inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Some of the symptoms that can later develop include coughing with the production of thick white, yellow or greenish mucus, headache, chills, fever, soreness or tightness of the chest, presence of wheezing (whistling sound with breathing) and shortness of breath. Chronic bronchitis on the other hand commonly occurs in smokers; however, people who have repeated episodes of acute bronchitis can also lead to chronic form. Some of the symptoms of chronic bronchitis are similar to the acute form with the exception of chills and fever. Nevertheless, it can still produce tightness of the chest and shortness of breath. A person who is suffering from chronic bronchitis usually takes longer to recover from common colds and other respiratory illnesses. Because of this, some of the common symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath and cough may already become part of the person’s daily life.
Understanding the Causes of Bronchitis and the Possible Ways of Acquiring It
Just like what is mentioned above, acute bronchitis is commonly caused by viruses. This can occur alongside colds or other respiratory infection. These germs or viruses can spread from one person to another through coughing. These pathogens can spread through touching the mouth, nose or eyes after coming in contact to any of the respiratory fluids of an infected individual. Smoking even for a brief time and being around tobacco smoke, chemical fumes and other air pollutants for a long period of time can increase the risk of developing chronic bronchitis. Some people with repeated bouts of bronchitis with coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath may also have asthma.
Prevention of Bronchitis
Fortunately, there are still some things that we can do in order to prevent bronchitis from corrupting our conditions. Once of the best ways in doing this is through regular hand washing. Washing of hands can help prevent the spread of the germs that can cause the said condition. This is especially true during cold and flu seasons.
Another way in preventing bronchitis is by quitting smoking. It is also important for us to stay away from smokers since being around smokers can also make use susceptible to many viral infections. This can also increase the congestion of the airway. It is also necessary for us to get plenty of rest and sleep in order to strengthen the body in fighting off the illnesses that we can come in contact with.