five symptoms of bronchitis to be aware of

Bronchitis is inflammation of one or several bronchi. The bronchi are the respiratory passages that connect the trachea to the lungs. Bronchitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria that cause symptoms such as coughing up phlegm, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Bronchitis can happen to anyone and can be a very annoying disease, it can even cause severe shortness of breath. If the condition worsens and is not treated immediately, this condition can cause pneumonia which is often characterized by shortness of breath, fever, chest pain, etc.

What causes bronchitis?

Broadly speaking, bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi which causes narrowing of the airways accompanied by mucus production. The buildup of mucus in these tracts is a form of immune response or the body's immunity to the causes of bronchitis which can close and block the respiratory tract. This causes coughing and shortness of breath in an effort to expel the accumulated mucus. In general, there are two types of bronchitis that are often encountered, namely:

  • Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is usually caused by an infection that attacks the bronchi. This infection can be caused by a virus that usually causes upper respiratory tract infections. If the infection spreads to the bronchi, acute bronchitis occurs. In general, acute bronchitis can last for 10-14 days, but cough complaints can last up to 3 weeks. Acute bronchitis is more at risk of attacking children, but it does not rule out that it can also happen to anyone.

  • Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis occurs due to inflammation of the bronchi in a long time. This can be caused by exposure to cigarette smoke or other chemical compounds. Generally, this type of chronic bronchitis occurs for 3 months or occurs several times within 2 years. Chronic bronchitis belongs to the group of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic bronchitis is more at risk of attacking adults aged 40 years and over.

What are the signs of someone with bronchitis?

There are several symptoms that can indicate the characteristics of someone suffering from bronchitis, including:

  1. Cough
    The cough experienced by sufferers of bronchitis can be in the form of a dry cough or phlegm / mucus. If the cough you are experiencing is a cough with phlegm, usually the color of the mucus that comes out can be clear, white, yellow, or green.
  2. Fever and chills
    The occurrence of fever differs from one individual to another. Some people don't have a fever at all, some people only have a mild fever, but some people have a high fever. In some people the fever that occurs can also be accompanied by chills.
  3. Sore throat
    Coughing that occurs in response to phlegm discharge can occur continuously to cause pain in the throat.
  4. Pain when coughing
    Bronchitis sufferers will usually cough with frequent frequency to expel phlegm. This can cause pain that is felt in the chest and cause discomfort every time you cough.
  5. Fatigue and body aches
    In general, people with bronchitis will feel tired when doing activities and feel pain that spreads throughout the body.

How to treat bronchitis?

The treatment for bronchitis varies depending on the severity of the existing inflammation. Acute bronchitis usually clears up without treatment and has no lasting effects, except in some individuals whose airways are already damaged. If the inflammation causes symptoms that are relatively mild, it can usually get better on its own within a few weeks or you can also be given fever and cough relievers to reduce complaints. In conditions of bronchitis with inflammation that is quite severe, patients are advised to take drugs such as antibiotics, drugs to reduce inflammation, and drugs to widen the airways.

If you feel the symptoms of bronchitis as described above, then you should immediately consult a specialist to get treatment as early as possible.

Article written by dr. Hario Baskoro, Sp.P, Ph.D (Lung & Respiratory Specialist at EMC Pulomas Hospital).