Acute and chronic bronchitis : causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Bronchitis is the inflammation of bronchi in the lungs that causes coughing. It may be caused by some infections or other factors such as smoking. This disease was first known in 1808 in Britain by Charles Badham.

Types of bronchitis 

Bronchitis maybe

  • Short term
  • Long term

Short term bronchitis (Acute)

Acute bronchitis is the most common disease. This type of bronchitis generally has coughing that preceding about four weeks. It is inflammation of the bronchi of lungs.

About 5 % of adults are affected in a year. It is a viral infection. Through coughing this virus spread in air.

The risk factor consists of contact to smoking  and chemicals.

Symptoms of bronchitis

  • Low fever
  • Rattling feeling in the chest
  • Tired all time
  • Wheezing when you breath
  • Chills
  • Chest discomfort
  • Sore throat
  • Back and muscle aches
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Chest soreness
  • Heavy coughing

Emergency symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • A deep , barking cough
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A temperature of 100.4 C
  • Longer cough that last ten to eleven days

Causes of acute bronchitis

Viral infection

This is a pathological infection. These viruses are transferred from air when infected people cough or by undeviating contact. Viruses cause 90% of acute bronchitis in grown people. Acute bronchitis caused by the same virus which is reason of pneumonia and flu

Microbial infection

In some cases microbial bronchitis caused by microbes . These are resistant to antibiotics.

Source of annoyance

A substance such as living in smoke, contamination , or chemical fumes are motive of inflammation in trachea .

They are reasons of acute bronchitis.

Risk factors :

The factors which cause this disease are;

  • Living in cigarette smoke , also including us of some other’s used cigarette
  • Low resistance to illness
  • Weekend immune system
  • Contact to irritants which include powder and chemical hazes
  • Deficiency of vaccination for cold , pneumonia

Acute bronchitis in Youngsters

Children have more chance to get this disease than adults because of risk factors that affect them. These include;


  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Inhaled debris like dust
  • Exposure to viruses in a location like parks , school and play grounds

Signs and management in Children:

The indication of acute bronchitis in children is same as in adults. Therefore treatment is same as those in adults.A lot of clear fluid is eaten by the youngster and acquire lost of bedstead rest. And contact with doctor in severe cases.

A younger child about 6 years should not be given OTC without the approval of doctor . Also evade from cough medication.

Diagnosis acute bronchitis

In many of cases this disease will recover without any treatment. For checking the symptoms of disease doctor listen the voice of lungs like wheezing.

Diagnosis of acute bronchitis

It is tough to differentiate the symptoms and signs of bronchitis and cold during the first some days of illness. Doctor use stethoscope to listen the lungs carefully. Usually no blood

tests are necessary.

In some cases doctor suggest following test

  • Medical history 

Doctor will observe u and listen and then note the signs and also observe how much much the disease severe then doctor do some tests for further treatmet.

  • Chest X Ray

It will help to fix if having pneumonia or other disorder that may verify your cough.

  • Mucus tests 

Mucus is the liquid like that you coughed from respiratory track.

It is used to see that  if you have sickness which  should cooperative by medicines .

Mucus can be tested for signs of allergy.

  • Pneumonic test 

In this test, Spirometer is an instrument that is used for this purpose. Spirometer processes the inhalation and exhalation process of your lungs , means that how far air in lungs holds and how rapidly air goes out of lungs .

  • Oxygen saturation 

 Oxygen saturation tells about how much oxygen extended in blood cells.

By placing thumb on sensor it is noted. This is stated to as rhythm oximetry .

  • Phlegm sample 

For the testing of virus and bacteria this test is conducted.

But this test is performed in some conditions , not for all .

  • Spirometry test 

This test is performed for lungs , which have severe bronchitis.

It is used for the confirmation of respiratory disease asthma .

  • Acute bronchitis is infectious

This disease is infectious. It is spread by  infection that spread from humans to humans

This disease can blowout through mucus dews from coughing, sneezing, and by talking to an infectious person.

The treatment used for acute bronchitis

Home Tips

Some steps should help to alleviate symptom;

  • Take OTC nonsteroidal drugs. These medicines relax the pain in the throat
  • Drink sufficiently o liquids such as tea and water to reedy out liquid.
  • Ginger should be added to tea or hot water for drinking or eating purpose.It can smooth the infected and cause inflamed soreness in bronchial tubes
  • Eat nectar to pacify wheezing . Nectar Honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties .


As bronchitis is caused by viral infection therefore in some cases antibiotics are not effective . However in case of bacterial infection , doctor prescribes an antibiotic.

In most of cases doctor recommended the medication which includes;

  • Cough medicine

If cough disturb your sleeping cycle, then take cough suppressant at sleeping time .

  • Further prescriptions

Doctor recommends an inhaler and other medication if you have aversion and lung infection.

It lessens irritation and open contracted path in lungs.


The necessary prevention of this disease is evading irritants of and also for treatment.

If the patient is smoking then quit its smoking.

Wear a mash over mouth .it will help to avoid dust from surrounding. It will also help to protect lungs.

There are some other ways which are helpful in prevention of bronchitis.

  • Hand washing. It will lessen the impact of viruses and bacteria
  • It is necessary every year to get shoots of flu. It is effective
  • At the age of sixty years if get pneumonia shot then recommend to doctor
  • Avoid sharing utensils or glasses
  • Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke.
  • Mouth, nose, or eyes don’t be touched if infected peoples present around you.
  • Make sure that you are getting enough sleep
  • Eat a moderate quantity of food. It will help to keep the body normal and also healthy

Long term bronchitis ( Chronic ) 

It defined as a prolific cough that’s last for four  months or more per year for at least three or four years.

 This disease happens collected by lower airflow this condition is called chronic obstructive disease (COPD) . Many people with this type off disease have COPD but many persons with COPD don’t have the chronic bronchitis. The percentage of persons having COPD with chronic bronchitis are 7 to 40 %. 60% are people with COPD who smoke and have chronic bronchitis.

Chronic bronchitis cause respiratory disease, which cause over production of mucus and mucin. In response to long term irritation the goblet cells and submucosal glands produce mucus. Submucosa gland produce more mucus than goblet cells .

The mucin thicken the mucus and in chronic bronchitis its concentration is high. The more amount of mucus blocks the airways which result in a narrowing of tubes . This cause shorten the passage of air and which decline the function of respiratory system  with result in Long term bronchitis .

Due to more slippery liquid it cause more chronic productive cough .The increased secretion caused by cough .The wheezing  is poorer immediately  after awaking, and the colour of liquid produced is of dark greenish and yellow . It is mark by  fragments of vital fluid .

At initial stages cough cough preserve mucus clearance . Mucus clearance is impaired with continued excessive secretion and when the passage of air become airless  a wheezing become unproductive. Operative mucoadhesive  hinge in moisturising the passage of air and rate of emission of protein.Some of these factor are  decreased in long term  bronchitis. It is a  cause of the difficult amount of exacerbation and a speedy  failure the the system of respiratory organ. .

Symptoms Long term bronchitis

Some symptoms of bronchitis include;

  • Shortness of breath ( dyspnea )
  • Wheezing
  • Cough that lasts days to three months. Coughing may throbbing and can causing sore in trunk and gut muscles .
  • Sputum production (mucus)  is most common symptoms .It is  milky , yellow  or olive in colour .

Causes Long term bronchitis

In many cases this disease is triggered by tobacco smoking . CCOPD is developed in these people who do smoking and also have bronchitis. It is noted a link  between smokers flesh-eaters and long term bronchitis.

The causes of long term bronchitis are;

  • Smoking is leading cause of bronchitis
  • Gasping infuriating hazes are reason of chronic bronchitis.

Chemical thinners have been related to fading chronic bronchitis.

  • Bacteria such as Mycoplasma pneumonia which cause so called mobile pneumonia
  • Viruses such as influenza A and B frequently deliberated to as flu
  • This virus is transferred from air when infected person coughing or wheezing . Through coughing small drops of droplets came in air surrounding and these virus can survive up to 23 hours . This virus which present in surrounding land on some surface ,any one who touch these things get this virus and get infection .  The infected man who coughed spread the mucus . These droplets can spread about 4 feet.
  • In some cases the individuals touch some other objects which are not cleaned and in some trace amount viruses are present on them . From touching , the man get these viruses on hands and when bring hand near mouth or nose then viruses transfer.

Breathing in an irritant substance 

By breathing in Contaminated place like tobacco smoke , chemicals and smog which is the combination / product of fog and smoke . Passive smoking is also a cause of getting bronchitis . The man which smoke get bronchitis but the other man which never smoke but sitting near the man which smoking , both can affected by bronchitis .

Bronchitis also occur by the substance which can damage your lungs. Because bronchitis is a respiratory disease normally and mostly all respiratory disease are linked with lungs.

Risk factor

  • Weekend immune system
  • Repeated exposure to lungs irritants
  • Smoking
  • Advanced age
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD )
  • Air pollution
  • Dirt from hazards contacts in occupation like
  • Coal withdrawal
  • Textile business
  • Livestock husbandry
  • Grain handling
  • Metal beading

Bronchitis caused due to these is called developed bronchitis or industrial bronchitis.

Hereditary aspects play a minor part in it .

Air pollution is a cause of non communicable disease (NCDs) which include chronic bronchitis.

 Respiratory system is affected by air polluttion. It cause complex level of nitrogen oxide and sulfuredioxide . It can lead to indications of bronchitis.

Sulfure is reason of infection that is cause long term bronchitis and it made infection  probable .

Managing symptoms at home :

You have to do following things if you have bronchitis;

  • First of all take more rest
  • For protecting from dehydration, drink more liquid such as water or some syrups. This will help and smooth the throat .
  • Take normal medicines if you are getting fever and pain in head .
  • Cough medicines may not given to children’s under the age of 7 years .

As a exchanger honey mixed with lemon should be given to children

Is a need of doctor?

In most of the case bronchitis is cured easily at home but if the conditions are severe or not usual then u have to call doctor ;

  • If coughing is given more sound and severe which is longer than 4 weeks .
  • If sputum came in with blood on coughing . It is dangerous .
  • If you have continued fever for more than 4 days .
  • If you pain in chest such as ribs .
  • You are breathing more than to normal .
  • You become sleepy or in confusion
  • When you have continued spells of bronchitis


The viral and micro bacterial infection can be spread from one person to another . This transmission can be done by coughing . The droplets from infected person transfer to other person and this person get bronchitis. It will transfer through nostrils or by mouth way and also from passage ways .

To lesson the risk of transmission of infection , there are some measures which are taken . The first thing which is necessary is washing hand , the next thing is that don’t cough openly  and care those people which have week immune system .


The bronchitis which grounds degeneration in lung function may be preserved with ending smoking . A number of medications required to treated the chronic bronchitis. One of them is Oxygen therapy and Pulmonary rehabilitation

Oxygen therapy

It is also known as supplementary oxygen. It is used as treatment in hospitals.

The individuals suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ) , oxygen therapy is used . The bronchitis or emphysema which is caused by long term smoking. It require more oxygen demand to respiratory tract . The need more oxygen demand at day or night .

Oxygen is recommended for people which are at final stage of cardiac or respiratory failure .

Oxygen is the most collective treatment which is given in hospitals in the developed countries.

 Pulmonary rehabilitation 

It is also known as the respiratory rehabilitation. It is important part of health maintenance and management of people which have chronic bronchitis , in this the patient has continue to decreased function instead of standard medical treatment.

It is a broad therapeutic concept.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a series of services which are administered to patients of respiratory disease.  It is a attempt to improve the quality of kide for patient .


As per direction of your doctor medicine should used

Behavioral remedies 

  • There are some other things which can helpful for treating bronchitis which includes don’t use the things which can damage the lungs and respiratory system like smoking . Smoking damage your lungs and cause cancer.
  • Keep exercise daily . It will helpful to form and strong the chest muscles. It will helpful in breathing.
  • Try to better the breathing strategies by pulmonary rehabilitation.


Following steps should be taken which are helpful for preventing form chronic bronchitis .

  • Stop active and passive smoke( reason of bronchitis . It contains carcinogens which can cause cancer and damage the respiratory system .

Passive smoking is also a cause of bronchitis )

  • Evade contact to irritants. The appropriate safety in the workstation is important to checking exposure
  • Avoid long contact to air contamination from heavy traffic.
  • Spread of infection can be prevented by washing hands
  • Don’t touch people who have cold or flu

Is Chronic bronchitis Contagious?

There are two possibilities in the case of this type of bronchitis. If it develop as a response from airway annoyance  from some medium like doing smoking , exposure to dirt and fumes and some other toxic waste , then it will not contagious .

It will only contagious at that state if this disease spread into acute type of bronchitis.

Another condition is due to viral or micro bacterial infection. In this case , this type of bronchitis is contagious.


Pneumonia is the most familiar complications of bronchitis. If the infection of bronchitis is spread more and leads to damage the lungs  then it will result in pneumonia .

In case of pneumonia, the air sacs filled with the fluid which cause severe infection in lungs .

The people which smoke more and people with older age and which have weekend immune system has more chance to develop pneumonia.

The people which have more drastic effect of infection should be admitted to hospital .

Ruling out other conditions:

Pneumonia has signs similar to bronchitis. If you have bronchitis then it is necessary to check that you might not have pneumonia or some other lung disease .

For checking this chest x-ray is needed.  A small amount of mucus is needed for test .

Some other tests are done such as pulmonary function test .


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