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Some diseases are frequently encountered, especially in the autumn and winter period. Acute bronchitis is one of them. Although it is an easily treatable and self-limiting disease, it can progress and lead to severe conditions when left untreated.

Therefore, it is a disease that needs the medical supervision of a doctor. So what is acute bronchitis, its symptoms, and which methods take part in the treatment process? We examined all the answers in the rest of our article.

What is Acute Bronchitis?

In our body, breathing tubes called bronchi divide from the trachea into two and form the lungs. The bronchi leading to the right and left lungs are called the right and left bronchus. Inflammation may occur in these airway tubes, especially in autumn and winter, and this is called bronchitis. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis may develop due to the common cold or various respiratory tract infections and is quite common in the community. It can develop due to smoking, as well as by inhaling some chemicals or toxic gases.

Causes of Acute Bronchitis

One of the most common causes of acute bronchitis is viruses. The viruses that cause acute bronchitis are predominantly the same type as those that cause the common cold or flu. Such as coronavirus, rhinovirus, influenza, adenovirus, or parainfluenza.

If viruses do not cause acute bronchitis, then bacteria may also be the cause. For example, pertussis, a common ailment in children, is also an acute bronchitis disease, and bacteria such as bordetella cause this disease. We can list other causes that may cause acute bronchitis as follows:

  • Environmental and climatic conditions: Sudden changes in air temperature, air pollution, and dry or cold air
  • Impaired nasal breathing: Smoking, deformity of the nasal bone, polyps, and adenoids

Although these reasons commonly cause acute bronchitis, exceptional cases may develop. In cases where a virus causes the disease, antibiotics cannot kill viruses. Therefore, antibiotics are a rare method in treating acute bronchitis.

Risk Factors in Acute Bronchitis

The people who constitute the most significant risk group in acute bronchitis are smokers. People who smoke are more likely to develop both acute and chronic bronchitis. Similarly, older people, infants, and children are more likely to develop acute bronchitis because resistance is low. Additionally, exposure to toxic gases or substances in the workplace or their environment is also a risk factor.

Finally, recurrent bouts of heartburn or reflux can irritate the throat, predisposing to the emergence of acute bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis alone is not usually a precursor to a more significant illness. But recurrent seizures can lead to conditions such as pneumonia or COPD. Therefore, getting support from a doctor is applicable even in the slightest case of acute bronchitis. On the other hand, there are some precautions you can take in your life to prevent acute bronchitis. These measures can be listed as follows:

  • Do not smoke and avoid being in smoking environments,
  • Get an annual flu shot and other doctor-recommended vaccines,
  • Wash your hands regularly to prevent viral infections,
  • Use a surgical mask in environments where exposure to dust or harmful substances is common

If you apply all the precautions above, your risk of catching acute bronchitis will decrease.

Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

Symptoms of acute bronchitis usually begin to appear soon after a cold. Usually, the first symptoms are a runny nose, sneezing, burning, and redness of the eyes. Subsequently, a dry and burning cough may occur. In some patients, the fever may rise to 38-39 degrees, while in others, there is no fever. Other symptoms that will appear with acute bronchitis are as follows:

  • A stabbing pain between the breastbone when coughing,
  • Vomiting,
  • Shortness of breath in elderly patients,
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite

Acute bronchitis is a typical seasonal illness. It can usually resolve within one week to 10 days without lasting effects. In cases where acute bronchitis lasts more than three weeks, doctor consultation is essential. Serious health problems may arise, especially for infants, children, the elderly, and cardiac disease patients.

Treatment of Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is a disease that can usually get better without treatment. However, patients can also apply medication, therapy, or lifestyle changes to speed up the treatment process. Antibiotics can be used, especially for bacterial infections. Other treatment methods used in the treatment of acute bronchitis are listed as follows:

  • Patients can use cough suppressants or a steam bath (inhalation/nebule) if coughing interferes with sleep.
  • If you have allergies, asthma, or COPD, doctors may recommend various medications to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
  • Patients can apply breathing exercises.
  • A few days of bed rest is recommended.
  • The patient should avoid the cold and choose humid environments.
  • Plenty of water should be consumed if there is dark and sticky sputum.
  • Antipyretic is an option for patients with a high fever.

Depending on the course of the disease, patients can use some of these treatment methods or all of them. Of course, the use of drugs, therapy methods, and lifestyle changes as recommended by the doctor.

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