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Bacterial bronchitis: 8 Causes, 7 Symptoms, Diagnosis, 10 Treatments

Cold, running nose, mild temperature, Flu, these are all temporary problems. You will get relief within a week or 15 days time.

However, Flu/Cold like situations remains longer than their usual at times. You may feel chest pain, or you may throw up mucus on coughing.  This may be an indication of Bacterial Bronchitis.

What is Bacterial Bronchitis?

bacterial bronchitis
Bacterial bronchitis
Image source: bt.com

Bronchioles are essential air passages that carry air from your nose or mouth to the lungs.  Blockages in this part of the Respiratory system may lead to severe breathing problems.

When microbes attack the body, the antibodies in our body fight these germs.  Mucus production Increases and clogs the Bronchioles and leave very less room air to move in and out.

Bronchitis occurs when these airways are blocked or inflamed due to the presence of high levels of mucus.  Hence, you may experience severe coughing and sometimes, chest pain.

Is Bronchitis Viral or Bacterial:

Read on to know the answer to this question. Bronchitis is again of two types:

Acute Bronchitis:

This type of Bronchitis is common, and the symptoms remain for few weeks.  The symptoms may not appear after that period.  Acute Bronchitis occurs most commonly due to a viral infection. It creates great inconvenience. But, it usually disappears, the way it came, without any fuss.

Chronic Bronchitis:

Chronic Bronchitis is more severe and may lead to Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD).  This condition is caused by Bacterial infection.  Chronic Bronchitis is a long-term phenomenon, and it is ubiquitous in people who smoke.

Bacterial Bronchitis is chronic, and it is always advisable to see the doctor at the earliest.

What Bacteria causes Bronchitis:

There are many varieties or strains of Bacteria that cause Bronchitis.  Some of the common ones are Moraxella catarrhalis, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Bordetella pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae,

8 Causes of Bacterial Bronchitis:

The reasons for Bacterial Bronchitis is any:

Weak immune systems:

Immune systems are usually vulnerable, especially in young kids and older individuals.  Studies show that Bronchitis is very common among children between six months and two years.  This could turn severe and may require hospitalisation, especially in the winter season.

People taking treatment for other diseases also have weak immune systems and are prone to Bacterial Bronchitis

Smoking:

Smoke irritates the lungs.  When inhaled by a smoker or a non-smoker, the antibodies of our immune system start producing mucus in excess causing Bronchitis.

This is one of the biggest reasons for Bacterial Bronchitis.

Working in coal mines or  working with farm animals

People working in coal mines are exposed continuously to suspended particles.  These particles cause chronic bronchitis as they get into the airways blocking free entry of air to and fro the lungs.

People working with farm animals face similar problems; this is because they are regularly exposed to pet dander and suspended moles and mites in the air around the farm.

Air pollution:

Air pollution has become the number one cause of most respiratory problems today.  This problem is severe if you are living in a city where smoke, dust particles, dust particles and smog are ever present in the air.

Factories and establishments pollute the air by releasing fumes of strong acids, ammonia, chlorine, bromine, organic solvents and sulphur dioxide.  These fumes cause severe damage to the lungs and may lead to Bacterial Bronchitis.

Primary Viral Infection:

Say, you are already suffering from a viral infection In the Trachea, Bronchi or Bronchioles.  This is an excellent opportunity for Bacteria to make easy inroads into the respiratory system causing Bacterial Bronchitis.

Dietary Deficiency:

Sometimes Dietary Deficiency can also cause this type of Bacterial Bronchitis.  Deficiency of Vitamin D3 can be one of the causes for the occurrence of COPD and other respiratory diseases like Asthma.

Some studies show that lack of Vitamin B12 causes nervous dysfunction problems.  This may lead to an incessant cough.

An incessant cough could also indicate respiratory problems like Bronchitis. It has been seen that prescription of B12 supplements has been successful to a certain extent in suppressing these respiratory problems.

 Allergies:

People with Allergies have higher chances of getting Bacterial Bronchitis. The connection between the two may not be direct.

The allergens like moles, mites, pet dander, pollen and dust damage the immune system.  Our body defences turn produces mucus to combat them.  The mucus is produced in excess clogging airways and causing severe Bronchitis.

Winter Season:

Winter season is the worst season for people with respiratory problems.  The nip in the air causes it to become dry.  Our nose is unable to warm the air for breathing, and thus various illnesses like sinusitis and Bronchitis are bound to follow.

Avoiding Vaccinations:

A vaccination for Bacterial Bronchitis is yet to be found.  But some vaccinations treat other respiratory illnesses.

If these illnesses are not decreased, the body becomes less immune allowing Bacteria to enter the body and cause Bacterial Bronchitis easily.

7 Symptoms of Bacterial Bronchitis:

Here is a list of Bacterial Bronchitis symptoms.  You may conclude that you are suffering from this problem if you have any of these:

  1. Cough vomiting mucous
  2. Chest congestion  feels full
  3. Breathing problems
  4. A sore throat
  5. Fever
  6. Chest congestion
  7. Running nose

How is Bacterial Bronchitis diagnosed and treated?

It is time to see a physician when:

  • When Coughing brings forth blood with mucus
  • If you encounter speaking difficulties
  • A cough produces dark or thick mucous
  • If the symptoms of Bronchitis last more than 15 days
  • When you get a foul taste in your mouth – a Reflux from your stomach
  • High Fever is experienced
  • When you experience abnormal Weight loss

The Doctor carries out the diagnosis to conclude you have Bacterial Bronchitis through the following methods:

Physical examination by a doctor:

The Doctors first physically examine the patient.  They will check your temperature and check lungs and heartbeat through the stethoscope.  They will check if there is any wheezing for indication of pneumonia.  They will inquire about the symptoms you are experiencing at present.

Breathe test with Spirometer:

The Lung function test is also called Pulmonary Function test.  Doctors conduct this test using an instrument called a Spirometer.

You breathe into the instrument. This instrument can measure how much air you can hold in your lungs and how fast you breathe out that air.

The indicator levels in the system will help the doctor decide what problem you are having.

X-Ray:

Doctors take an X-Ray to determine if the problem is due to Bronchitis or any other disease

Checking oxygen levels in the blood

Oxygen levels in the blood are tested using a sensor that travels from your to or finger.

Mucus test:

Mucus test is usually taken by the Doctor to rule out other diseases caused by Bacteria.  For this, you will have to provide a nasal swab for analysis.

Some Bacterial Bronchitis Treatment Procedures:

If the doctor diagnoses that you have Bacterial Bronchitis, he may suggest the following treatment

Medication:
Prescription of antibiotics:

The doctor will prescribe the corresponding antibiotics like Amoxicillin and Clavulanate depending on the intensity of your problem.

Cough Suppressants:

The doctor would additionally prescribe Cough suppressants to that you can sleep well at night.

Inhalers:

He would also prescribe inhalers or bronchodilators to unclog air passages and reduce inflammation in the bronchioles.

OTC medicines:

If the infection is little, then you can take OTC medicines like Ibuprofen, naproxen and Acetaminophen after conferring your doctors.

Doctors usually prescribe minor does of Aspirin for Children to overcome Bronchitis. A paediatrician is well-equipped to handle children. And it better you consult them in case your child has this problem.

Therapies:

The doctor may sometimes advise, therapy for easy breathing.  A Respiratory therapist can help you in pulmonary rehabilitation during the onset of health issues like Bacterial Bronchitis. Oxygen Therapy is another therapy that can ease your blocked airways.

Life Style remedies:

There are some self-care measures you can along with Doctor’s prescription:

Drink water:

Water helps in diluting the mucus as well as clearing wastes quickly from the body. So ensure you drink at least 12 glasses of water day even during normal times.

Steam procedures:

Steam therapy dilutes the mucus to a great extent.  Taking a hot bath or using a humidifier can help free your nasal passages by thinning the mucus and making way for air to move freely. It is also vital that you clean the Humidifiers before using it again.

Rest:

Our Body needs some Rest every day.  When you are unwell, it is better to take a rest for longer durations.  When you rest most of your body functions slow down, and you require less oxygen for burning. So your breathing will always be relaxed when your rest.

Prevention is better than cure!

Ultimately prevention is better than cure.  To prevent Bacterial Bronchitis, you have to follow few health and sanitation procedures.

  • Clean your hands often
  • Keep surroundings cleaned by vacuuming or any other means.
  • Avoid smoking and smokers!
  • Get necessary Vaccinations on time
  • Wearing a mask when you go to a polluted area or you are involved in activities where substances in the air irritate the throat.
Reference articles:
  1. https://www.epainassist.com/chest-pain/lungs/chest-pain-caused-by-bacterial-bronchitis
  2. https://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-bronchitis-basics
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2278319/
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8888.php
  5. Apollo hospitals

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