Acute Bronchitis Treatment, Signs and Symptoms, Causes

acute bronchitis treatment
October 29, 2020

What is the best medicine for acute bronchitis treatment?


In this article, we discuss acute bronchitis treatment, sign and symptoms. Bronchitis is an inflammatory disease of the inner lining of the bronchi, which manifests itself primarily by coughing and respiratory problems. A pulmonologist and an otolaryngologist are involved in the treatment of bronchitis in adults and kids.


The primary manifestation of inflammation is cough. At first dry, unproductive, then it becomes moist, with mucus production. The mechanism of development is in the pathological inflammatory oedema of the bronchial mucosa. At first, the swelling is uncomfortable, causes coughing, and can make respiration difficult due to the narrowing of the airway. Then the edematous mucosa produces an increasing amount of secretion and leads to increased secretion of sputum.

Symptoms of acute bronchitis in adults and children

Acute inflammation of the mucous membrane of the pulmonary tree happens primarily in winter when the body‘s immune defences are weakened and it’s easier for infectious agents to penetrate the mucous membranes. The initial levels are a lot like a common cold. Pathology can be suspected when a dry cough becomes moist with a large amount of sputum. It may be whitish or yellowish – this indicates a catarrhal form of the disease. A green tint indicates the onset of an active infectious process and a purulent form.

A detailed clinical picture of acute inflammation of the bronchi includes:

Severe paroxysmal cough;
Discomfort and soreness in the chest, particularly when breathing;
Shortness of breath during exercise, and sometimes at rest;
Weakness, lethargy, apathy, increased fatigue;
Increased sweating;
An increase in body temperature (usually no more than 38–38.5 0С).

Typically, acute bronchitis (particularly infectious) spreads up the respiratory tract. The result is the addition of inflammation of the mucous membranes of the trachea, pharynx and nose. The peak of signs occurs, as a rule, on days 3-4 of the disease, then clinical manifestations steadily subside. With promptly started competent therapy and a favourable course in 7-10 days, the disease fully disappears without leaving any consequences.

acute bronchitis treatment
Inflamed bronchial tube

Chronic bronchitis symptoms

The chronic form of the disease has a long course with periodic exacerbations. They can be triggered by the same causes that lead to the development of the primary acute form of the disease. The clinical picture in this case will also be similar.

In the period of remission, the chronic form of bronchitis is characterized by shortness of breath even with minor physical exertion. That is the result of constant oedema of the mucous membrane of the bronchi, which means their narrowing and a decrease in the volume of air that they can pass via themselves. This situation is called chronic obstructive bronchitis (COB).

COB is very harmful to young children because their lung capacity is small. A slight decrease in the airflow by the standards of an adult creates serious problems in the systemic gas exchange of the whole organism.

This leads to a deficiency in the supply of oxygen to tissues and organs and, as a result, can result in malformations and general cardiopulmonary insufficiency with the disability of the kid.

Also, the body‘s desire to ensure normal gas exchange in the lungs causes a persistent expansion of the terminal sections of the respiratory tree, that is, leads to the development of emphysema.

Therefore, such pathology in young children requires instant consultation with a paediatrician and early initiation of adequate therapy.

Why pathology occurs

All causes of the development of the disease can be divided into three broad categories:

1. Infectious lesions.

Causative agents can be:

viruses (adenovirus, influenza virus);
bacteria (more often strepto-, pneumo- and staphylococci);
atypical microorganisms such as mycoplasma or chlamydia;
fungal infections.

2. Exposure to chemical factors.

toxic compounds found in the environment of industrial cities;
increased content of smoke and/or dust in the air;
occupational hazards in the form of fumes hazardous to health;
smoking abuse.

3. Internal factors.

This is, first of all, particular person intolerance to certain substances, manifested by an allergic reaction (inflammation) on the bronchial mucosa. Diseases of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, as well as chronic infectious and inflammatory disorders in the nasopharynx, oral cavity and tonsils, can also provoke the onset of pathology.

What are the forms

The symptoms and treatment of chronic bronchitis depend on how the disease progresses in a particular patient.

The acute form develops very quickly, is characterised by a rapid course and severity of symptoms. Chronic bronchitis most often results from an untreated acute illness or arises from prolonged exposure to provoking components (for example, smoking or smoke air pollution in a metropolis). The manifestations of the chronic form of bronchitis are more smoothed, and the course has periods of exacerbation and remission.

Other types of bronchitis

Inflammation of the bronchi is classified not only by the form of the clinical course but also by other parameters, depending on:

mechanism of occurrence: primary bronchitis is an independent disease, secondary is a complication of pathologies of other organs;
the level of damage to the pulmonary tree: tracheobronchitis – inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, middle bronchitis and bronchiolitis, in which the pathological process spreads in the smallest airways (bronchioles);
the nature of sputum: the catarrhal form with mucous discharge, purulent and mixed variants;
the presence (obstructive type) or absence (non-obstructive type) of violations of gas exchange in the lungs.

Acute bronchitis Treatment depends on the cause.

With a bacterial infection, the affected person is prescribed antibiotics: systemic drugs (usually in tablet form) or local ones, for example, for inhalation.
With a viral nature, the disease is usually limited to immunostimulants and general adaptogens.
If the pathology is caused by chemical compounds or particular person intolerance to any substances, further contacts with toxins or allergens are excluded.

Symptomatic therapy consists of taking anaesthetics, anti-inflammatory drugs, controlling body temperature and consuming plenty of warm drinks. Drugs that thin phlegm and stimulate its excretion are also widely used.

Treatment of chronic bronchitis without exacerbation is a harder and time-consuming task. First, they identify and eliminate all nearby foci of infection in the affected person‘s body, sanitize the oral cavity and provide support for the immune system.

The most important point (especially in kids!) Is the improvement of airway patency in obstructive disease. For this, drugs have prescribed that relax the muscles of the bronchi and expand them, expectorant and mucolytic agents.

Corticosteroids are used to relieve inflammatory reactions. Physiotherapeutic procedures, physiotherapy exercises and drainage massage also give a good effect.

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