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What is Bronchitis?Bronchitis is an inflammation in the lungs that some people call a chest cold. We are America's leading supplier of high quality drinking water systems and information source.
Chronic bronchitis keeps coming back and can last a very long time, especially for those who smoke. It can be a miserable, but minor, illness that follows a viral illness like the common cold -- or may follow a more serious condition like a chronic smoker's hack. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. This obstructive pulmonary condition, best known for the heavy coughing accompanied my sputum, occurs when the bronchi in the lungs are inflamed. The majority of people who get acute bronchitis get better on their own without any problems.
Chronic bronchitis means you have a cough with mucus most days of the month for 3 months of the year for at least 2 years in a row. Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus which people can catch from a variety of places, and it can also develop out of the flu and upper respiratory infections. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.
People who smoke or live in polluted cities are more susceptible to coming down with this ailment. These irritated membranes also secrete extra mucus, which coats and sometimes clogs the small airways. Coughing spells are the body's way of trying to clear out these secretions for easier breathing.

Acute bronchitis can also be caused by breathing in things that irritate the bronchial tubes, such as smoke and food particles. Symptoms of BronchitisThe main symptom of bronchitis is a productive cough that persists several days to weeks . Bronchitis is contagious and can be passed along to others the same way colds and viruses are.
An infected person coughs, spraying viral particles in the air, where it can be inhaled in by others or onto their hands, where they can be picked up when the person shakes hands with others. It may start with a dry cough, then after a few days the coughing spells may bring up mucus.
Most people get over an acute bout of bronchitis in two to three weeks, although the cough can sometimes hang on for four weeks or more. If you're in otherwise good health, your lungs will return to normal after you've recovered from the initial infection. Repeated Bouts: Chronic BronchitisDoctors suspect this illness when you have a cough with phlegm on most days for at least three months in a year, for two years in a row.
Chronic bronchitis is a serious condition that makes your lungs a breeding ground for bacterial infections and may require ongoing medical treatment. It's one form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. Bronchitis or Something Else?The symptoms of bronchitis are often the same as those of other conditions, such as asthma, pneumonia, allergies, the common cold, influenza, sinusitis, and even gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and lung cancer. Irritants -- like tobacco smoke, smog, chemicals in household cleaners, even fumes or dust in the environment -- can also cause acute bronchitis. Workplace exposure to dust and toxic gases is a much less common cause, seen in miners and grain handlers.
Smokers and BronchitisA smoker who gets acute bronchitis will have a much harder time recovering.

Even one puff on a cigarette can cause temporary damage to the tiny hair-like structures (cilia) in the airways that brush out debris, irritants, and excess mucus.
Further smoking continues the damage and increases the chances of chronic bronchitis, which can lead to increased risk of lung infection and permanent lung damage. How is Acute Bronchitis Diagnosed?Doctors usually diagnose acute bronchitis by reviewing how your symptoms have developed over time and through a physical examination. Using a stethoscope, your doctor will listen for any abnormal sounds produced within your lungs when you breathe.
How is Chronic Bronchitis Diagnosed?Your doctor may recommend pulmonary function testing after doing a medical history and physical exam.
Your doctor may prescribe an expectorant to help loosen mucus so it can be more easily coughed up or an inhaled bronchodilator medicine to open your airways. Treatment: Chronic BronchitisIf you have chronic bronchitis related to smoking, the most important thing to do is to quit smoking to prevent ongoing damage to your lungs. Unless your doctor advises against it, get a pneumococcal vaccine and an annual flu vaccine. Chronic Bronchitis and COPDChronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two main forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Oxygen therapy helps some people breathe better and a pulmonary rehab program can improve your quality of life. How to Avoid BronchitisIt's no surprise that the best way to decrease your risk is not to smoke or allow others to smoke in your home. Other ways include: avoiding colds and staying away from things that irritate your nose, throat, and lungs, such as dust or pets.

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