What Is Acute Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis often referred to as chest cold, is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
Bronchial tubes are the airways which carry oxygen from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs and carbon dioxide back from the lungs to the windpipe. When the bronchial tubes get infected by virus or bacteria, the swell and produce mucus. This mucous causes a cough in the infected person.
Bronchitis can be acute or chronic.
In acute bronchitis, the patient is sick for week and symptoms last for 1-2 weeks. It comes quickly and is usually self-limiting.
In chronic bronchitis, the patient has recurrent episodes of a cough and can last for a long time. A cough is accompanied with mucus for almost up to three months in a year, and it may take around two years to recover fully.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acute Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis is contagious and spreads from person to person. Symptoms include:
- High-grade fever, a runny nose.
- Initial dry cough, which later changes to wet cough with mucous.
- Sneezing, watery eyes.
- Congestion in the nose.
- Head ache, a sore throat.
- Wheezing, tiredness.
- Body pain.
- Complications include high-grade fever, breathlessness, chest pain and pneumonia.
You can notice that the mucous changes in colour from white to green and then to yellow. It just means that your immune system is trying to fight off the infection.
What Are The Causes Of Acute Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis occurs more frequently in children and elderly people. However, all age groups are at risk of getting this disease.
- The main cause of this infection is a respiratory virus. Around 10% of cases are caused by a bacterial infection. Other factors which might increase the risk of an infection are:
- It is more common in the winter months.
- Repeated exposure to other persons with bronchitis or the common cold.
- People with a previous condition of upper respiratory tract infection may also get acute bronchitis.
- Exposure to dust, pollutants, chemical fumes, etc.
- Inhaling cigarette smoke.
- Failure to take vaccinations against diseases like whooping cough, pneumonia, and flu.
- Weakened immunity system makes it easy for viruses to cause infections.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Acute Bronchitis?
- If you are suffering from acute bronchitis, do use a tissue to cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing. This will help in preventing your co-workers or friends from contracting this infection.
- If you are working in factories, do use a mask to avoid inhaling dust and smoke.
- Do wash your hands frequently, especially in the flu season, to get rid of any virus or germs that you might have picked up.
- Use humidifiers if you think there is an increase in humidity in the room.
- Inhale steam three to four times a day so that the mucous gets liquefied. It will clear congestion.
- Do take vaccination for flu every year.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do take rest.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Acute Bronchitis?
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid being around people who smoke. Passive smoking also causes bronchitis.
- Avoid going out in damp weather.
- If you have acute bronchitis, be considerate of others by not going out in public places, parks and malls.
What Are The Best Foods For Acute Bronchitis?
For a speedy recovery from acute bronchitis, proper nourishment is as important as medicines and inhalers. In order to fight a cough and clear the bronchial tubes, you need to pep up your immune system.
- Green leafy vegetables like fenugreek leaves, spinach, and kale are rich in immunity boosters like antioxidants, flavonoids, and carotenoids. These help the body to fight off infections.
- Garlic is known to be antibacterial as well as antiviral. Eating raw garlic will help in preventing infections.
- Vitamin C is known to be a great immunity booster. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, sweet lime, papaya, kiwi, strawberry, etc. and vegetables like Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. should be added to the diet.
- Incorporate healthy fatty acids found in walnuts, cold water fish, coconut, etc.
- Spicy food like chilli peppers is believed to stop a runny nose and thin the mucus and clear congestion.
What Are The Worst Foods For Acute Bronchitis?
- Reduce the intake of milk as it tends to increase mucous production.
- Avoid fried food, sugary food and food made from refined flour. Do not eat candies, pastries, fries, ice cream, etc. They contain a lot of sugar and synthetic vitamins, which add little or no value to the body’s nutritional requirement.
- Avoid alcohol as well as caffeinated beverages. They dehydrate the body and make the mucous hard. This makes it difficult to remove from the body.
What Are The Medicines For Acute Bronchitis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Acute Bronchitis?
The most important advice is to quit smoking. Secondly, proper hygiene and sanitation are very important to prevent infections. Add to this, an active lifestyle with a balanced diet plays a great role in staying fit and healthy.