Airway irritation that results in inflammation and coughing can be attributed to asthma or bronchitis. They both have similar symptoms; however, the source of the problem is not the same. Treatment for the condition depends on a proper diagnosis.
Acute bronchitis presents with general malaise, a cough that produces mucus, chills, headache and tightness or soreness in the chest. People with asthma may also have acute bronchitis. Asthma causes the airways to become narrow. When bronchitis is also present, mucus adds to the problem because it can clog breathing passages.
Acute bronchitis does not last as long. It is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Thick mucus forms inside the swollen passages, and this causes breathing difficulty. Since acute bronchitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not cure the problem. The symptoms will subside once the virus runs its course. Over-the-counter medicines can help loosen the mucus and break it up.
Chronic bronchitis lasts a long time and can be reoccurring. Smokers often have this condition due to lung irritation caused by the smoke. Treatment for chronic bronchitis may include a program of breathing exercises. A respiratory therapist instructs you on how to breathe easier. Pulmonary rehabilitation benefits many patients with chronic bronchitis.
Self-Care for Chronic Bronchitis
If you have chronic bronchitis, there are some steps you can take to ease the condition. Lung irritants can bring on your symptoms. If you are a smoker, quitting will help. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth will help filter the air you breathe when you are in a polluted area, or if you are around strong fumes, paint or household cleaners with strong odors.
A humidifier may help by adding moisture to the air. Coughing is relieved when you breathe in warm, moist air. It is important to keep your humidifier clean as instructed by the manufacturer; otherwise, fungi and bacteria could grow in the water chamber, worsening your condition.
An accurate diagnosis for your breathing problem is necessary for you to receive the proper treatment. If you have breathing problems, make an appointment with Dr. Michael for an examination. Treatment will provide relief and have you breathing easy again.