Bronchitis is an infection that affects the main airways present in the lungs. This makes the airways inflamed and irritated. The infection usually starts with a cough which brings up a lot of yellow colored mucus and it could be coupled with a sore throat or wheezing.
The airways to the lungs, called the bronchi, branch off on either side of the windpipe. They produced small amounts of mucus to trap dust or other particles. When they get infected, an extra amount of mucus is produced and the body tries to get rid of it by coughing it out.
Who Is Affected By Bronchitis?
Bronchitis can affect anyone. The acute form of this infection is often experienced in children who are below the age of five. The most common season for this infection is the winter and it usually pops up along with a cold or the flu. Chronic bronchitis is more commonly seen in people who are above the age of 50. The most common cause of the chronic form of infection is smoking.
Treating The Symptoms At Home
Acute bronchitis usually lasts for a couple of weeks and then starts to clear up on its own. You just need to wait out this period and take it easy. Ensure that you stay well hydrated and get a lot of rest. Those who show symptoms of this illness for a longer of period of time (extending two months), may be suffering from chronic bronchitis. Even though there is no cure for this problem, there are a few medicines that a doctor will give you to help you relieve the discomfort. Those suffering from this illness should avoid going to smoky environments and being around people who smoke because it can worsen the condition.
When You Should Go To The Doctor
Bronchitis can often be treated at home with a little rest and relaxation. But there are a few circumstances under which you should consider visiting a doctor. If you have any of the following symptoms, get yourself checked just to be on the safe side:
• You have a constant fever that is 100.4°F or above for a period longer than three days
• If your cough is very severe and it lasts more than three weeks
• If you start to cough up mucus that has streaks of blood in it
• If you already have asthma, had heart failure or any other kind of lung or heart condition
In these cases, your doctor will check to see if you have pneumonia or some other undiagnosed condition. You may be asked to take a chest x-ray or give a sample of your mucus for the purposes of testing it. A spirometer is also used in some cases to check the volume of air that is present in your lungs.