The bronchial tubes carry the air we breathe in through the nose to the lungs, in bronchitis the bronchial tubes become inflamed or swollen, thus narrowing the tiny airways in the lungs. this results in coughing spells that may be accompanied by breathlessness & phlegm.
The most common cause of bronchitis is a viral or bacterial infection. Other causes may be irritants like tobacco smoke, air pollution, or chemicals. Often bronchitis develops from a cold.
The symptoms of bronchitis are cough, production of mucus/sputum ( white, yellowish or green in color), fatigue, shortness of breath, slight fever with chills, and chest accompanied by high fever and produces discoloured mucus/blood.
Tips to reduce the risk of bronchitis
• Avoid smoking; stay away from places where others smoke. Cigarette smoke increases the risk of bronchitis.
• Exercise regularly to improve the overall strength of your respiratory muscles.
• Wash your hands regularly to avoid viral infections.
• Wear a mask when going to a crowded area.
• Cover your face when outside. Cold air aggravates the cough and causes shortness of breath; a face mask would help.
• Use hot water steam to ease breathing and help loosen the mucus. Inhale medicines to open the airways if you have wheezing.
• Do not suppress a cough, always clear up the mucus and remove irritants from the lungs.
• Keep your surroundings dust-free; use a damp cloth to remove dust from the house. This will prevent dust from spreading.
• Consult the doctor about vaccinations, especially for people 60 years of age and older. Many cases of bronchitis result from influenza, a virus. Getting a yearly flu vaccine can help protect you from the flu.