Lungs and Respiratory System

What is Bronchitis? The 2 Types of Bronchitis

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:57 am

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Often developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is very common.

Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes (bronchi), the air passages between the mouth and nose and the lungs. Bronchitis describes a condition where the lining of the bronchial tubes becomes inflamed.

What’s the difference between asthma and bronchitis?

Asthma is caused by inflammation of the bronchial tubes caused be one or more triggers. It can be eased with inhalers and breath training. It is episodic, meaning that the attacks when triggered and eased, and controlled, and you return to fairly normal breathing.

Bronchitis is inflammation and irritation of the same areas in the airways but is caused by an infection. It can often be treated with antibiotics and is not episodic, i.e. when you have it, it is with you until the infection is cleared. It is often accompanied by an irritating cough.

So same affected part of the body, different causes, different symptoms and different treatments.

Signs of bronchitis

Bronchi are the tubes (airway passages) that conduct air to the lung tissue where an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs. Bronchitis is a condition where there is infection or inflammation of these passages. Bronchitis can be acute (short duration) or chronic (long duration). Signs of bronchitis:

  • airway inflammation
  • overproduction of phlegm
  • cough

There are several causes for bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses like the cold or flu. Other causes include:

  • bacterial infections
  • irritants, such as pollution, smoke, etc
  • asthma

The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking. Chronic bronchitis can also be caused by pollution or toxic gases in the environment. Bronchitis caused by infectious agents, like viruses or bacteria, is contagious. Bronchitis caused by irritants, smoking or asthma is not.

What are the two types of bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. Sometimes include a cough that often brings up mucus. It can also cause shortness of breath, wheezing, a low fever, and chest tightness. There are two main types of bronchitis:

  1. Acute bronchitis: The lower airways (bronchi) are temporarily inflamed.
  2. Chronic bronchitis: It is related to bronchial disease and sinusitis, and has symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and low fever. An important gene associated with bronchitis is ELANE (Elastase, Neutrophil Expressed)

What is allergic bronchitis?

Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. Allergic bronchitis is chronic and is caused by exposure to allergy triggers like pollution, dust, or smoke. It is a part of COPD, i.e. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, along with emphysema. It can last for months or even longer than that.

Allergies can be acute or chronic. When it’s acute, it’s caused by a virus or bacteria, whereas if it is chronic, it is caused by allergies. Coughing is the major symptom of both types of allergies. However, if one has Acute Bronchitis, the cough usually goes away after a few days or weeks. Whereas, Chronic (Allergic) Bronchitis may last for many weeks or even months.

Causes for the same might include:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Air pollution
  • Dust
  • Pollens
  • Chemical fumes

Treatments can include:

  • Humidifier
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Oxygen Therapy
  • Steroids
  • Vaccines

What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse. The other key type of COPD is emphysema. Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can differ from person to person.

At first, you may have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include.

  • Frequent coughing or a cough that produces a lot of mucus
  • Wheezing
  • A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Tightness in your chest

Some people with chronic bronchitis get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, chronic bronchitis can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.

What antibiotics are used to treat bronchitis?

Most cases of acute bronchitis get better within several days. But your cough can last for several weeks after the infection is gone. The same viruses that cause colds and the flu often cause acute bronchitis. These viruses spread through the air when people cough, or through physical contact (for example, on unwashed hands). Being exposed to tobacco smoke, air pollution, dusts, vapors, and fumes can also cause acute bronchitis. Less often, bacteria can also cause acute bronchitis.

To diagnose acute bronchitis, your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and listen to your breathing. You may also have other tests. Treatments include rest, fluids, and aspirin (for adults) or acetaminophen to treat fever. A humidifier or steam can also help. You may need inhaled medicine to open your airways if you are wheezing.

  • Antibiotics won’t help if the cause is viral.
  • You may get antibiotics if the cause is bacterial.
What is the best thing to take to relieve the symptoms of bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation in the lungs. So helping recover from that basically eat lots of alkaline foods and avoid the most acidic ones like meat, sugar, and dairy. Several especially good foods to get rid of bronchitis that help get rid of inflammation are.

  • Beets
  • Apples
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Green veggies
  • Bok Choy
  • Raisins
  • Green tea
  • Celery
  • Strawberries and blue berries
  • Coconut water
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Basil and herbs
  • Honey

To relieve the symptoms of bronchitis, you should:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids such as water, soup, tea, etc. If you’re drinking water, try to shoot for 10–12 glasses a day. This helps to thin the mucus that’s causing you to cough.
  2. Stay away from smoking, alcoholic drinks, and anything that could irritate your lungs including, mold, dust, smoke, etc.
  3. Get lots of rest! If you have trouble sleeping, prop your pillow up your head. This keeps the mucus from settling in your throat, only making you cough more.
  4. Use a CLEAN humidifier when you sleep to reduce the mucus and preventing it from building up.
  5. Take a hot shower or breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water. This will help loosen the mucus.
  6. If you’re aching and feeling pain, use heating pads if available. Also, you could take pain relievers such as Tylenol, Advil, Aleve. Advil and Aleve will help with the pain. Tylenol will help with any fevers and also pain.
  7. Try to avoid cough medicine unless it’s keeping you awake at night. You want to cough to get rid of all the clutter of gunk in your lungs. Instead of cough medicine, however, try a spoonful of honey to help numb the throat.
  8. Try to stay away from dairy while suffering with bronchitis. Dairy can cause mucus build-up and will cause you to cough more and suffer in more pain.
Is bronchitis contagious, and for how long?

Bronchitis describes an inflammation of the bronchi – the large and medium-sized airways in the lungs. It has multiple causes, some contagious, some not.

Acute bronchitis is caused by a viral infection in 90% of cases. Bacterial infection is much less common, but can be the cause. Viral and bacterial infections are typically contagious, though how contagious and how long an infected person would be contagious for very much depends on the individual virus or bacteria. Note that immune responses to infections vary from person to person and therefore catching a virus from someone with bronchitis may make you sick, but it doesn’t mean you will develop bronchitis. COVID-19 is a good example of this – many people only experience a mild flu-like illness, whilst others experience a more severe pneumonia-like illness.

Chronic bronchitis is normally a manifestation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) the principal cause of which is tobacco smoking. COPD is not contagious.

Is there any Ayurvedic treatment for bronchitis?

Yes! Various remedies and herbs are available to treat bronchitis!

  • Shringyadi Churna, Kaphaketu, Kaphachint: 2 gm of Shringyadi Churna and 100 mg of each of Kaphaketu and Kaphachintamani to be taken three times daily.
  • Sitopaladi Churna, Pravala Pisthi, Rasa Sindur: 2 gm of Sitopaladi Churna, 200 mg of Pravala Pisthi and 100 mg of Rasa Sindur to be taken with ghee three times in a day.
  • Talisadi Churna: One teaspoon of talisadi churna mixed with ginger juice and honey should be taken three times in a day.
  • Haridra Khand: One teaspoon of haridra khand should be taken with a cup of warm milk at night before going to bed.
  • Vasarishta: 15 ml should be mixed with an equal quantity of water and taken after meals twice daily.
Simple natural remedies which are very effective in curing bronchitis

There are certain simple 11 natural remedies which are very effective in curing bronchitis.

  1. Haldi is the most common home remedy for bronchitis. A tea spoon of tumeric powder should be mixed in a glass of milk and taken two times daily. It is more effective if taken on an empty stomach.
  2. The juice of vasa is also very beneficial for bronchitis. It can be taken twice or thrice daily.
  3. Ginger juice and honey mixed in a cup of warm water can also be taken, which helps in the easy expectoration of the phlegm.
  4. Equal quantity of dried ginger, black pepper and long pepper should be mixed with honey and one teaspoon of this mixture should be taken thrice daily.
  5. Tulsi is also a great herb for bronchitis. Water boiled with tulsi leaves brings relief to the sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.
  6. Khadiradi Vati should be sucked as lozenge four to five times in a day, which helps in getting relief from the congested throat.
  7. A decoction made of tulsi, black pepper and ginger in equal quantities should be taken three times a day.
  8. Sour substance, pickles and curd should be strictly avoided. Also, cold items like cold drinks, ice creams should be avoided. Fruits like banana and guavas are contra stated in this condition.
  9. Foods which are easy to digest should be preferred. Generous amount of green leafy vegetables should be included in the diet.
  10. Alcohol and tobacco should be avoided.
  11. Exposure to cold wind and rain should be avoided. Also, one should avoid excess humidity, dust, and allergic pollens. Heavy physical exercises should not be done.

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