Bronchitis is a viral infection of the bronchi. It causes swelling and production of excessive mucus than usual. The infection usually causes the patient to cough and in most cases experience pain in the throat and the upper chest. The disease can occur after an individual has infections such as flu, measles, whooping cough, and cold. There are two types of bronchitis, which are, acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. The acute bronchitis is common among children and infants while chronic bronchitis is associated with people above 45 years (Oymar, Skjerven, & Mikalsen, 2017). Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke are at a higher risk of getting the disease. The tobacco chemical irritates the nose, eyes, and breathing system. The infection can be diagnosed through a chest X-ray, sputum tests, and pulmonary function tests.
Acute bronchitis may result to chronic bronchitis if not well-managed and treated in the initial stages. Additionally, in some cases, the disease may result in the deaths of the infected. An infant or a child who has bronchitis may have a runny nose, fever, sore throat and eventually develop a cough. The cough is dry at first but becomes moist after some days. A child suffering from bronchitis may have shortness of breath and sometimes may breathe with a wheezing sound. If the disease is well managed among children, they take 5 to 10 days to recover (Chkhaidze & Zirakishvili, 2017). Some children may keep getting bronchitis attacks due to allergies or smoking effects, or other lung complications.
Bronchitis is classified under the Chronic Obstructive Disease (COPD). The persons who have been diagnosed with the condition in 2016 were about 9.3 million, which represents a 3.8 percentage of the whole population (Chkhaidze & Zirakishvili, 2017). With proper care, the disease is not easily transmitted and it mostly affects people with weak immune system and children/infants. If the condition is well managed, there are low chances of deaths. The mortality rate in 2016, resulting from bronchitis reached about 563 individuals (Chkhaidze & Zirakishvili, 2017). Thus, it is clear that the infection rates as not very high.
Bronchitis is common, and there are millions of cases reported each year. Young children, the elderly, and infants are at a higher risk for bronchitis. However, the condition may affect people of all ages who are likely to develop chronic bronchitis, although it is common in individuals who are above 45 years. Individuals who smoke have a higher chance of being diagnosed with the disease. Worth noting is that women have a higher prevalence of getting chronic bronchitis as compared to men. Smoking and having a lung infection are some of the leading factors that increase the chances for bronchitis. Fumes, dust, and vapors emanating from certain industries usually raise the probability of getting chronic bronchitis (Mejza, Gnatiuc, Buist, Vollmer, Lamprecht, Oberseki, & Burney, 2017). In addition, allergies, pollution, and breathing system infections are likely to worsen the condition, especially if an individual is a smoker.
The incidences of the condition usually vary with age, as the acute bronchitis is mostly associated with children and infants. Bronchitis amongst the infants is regarded as one of the medical emergencies. The infection is as a result of dust, smoke or any other existing lung infection. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is mostly associated with adults, especially if they smoke or live with a person who smokes (Mejza et al., 2017). In addition, the working places, particularly those who work in mines and chemical industries are likely to suffer from the condition.
Bronchitis is a viral disease, which cannot be cured completely. However, the main goal is to manage the symptoms in order to improve the patient’s breathing. In some cases, especially in acute bronchitis, the physician may recommend a high intake of fluids and prescriptions that manage fever. However, the doctor may not prescribe antibiotics since the condition is mostly caused by viral infection. In other cases, particularly in children and infants, a humidifier may be administered to help in loosening the mucus and relieve limited flow of air and wheezing. In instances where the bronchitis infection causes wheezing, one may need to inhale medicine that should open up the breathing system. The medicine should be taken or administered using an inhaler so that it goes directly to the lungs. Additionally, if the cough persists, the doctor is likely to prescribe medicines to treat the irritated airways (Chkhaidze & Zirakishvili, 2017). The medicines used in inhaling helps in clearing the excessive mucus thus making breathing easier. If a person is diagnosed with serious chronic bronchitis, the doctor may recommend oxygen therapy that helps in making breathing easier thus providing the body with the required oxygen. The best treatment practice of bronchitis is to remove the irritation and its source. Smokers are highly advised to quit smoking if they are suffering from the condition.
Chronic or acute bronchitis cannot always be prevented. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid conditions and practices, which might be the risk factors. Therefore, if a person does not smoke, he/she should avoid the practice since it increases chances of getting bronchitis and other infections. Additionally, it is vital to avoid irritants, including dust, fumes, vapors, smoke, and polluted air. To protect the lungs and the breathing system, it is important to wear a mask that covers the nose and the mouth in order to avoid inhaling the polluted air. It is also advisable to wash hands often to avoid exposure to bacteria and other germs (Mejza et al., 2017). Lastly, the doctor may advise people to get a yearly pneumonia and flu vaccine.