There are two types of bronchitis, acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. This disease is occurring when the airways are getting inflammation. The different cause of this inflammation makes the type of bronchitis different as well. When it is caused by bacteria or virus, this is called acute bronchitis. However, a worse bronchitis condition, which is caused by the lungs are improperly functioned due to irritant pollutants such as smoking, leads to a chronic bronchitis. So what are the symptoms to recognize this disease?
Acute Bronchitis Symptoms
This is one of the main symptoms of bronchitis that can be recognized. However, coughing is not only the symptom of bronchitis, but this is also one of the symptoms of cold and flu, so it can’t be used to indicate whether or not you are suffering from bronchitis. Cough is a symptom of some different diseases since this is how your body reacts for balance when invader is trying to come into. This condition might last for several days or weeks.
- Swollen Lymphatic Glands
Since bronchitis is a condition when the inflammation occurs in the airways, there is actually a cause of why it happens, aside from the cold or flu. Your body will fight for virus when viral infections are attacking. This fighting action leads to inflammation in the airways and bacteria accumulation in the lymphatic glands as it filters the blood. As a result, the lymphatic glands are swollen caused by this condition.
During the bronchitis effect, your body is fighting with the infection. This is energy and nutrition-consuming because your body needs to use its nutrition, resulting in the fatigue feeling when the energy is draining. Moreover, the lungs are not functioned properly as the airways are infected and inflamed. The required oxygen isn’t well supplied to the body. The two important things, energy and oxygen, are not fully provided making your body weakened.
Fever is commonly related to flu and when people are getting fever, they tend to think they are having flu. Fever is indeed one of the symptoms of flu, but the fever in bronchitis is a slightly different kind. When you are having flu, the fever is quite in a high temperature, but with bronchitis the fever is not that high. So if your fever is so high, then you can assume it as a flu symptom, but surely you can’t just think that way since seeing your doctor and checking your condition is very important to do since severe bronchitis may lead to high temperature as well.
- Chest Pain
The airways are distracted partially, which means you need to work harder breathing in and out. The harder you work, the higher the pressure and straining in the chest, making it feels painful. This condition is even worse with the inflammation in the airways that influence the chest as well.
- Sputum Production
Your body can automatically make a guard from bacteria or virus by producing sputum. The mucus collected in your body is a strategy for putting the virus or bacteria together and remove it. The normal color of mucus in bronchitis is clear white or grey with greenish or yellowish color.
Along with the slight chill that your body feels, you may also experience headache just like when you are getting fever, cold or flu.
- Sore Throat
As you cough continuously, you may experience a sore throat. This is also caused by the bacteria and viruses coming into your body. If your bronchitis is caused by air pollution or smoking, this can be also one of the reasons why the sore throat exists.
- Runny Nose
When there is infection or irritation from viruses, flu or cold affects the nasal tissues, you can also experience runny nose with either thick or clear mucus, the one similar when you are having flu.
- Bluish Skin
During bronchitis your body is lacking of oxygen it needs. It is not only affecting the overall organs, but it also affects your skin, making it bluish caused by the not-fully-supplied oxygen.
- Body Aches
This is a common symptom happens when you are catching a cold and since bronchitis is also caused by viral infections, you may also experience body aches as it means that your body is trying to eliminate the infections. The aches are commonly experienced in the joints and muscles, which sometimes can lead to cramps.
- Stuffy Nose
This doesn’t always exist, but stuffy nose can happen during bronchitis as your body is producing excessive fluids making the blood vessels in the nasal area swollen and stuff your nose.
- Rapid Breathing
This is a rare symptom and mostly happens to elderly who are having bronchitis. When this exists, you should go check your condition before it gets worse.
Chronic Bronchitis Symptoms
- Severe Coughing
Coughing is surely a big symptom of bronchitis, both in acute and chronic type. However, in chronic bronchitis the cough can last more than three weeks. When it gets better, it can get worse. When it stops, it can start again in the same year. Be aware in such symptom to directly see your doctor.
- High Temperature
In acute bronchitis, the body temperature is just slightly higher as the body is fighting with infections. However, chronic bronchitis can lead to higher body temperature, which can make you feel discomfort.
Since there is inflammation in the airways, they become narrower and it results in difficulty of breathing. That is why when you breathe there is a high-pitch sound that may makes you scared and worried. It feels like you are having asthma, since this disease is also occurring caused by inflammation. With the airways are narrowing, you can’t breathe easily and it results in wheezing. This condition is usually accompanied with mucus coughing. These all symptoms are combined and make you feel really discomfort, so you may also lack of sleep at night since you have to deal with such irritating conditions.
- Shortness of Breath
With the airways are getting inflammation, the air that should flow smoothly is distracted, leading to the shortness of breath. You can’t breathe normally especially with the phlegm is accumulated making the air flow is even blocked. Mostly, this feeling of shortness of breath happens when your body is tired of doing something such as after exercising.
- Blood Tinted Mucus
The way your body producing mucus during bronchitis is normal is it tries to take the bacteria and virus away. However, when the color is not normal, which means you might find a tint of blood in it; you must immediately see the doctor since you may experience chronic bronchitis that should be properly treated.
- Chest Infection
When bronchitis is getting worse, the viruses inside the body may also affect the chest, making it having infection. This condition can lead to the feeling of tightness or breathlessness that makes you feel like gasping for air. Coughing with phlegm and wheezing are also the outcomes of the chest infection along with the chest pain that makes you even feeling more discomfort.
Symptoms of Bronchitis in Kids and Babies
Bronchitis can also happen to children when they are experiencing flu or cold. The virus infections from cold can affect the bronchitis and leads your kids to experience this airways inflammation disease. Here are some symptoms to be aware of.
- Slight Fever
Just like what happen in acute bronchitis for adults, kids also experience a slight fever when their bodies’ temperature is lifted slightly around 100 up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the fever may be higher if the bronchitis is more severe.
Coughing in children with bronchitis is slightly different from adults. Children tent to have dry coughing at first and it continues with phlegm afterwards. The color of the mucus is normally greenish or yellowish. If the cough is becoming more persistent than before, go visit the doctor to find medical helps.
- Sore Throat
The viral infections that cause bronchitis affect the throat as well and your kids may also experience sore throat that makes them feel discomfort.
- Difficulty Breathing
Infants can also experience difficulty breathing during bronchitis as the respiratory tract is infected. In some cases, the breathing can even faster and shallower, which should be treated medically.
- Loss of Appetite
It is very common to babies and children, when they are sick they will lose their appetite. Especially when there is sore throat, cough, phlegm and slight fever, it increases the loss of appetite feeling.
Kids and babies can’t say whether or not they are dehydrated, but parents can see this condition through some symptoms such as dry skin. When the babies’ skin dry and cool, it could be an indication that they are experiencing dehydration. The diapers are also dry even after six hours of wearing it. Another sign is the lacking tears when they cry.
- Refuse Feeding
Since the appetite is loss, babies tend to refuse feeding, both breast and bottle-feeding. They don’t have the appetite for being fed as they feel so sick and discomfort. Since the babies are not feeding and eating well, they will also not pee as much as they did before, resulting in lacking wet diapers.
- Unusual Inactivity
Most kids and babies are active and when they are sick, they will become automatically inactive. However if the inactivity is rare and unusual, when they are not used to do that, you need to check their conditions especially when it is followed with some symptoms above. Not only inactivity, kids will also experience unusual irritability during bronchitis as they find their bodies are not feeling really well.
- Rapid Heartbeat
This is a severe symptom that parents must pay to attention. This doesn’t happen to all kids, but this symptom might be a sign of a severe bronchitis.
- Difficulty of Sleeping
Imagine when kids or babies are having fever, persistent cough and difficulty breathing. There is no reason for them to sleep well under those irritating conditions.
This is a sinking condition when the kids are inhaling. The sinking areas are in the neck, between and below the ribs.
The phlegm coughing can lead to vomiting in kids. This condition mostly happens after the kids coughing as the phlegm might stimulate them to vomit.
Many symptoms above can make children feel fatigue, weak and tired even if they do nothing. This is the same condition happen to adults when they experience the same symptoms.
- Virus Infections
This is the main cause of bronchitis and it leads to acute bronchitis type. The causing-bronchitis viruses are actually the same as those cause flu and cold. These viruses can spread since the people having flu or cold are commonly sneezing or coughing. When they do that, millions of droplets contained are spreading too many areas in 1m in front of the people, which when you touch those areas you can also get infected by the viruses. Whether you breathe the virus or touch your mouth or nose after touching the infected-virus items, they both can cause virus Infections.
- Irritant Substances
Severe or chronic bronchitis is mostly caused by smoking, as it is one of irritant substances leading to the disease. Not only the smokers, but also those inhaling second-hand smoke have a risk of experiencing bronchitis. The irritant substances that can danger your airways are not just cigarette smoke, but there are also some other toxic substances such as household products chemicals. You need to stop smoking to help you get away from bronchitis as smoking makes your lungs sick and not functioned properly.
- Material Exposure
The materials include Strong acids, fabric fibers, chlorine, and ammonia and grain dust. However this kind of bronchitis can be treated simply by stepping away from those materials.
- Symptoms Management
Before heading to your doctor, you need to manage the bronchitis symptoms yourself at home by drinking lots of water and getting rest. Since bronchitis can lead to dehydration, drinking is one of the best ways to treat it. By drinking lots of water you can make the mucus thinning and coughing up will be easier as well.
- Taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen
In many cases bronchitis can lead to headache, so you may need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relive the aches. However if you are having asthma shouldn’t take ibuprofen. This is also not recommended since headache is not the common symptom of bronchitis, so you can get a more natural medicine instead.
- Consuming Honey and Lemon
This is a homemade remedy for soothing cough and sore throat that you can try instead of taking over-the-counter medicines. So if you are worried with such medicines, you can simply use this natural remedy.
- Stop Smoking
Smoking is one of the causes of chronic bronchitis. So it is highly suggested that you stop smoking to prevent your bronchitis worse. By stop smoking, you can also reduce the risk of chronic bronchitis and live healthier.
This treatment must be prescribed by your doctor. Antibiotics are actually not a treatment for bronchitis considering that this disease is caused by viruses. However, antibiotics are usually prescribed if bronchitis can potentially cause pneumonia.
Here are some good things to do to keep you away from bronchitis.
- Washing Hands Frequently
Frequently washing your hands is very important as your hands transfer viruses and bacteria. You can’t guarantee that your hands still clean after touching something especially if you have family members or friends having flu or cold.
- Avoiding Smoking
If you don’t smoke, keep doing that. If you already do that, then stop. This is the main cause of chronic bronchitis as smoking damage your lungs. Those who want to be healthy shouldn’t smoke since it provides many bad impacts towards your health. Not only avoid smoking, you should also avoid the smoke. So if you don’t smoke, but the people around you do, then you need to avoid them.
- Getting Vaccinated
Since virus infection is one of the causes of bronchitis, you need to get vaccinated to strengthen your defense from virus. Vaccine can be used for protecting your health from flu and pneumonia, which is also great for keeping bronchitis away.
- Avoiding Lung Irritants
Smoke is not the only thing that can make your lungs irritated. Some chemicals found in paint, fumes, dust and air pollution are also hazardous. If you smell string fumes that indicate certain hazardous substances, wear your mask for protection.
Actually bronchitis can’t be prevented. What you can do is only to lower the risk. So by doing some things above, you can at least eliminate the high risk of experiencing bronchitis. Also, the symptoms of bronchitis from one person with another can be different depending on the severity. Some symptoms have been explained above are also possible to indicate other illnesses. That is why you shouldn’t claim that you are suffering from bronchitis unless you have checked it with your doctor.