What causes bronchitis?
Bronchitis is usually caused by infection with a virus (less commonly with a bacteria or fungus). Several viruses cause bronchitis, including influenza A and B, which we commonly call "the flu." A number of bacteria are known to cause
bronchitis, such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes so-called walking pneumonia. Bronchitis can also develop after exposure to chemicals or air pollution, including tobacco smoke.
Acute bronchitis generally follows a viral respiratory infection. Initially, it affects your nose, sinuses, and throat and then spreads to the large bronchial airway passages. Brief bouts of acute bronchitis often evolve from a severe cold. This disorder may also follow or accompany the flu, or it may begin without having had an infection. Acute bronchitis usually lasts about 10 days. Severe cases may also cause general malaise and chest pain.
Chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition of excessive mucus with a productive cough. This ongoing condition is inflammation but not infection. It blocks air flow in and out of the lungs. Chronic bronchitis is caused by inhaling bronchial irritants, especially cigarette smoke. Until recently, more men than women developed chronic bronchitis, but as the number of women who smoke has increased, so has their rate of chronic bronchitis. Because this disease progresses slowly, middle-aged and older people are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis, like emphysema, is also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As these lung conditions progress over time, you become increasingly short of breath, have difficulty walking or exerting yourself physically, and may need oxygen on a regular basis.
More information on bronchitis
What is bronchitis? - Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, or bronchi, that bring air into the lungs. Chronic bronchitis is a sign of serious lung disease.
What is acute bronchitis? - Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, but can also be caused by a bacterial infection and can heal without complications.
What is chronic bronchitis? - Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, the main air passages in the lungs, which persists for a long period or repeatedly recurs.
What causes bronchitis? - Bronchitis is usually caused by infection with a virus. Several viruses cause bronchitis, including influenza A and B.
What're the symptoms of bronchitis? - Symptoms of acute bronchitis usually begins with the symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and dry cough.
How is bronchitis diagnosed? - Diagnosis of bronchitis is based on observing the patient's symptoms and health history. Arterial blood gases should be monitored.
What's the treatment for bronchitis? - Conventional treatment for acute bronchitis may consist of simple measures such as getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, avoiding smoke and fumes.
How to prevent bronchitis? - Good hygiene can reduce the spread of viral infection. Immunizations against influenza and pertussis can reduce the risk for bacterial bronchitis.