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Bronchitis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Bronchitis is a respiratory disorder where the mucus membrane found in the lung’s passage gets inflamed. Bronchitis is characterized by phlegm, breathless and coughing spells which occurs when the membrane of the throat swells and becomes thicker. This leads to the narrowing or the shutdown of the airways in the lungs. Bronchitis can be classified into two types, chronic bronchitis and acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis can lead to hacking cough, the infection is viral and is caused by bacteria. Whereas, chronic bronchitis is a long term diseases and requires immediate medical treatment. Smoking contributes in triggering the symptoms of acute bronchitis. If you happen to be a regular smoker, it is extremely difficult for you to recover. The smoke of the cigarette destroys the tiny hairs in your lungs (cilla). These structures help to brush out excess mucus, irritants and debris. Continued damage to the cilla increases your chances of developing chronic bronchitis. Permanent damage to the cilla can be caused. This condition is called COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and makes it difficult for someone to breathe.

What causes bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is usually caused due to some form of lung infection. 90% of the lung infections are viral. Prolonged and continuous attacks of bronchitis can irritate and weaken your bronchial airway resulting in chronic bronchitis. Industrial pollutants also contribute in developing bronchitis. People who work in coal mines, grain handling industries and meal molders are more prone in developing chronic bronchitis. This is due to the continuous exposure to fumes and dust. The major causes of bronchitis include cigarette smoking, exposure to high levels of sulfur di-oxide and exposure to other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Facts about bronchitis:

  • Acute bronchitis is a short term disease which leads to a vial infection or a cold. Whereas, chronic bronchitis is long term and can result to extended illness.
  • Exposure to pesticides and insecticides can also increase the susceptibility to bronchitis.
  • Lung function testing, blood tests and chest X-ray is performed to diagnose bronchitis.
  • Acute bronchitis can be cured on its own without any medical treatment.


Bronchitis cannot be cured completely, but proper medications can relieve its symptoms to a great extent. Usually antibiotics and cough medicines are prescribed to clear the throat and to ease the discomfort caused by bronchitis. Severe bronchitis can be treated by using bronchodilators (opens the tubes and clears out mucus), mucolytics (loosens the mucus in the airways), anti inflammatory medicines and glucocorticoid steroids.

Can't be cured, but treatment helps Usually self diagnosable Lab test not required Spread through the air or contaminated surfaces
High fever Coughing up blood Chest pain Persistant coughing Headaches and body aches Wheezing Blocked nose

Popular Health Tips

Bronchitis - Can It Be Contagious?

Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 89% (33546 ratings)
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Bronchitis - Can It Be Contagious?
You are out in public, and a person next to you is incessantly coughing. It is natural to be worried if it is bronchitis and the possibility of you getting infected. Read on to know about the condition and if it is really contagious. Bronchial tubes are the airways in the lungs, and when they are inflamed due to an infection or an underlying medical condition, it results in bronchitis. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic and depending on the cause, may or may not be contagious. Types of bronchitis Chronic bronchitis occurs when the airways in the lungs get irritated again and again. Though it s a severe health condition that requires medical attention, it is not as contagious as it occurs due to the exposure to certain chemicals, dust, cigarette smoke or smoke from a fire, air pollutants that irritate the lungs. On the other hand, acute bronchitis that usually lasts for one to three weeks is considered to be contagious because this particular type of bronchitis happens due to the flu or cold viruses. It is the infectious properties of the viruses causing it that makes it contagious. Transmission In the case of acute bronchitis, since it is caused mainly due to viral infections when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, the viruses get transmitted to others in the surrounding. Hence it can spread quickly. Symptoms Some of the common symptoms of acute bronchitis are a hacking cough, production of excessive mucus, shortness of breath, and feelings of discomfort in the chest. Note that as long as the infection is present, acute bronchitis remains contagious. Once the infection is gone, it is no longer contagious, though, the symptoms, like a persisting cough, may stay for several weeks afterward. Prevention Maintaining a healthy hygiene, such as washing hands regularly or keeping the surfaces clean, or using a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing can help in preventing the spread of the infection as well as getting affected with it. Also, taking flu vaccinations and quitting to smoke can also assist in preventing lung infections. Treatment For the majority cases of acute bronchitis, the condition is resolved by itself within a few weeks and antibiotics may not be an ideal treatment option if the acute bronchitis is caused by a virus. The most recommended treatment options that can quicken the recovery process are taking rest, opting for prescribed over-the-counter medications, drinking lots of fluids, inhaling the steam of hot water, whether from the shower or a bowl of hot water. People who have asthma or chronic bronchitis sometimes may develop acute bronchitis as a result of further complications of their present lung conditions and not as a result of virus invasion. Therefore, the chances of such acute bronchitis being contagious are less than those caused by influenza viruses or bacteria. Thus, acute bronchitis due to a viral infection is more contagious than chronic bronchitis that is due to an underlying medical condition like asthma and other lung diseases. With a few simple and effective measures, such contagious infections can be prevented.
3213 people found this helpful

Bronchitis - Can Wheezing Be A Sign Of It?

Dr. Shobhit Bansal 87% (125 ratings)
MBBS, DNB - Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy & Sleep Disorders
Pulmonologist, Noida
Bronchitis - Can Wheezing Be A Sign Of It?
The inflammations of the lining in the bronchial tubes, which are responsible for carrying air from and to your lungs are known as bronchitis. It is a respiratory disease and more than a million cases are reported each year. Bronchitis requires medical diagnosis by your healthcare provider and can be chronic or acute. Cold or other respiratory infections can cause acute bronchitis whereas smoking leads to chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis usually lasts for few days but with persistent cough. Whereas, chronic bronchitis can be responsible for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Symptoms of bronchitis: The symptoms common to both acute and chronic bronchitis are given below: 1. Cough which may form mucus 2. Body aches and breathlessness 3. Headaches, blocked nose and sinuses 4. Fever with chills 5. Wheezing The diagnosis of bronchitis is done by your doctor who will ask you about your cough. Some other questions may include your medical history, about smoking or whether you have had cases of flu or cold recently. Treatment for bronchitis: Your doctor will mainly recommend pain relievers and cough syrup along with warm air to breathe mainly at indoors. However your doctor may prescribe the following medications in cases of severe bronchitis: 1. Cough medicine: These medicines will help to remove mucus and irritants from your lungs. Medicines may not be able to suppress the symptoms completely but will give you relief from pain. 2. Bronchodilators: Which clears out the mucus by opening your bronchial tubes. 3. Mucolytics: These helps loosen mucus in the airways and help to cough up sputum. 4. Oxygen therapy: It will help to improve the oxygen intake when you face difficulty in breathing. 5. Therapy: Pulmonary program will include a therapist who would work to improve your breathing. 6. Medicines: Using anti inflammatory medicines to reduce damage to your lungs tissue and to also avoid chronic inflammation. Prevention of bronchitis: Acute and chronic bronchitis can be reduced by the following measures; however, they cannot be completely prevented: 1. Avoiding dust, smoke, and air pollution. You can always wear a mask when you are on the road or in traffic. 2. Washing your hands often to avoid germs and infections. 3. Avoiding smoking as it can cause harmful damage to your lungs.
2623 people found this helpful

Homeopathic Remedies For Different Types Of Bronchitis!

Dr. Deepanjli 88% (458 ratings)
Bsc(Med.), DHMS (Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery), NDDY(Naturopathy and Yoga)
Homeopath, Mohali
Homeopathic Remedies For Different Types Of Bronchitis!
Bronchitis is basically an infection in the bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes which basically carry air to your lungs sometimes get infected due to cold or flu. That's when you tend to develop the infection in the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes known as bronchitis. Symptoms of bronchitis The basic symptoms of bronchitis include: Intense coughing Sneezing Wheezing Feeling of discomfort in chest Shortness of breath Blocked nose, headache Low fever Body aching Types of bronchitis Bronchitis can be of two types: Acute bronchitis: Acute bronchitis is generally a viral infection. It causes coughing up mucus, sore throat, shortness of breath and fever. Generally acute bronchitis stays for a week or less. Acute bronchitis is caused by bacteria or viruses. Apart from this, irritants, fumes, dusts are also responsible for causing bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis: Chronic bronchitis is much more severe than acute bronchitis. It causes persistent cough with mucus, breathing difficulties, fever etc. It can last till 1-2 years depending on its severity. The symptoms may get worse if not treated properly. Chronic bronchitis might turn to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease if it occurs with pulmonary emphysema. Chronic bronchitis can be caused due to irritation of the airway tissues and lungs. But the most common reason behind chronic bronchitis is smoking. Apart from these, repeated acute bronchitis can also cause long-term chronic bronchitis. Treating bronchitis with homeopathy Homeopathy is one of the holistic ways of treating bronchitis. Decades of research has established homeopathy as one of the most effective and safest treatments. Bronchitis can be cured and the symptoms can be reduced with the homeopathic treatment. Arsenic Album: Arsenic Album is one of the best medicines for treating bronchitis. It is more effective in treating bronchitis which is combined with severe weakness. Bryonia: This is another effective medicine for bronchitis. This is more effective when there is severe cough with mucus, chest pain while coughing, body ache, sore throat etc. Patients with such symptoms are prescribed bryonia. Antimonium tartaricum: This medicine is prescribed in two phases of bronchitis. It is mostly prescribed to the young infants or the older people. This is prescribed when the patient suffers from wheezing, chest pain, coughing up mucus, vomiting etc. Sulphur: Sulphur is great for treating chronic bronchitis. It is a great remedy for treating severe cough, breathing difficulties, severe chest pain and breathing attacks. Pulsatilla: Pulsatilla is an effective remedy for treating chronic bronchitis. This remedy works best for chronic bronchitis with nausea, vomiting and severe cough with mucus. These are the best homeopathic remedies for treating bronchitis. It is always advisable to consult a physician before taking any medicine.
3138 people found this helpful

Allergic Bronchitis - Homeopathic Remedies That Can Help!

Dr. Anju Vohra 90% (504 ratings)
B.H.M.S ( Mumbai) (Silver Medalist), Certificate In Gyn and Obstetric
Homeopath, Noida
Allergic Bronchitis - Homeopathic Remedies That Can Help!
The human lungs are an intricate and a vital organ of the body. This organ is responsible for filtering the air you breathe, separating the oxygen and infusing it in the blood to be used by the body. The lungs have multiple tube-like structures within it, known as the bronchial tubes. The lining of these tubes may become inflamed due to a bacterial or viral infection and thus result in bronchitis. However, a significant percentage of bronchial inflammation or bronchitis is also caused by allergies. Inflammation causes swelling which not only results in breathing difficulties, but also causes other problems as well such as excess production of mucus, painful coughing and heaviness in the chest area, etc. Homeopathic approach towards curing allergic bronchitis Homeopathy is a form of medication which is symptom based and takes into account the general disposition of the person along with the apparent symptoms. Thus, prescribing medications also differs according to the differences in each patient. Some of the more well-known homeopathic medications usually prescribed are mentioned below. However, you should consult a homeopathic doctor first as they would be able to evaluate your condition best and then prescribe the correct medications accordingly. Arsenica Album: This medication is usually prescribed for people who have general weakness in the body that accompanies bronchitis. Some of the other indications wherein Arsenica Album may be prescribed may include restlessness and increased coughing after midnight and wheezing. Antimonium Tartaricum: This is another very effective medication when there is rattling in the chest. However, although you can feel a lot of mucus within, very little of it tends to come out. Antimonium Tartaricum is very effective in such cases. Another indication for this medication is the worsening of the coughing after eating. Pulsatilla: If you have a lot of mucosal discharge after coughing which is yellow to greenish in color, then Pulsatilla may be prescribed for you. Some of the other indications wherein Pulsatilla is usually prescribed are a lack of thirst and the cough worsening while lying down which may force you to sit up. Cough also tends to be loose in the morning and becomes drier in the evening. Bryonia: Another allrounder medication very effective in treating multiple disorders, Bryonia is very effective in treating Bronchitis as well. Some of the indications where this medication is prescribed would be extreme thirst, dry cough, dryness of the mucosal membranes in general, pain in the head and chest while coughing and the cough starting when getting into a warmer room. Hepar Sulph: An overtly increased sensitivity to cold air or coldness, in general, is the prime indicator for this homeopathic medication. Any exposure to coldness immediately triggers a cough and the coughing tends to be worse in the morning. You may also rattle excessively from cold and wheezing may also be present.
5292 people found this helpful

Is Bronchitis Contagious?

Dr. Piyush Goel 92% (19 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, FNB-Critical Care and Medicine
Pulmonologist, Gurgaon
Is Bronchitis Contagious?
If you are having a chronic cough and often pant for breath, it is quite possible that you may be suffering from bronchitis. In addition to this, you may also experience wheezing, fatigue, and pain in the chest. It is triggered when the lining of the airways in the lungs become irritated. To determine, whether or not bronchitis is contagious, it is important to understand what caused the ailment. Chronic bronchitis: This type of bronchitis happens when the airways get continuously irritated. It may last for months or even years and tend to come back. It is caused by irritants that affect the lungs such as dust, chemicals, smoke, fire, and smoking cigarettes. Even though chronic bronchitis is not considered contagious, it is a serious health issue that requires medical attention. Acute bronchitis: It generally lasts for about 1 to 3 weeks and stems from cold or flu virus. As these infections are contagious, so is acute bronchitis. Whether a person having bronchitis can spread the disease depends on the virus that is causing the ailment. In most instances, it is seen that the disease is contagious for a first few weeks of infection. Since there are hundreds of viruses causing bronchitis, it is best to assume that a person is bound to spread the disease when he has symptoms of cold and flu. What causes transmission of bronchitis? Acute bronchitis owing to infection is generally transmitted via an airborne droplet containing germs. It is transmitted when someone having infection shakes hand or sneezes or coughs or has any other physical contact. Some virus and bacteria have the power to live outside the body for a prolonged span of time, and therefore, you can get infected by touching any object that is harboring the germs. It is often seen that acute bronchitis begins as flu and therefore, the best way to prevent it is to get an annual shot of flu. When you come in contact with an infected person, the chances of being affected is high if you have chronic infections or weak immune system. Aged people and young children are most vulnerable to this disease. How can acute bronchitis be prevented? Even though acute bronchitis is extremely common and can occur at any time, winter is the most vulnerable season for bronchitis. But there are ways in which you can prevent bronchitis effortlessly. You should avoid close contact and sharing of utensils with an infected person who has flu, cold or bronchitis. You should not touch a used tissue since the virus of bronchitis can easily spread through mucus. Make sure that you get the annual flu shot and wash your hands in warm water. The disease is very common, and it can make you feel very uncomfortable at times. But there are times when the symptoms subside on their own without any sort of medical attention.
2 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Accentuated bronchovascular markings are noted in bilateral peri-hilar and paracardiac regions. What does that mean.

Dr. Raj Bonde 97% (47865 ratings)
MD - Homeopathy
Homeopath, Aurangabad
Accentuated markings may indicate increased blood flow to lungs which can occur in normal person as well as in illnesses like pneumonia , viral respiratory infections or allergic pneumonitis.

I have mild bronchitis and patchy pneumonitis problem when I hv done ct scan. I took medication as doctor specified. But it worked for few months but after medicine discontinuation I find same problem ie heavy coughing and coughing up thick phlegm.

Dr. N S S Gauri 94% (9368 ratings)
Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (B.U.M.S)
Ayurveda, Kanpur
Swans chintamani ras 125 mg twice a day rudanti avleh 10 gm twice a day relief in 3-4 days and for complete cure take it for 60 days only.
1 person found this helpful

Hi. This is concerning my mother who is 46 years old and is suffering from chronic bronchitis for last 20 years. She is non-smoker. However, her fev1/fvc ratio is 68 and fev1 is 48%(severe). She can walk for miles. However sometimes she feel tired. She is doing yoga. I need genuine advice. Please be honest. How much she can expect life expectancy to be. I am realy tensed for my mother. Please let me know the genuine answer of her life expectancy. The thing is her fev1 is 48%. Also, what could be possible treatment options. Does stent thing works?

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Navi Mumbai
Hello lybrate-user, From the details you gave, I would label her as bronchial asthma. Raised serum IgE will need to be evaluated for specific IgE for Aspergillus Fumigatus to rule out a condition called as Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis. As far as asthma is concerned it can be controlled on inhaled bronchodilators and steroids. She can very well live for more than 20 years with proper care involving chest physiotherapy. All this that I am saying to you is based on a presumptive diagnosis of bronchial asthma with no super added conditions which require specific treatment. Reviewing her chest X-ray and blood counts along with liver and renal function tests, arterial blood gas analysis would aid a lot in gauging her status. Also a physical examination by doctor can’t be substituted with an online consult. This will only help you if the workup has been thorough and diagnosis is certain. Thank You, Regards.
1 person found this helpful

I have prominent bronchovascular markings in my chest. And blood test says that esr (westergre)- 20 in my blood. I feel congestion in my chest. please recommend me a good treatment.

Dr. Jayvirsinh Chauhan 92% (5416 ratings)
MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
You may take homoeoapthic medicine Kali Carb 30 tds. See if it helps. It is advisable to take proper consultation.
1 person found this helpful

I gaining weight constantly. I have bronchitis n I am mother of 3 kids. I also have pcod. Pls help me to reduce weight.

Dt. Riyaz Khan 92% (2315 ratings)
Diploma in Diet and Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Hyderabad
You need to maintain a Food Diary and write down every bit of food and liquids that you take. Do this for one month. If you can't write in diary you can use 'Myfitnesspal' app. Once you do this you will realise that you are consuming too much excess calories. It is better you visit a dietitian to work on a proper plan. But please avoid all sorts of gimmick gadgets / supplements / medicines etc. Just a simple diet of 2 rotis - salads - fruits can ensure better health. Make up your mind. Find a guide to help you. Don't feel sorry for yourself. Find your strength and start moving forward, step by step.
3 people found this helpful

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