Bronchitis is a condition where the bronchi are inflamed. Bronchitis can be divided into acute and chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis can also be known as a chest cold. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection (90 percent of cases). The viruses can be transmitted through the air or direct contact.
The risk factors of acute bronchitis include exposure to air pollution, dust, and tobacco smoke. Some cases can also be due to severe air pollution or bacteria such as Bordetella pertussis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The treatment of acute bronchitis usually involves rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), paracetamol (acetaminophen), and more. Acute bronchitis is a very common condition where approximately 5 percent of adults are affected with 6 percent of children experiencing one episode annually.
In chronic bronchitis, most cases are due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is most commonly due to tobacco smoking, genetics, and air pollution. Treatment involves rehabilitation, vaccinations, quitting smoking, steroids, and inhaled bronchodilators. A lung transplant or long-term oxygen therapy may also be beneficial. In 2010, about 5 percent of the global population consisting of 329 million individuals were affected by COPD. In 2013, it led to 2.9 million deaths.
Bronchitis Sign #1: Cough
A cough is a repetitive and sudden reflex that the body uses to help clear the airway from irritants, fluids, microbes, and foreign particles. The cough reflex has three phases: inhalation, exhalation, and release of air accompanied by a distinctive sound.
Frequent coughing can mean that there is disease. From an evolutionary perspective, coughing helps to spread the viruses and bacteria to new hosts. Coughing can occur when there is a respiratory tract infection, asthma, smoking, air pollution, post-nasal drip, lung cancer, bronchitis, and more.