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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bronchitis

Since I haven’t covered too many lung-related topics, I thought I’d share some information I found from the NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the main air passages (bronchi) to your lungs. It causes a cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Coughing often brings up yellow or greenish mucus. There are two main types of bronchitis: acute and chronic.

Acute bronchitis is often caused by the same viruses that cause colds. It usually starts as a sore throat, runny nose or sinus infection, then spreads to your airways. It can cause a lingering dry cough, but it usually goes away on its own.

Chronic bronchitis is one type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The inflamed bronchi produce a lot of mucus. This leads to cough and difficulty getting air in and out of the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause. Breathing in other fumes and dusts over a long period of time may also cause chronic bronchitis. Treatment will help your symptoms, but chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition that keeps coming back or never goes away completely.

Here’s some information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the causes and symptoms of bronchitis:

Causes of Bronchitis

Several types of viruses, most often:
- Respiratory syncytial (sin-SIH-shull) virus (RSV)
- Adenovirus
- Influenza
- Parainfluenza
Bacteria, in rare cases
Pollutants (airborne chemicals or irritants)

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis

Cough that produces mucus (may be without mucus the first few days)
Soreness in the chest
Fatigue
Mild headache
Mild body aches
Low-grade fever (less than 102°F)
Watery eyes
Sore throat

See a Healthcare Provider if You or Your Child has:

Temperature higher than 100.4° F
A fever and cough with thick or bloody mucus
A chronic heart or lung problem
Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
Symptoms that last more than 3 weeks
Repeated episodes of bronchitis/bronchiolitis
If your child is younger than three months of age and has a fever, it’s important to always call your healthcare provider right away.

Here are a few links to more information on bronchitis:

Bronchitis (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Bronchitis and Pneumonia (California Childcare Health Program)

Bronchitis, Acute Bronchitis (Children's Hospital Boston)

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