Acute bronchitis is a highly contagious disease that readily spreads from an infected person to others via direct or indirect contact. Therefore, extra precautions are needed to prevent it. The essential features of acute bronchitis prevention are discussed in this article. To know more, read on…
Acute bronchitis can be described as a condition where inflammation occurs in the lining of the bronchial tubes. The tissues of the lining get inflamed either because of an infection or due to exposure to irritants. Most people develop acute bronchitis soon after an infection by common cold or influenza. Here, the cold or flu virus that attacks the upper respiratory passage spreads further down the tract and causes bronchitis. In some cases, it is triggered by a bacterial attack too. Others may get it after the respiratory passage gets irritated by tobacco smoke, harsh chemicals or air pollutants.
The most easily identifiable symptom is cough. It could be a dry cough or it can produce mucus. Other symptoms that accompany an acute bronchitis cough are as follows:
- High fever
- Tightness and discomfort in chest
- Stuffy nasal passage
- Sore throat
- Breathing difficulty
- Hoarseness in voice
- Joint pain
In those cases where symptoms are mild, no medicines are required. It will heal on its own in a matter of a week or so. During this time, take good amount of rest and strictly avoid exposure to cold temperature. Drink plenty of water and fluids as it helps in thinning of the mucus and relieves the symptoms. Steam inhalation can bring a lot of relief from the congested feeling.
If you find that symptoms are getting aggravated with time, then you must visit a doctor. They study the physical symptoms and medical history first. Then a chest X-ray is conducted for the diagnosis of acute bronchitis. Doctors prescribe suitable medicines that provide relief from persistent cough. Decongestants are highly effective for alleviating various symptoms. Some patients need pain relieving medicines to reduce pain and fever. If there are signs of bacterial infection, antibiotics are given.
Those who have had acute bronchitis in the past, know it very well that its symptoms, particularly the cough, can be bothersome for weeks. In some cases, it may persist for months together as the badly irritated lining of the bronchial tubes tend to become narrow. The steps that need to be taken for acute bronchitis prevention are as follows:
- Keep a safe distance from an infected person. If you have to go near an infected person, then cover your face with a mask or a handkerchief. This way you can prevent any direct transmission of harmful germs.
- Do not use any personal items of an infected person. When you have an infected person at home, you may end up using his/her towel, handkerchief, cups and other such items without realizing that they are carriers of germs. Hence, you must keep the belongings of an infected person separately so that you do not touch them even by mistake.
- Avoid exposure to tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke badly irritates the bronchial tubes and contributes towards bronchitis. Therefore, those who are smokers should give up the habit. Others must take care that they are not around those people who smoke cigarettes.
- Protect yourself from irritants. If you are regularly exposed to high levels of air pollution or dust or strong chemicals in your workplace on a regular basis, then you must use a face mask. It will prevent inhalation of harmful irritants that can trigger bronchitis.
- Stay away from allergens. For instance, those who have pollen allergy should try to remain indoors as much as possible in spring and early summer time when pollens induce allergies. If you are allergic to some other substances, then you should avoid that to prevent any allergic reaction.
- Keep your hands disinfected. For this, make it a habit to wash your hands frequently. Thorough washing of hands is a must before eating. When you cannot wash your hands with water, then at least keep a sanitizer with you and use it as and when required.
- Using a humidifier is a good preventive measure. If the indoor air has less humidity, then it tends to dry up the nasal passage and cause irritation. Using a humidifier will add moisture to the air and thus, reduce the chances of bronchitis to a great extent.
- Another way to prevent acute bronchitis is by getting immunized. Vaccinations are available for flu virus and certain types of bacteria that trigger bronchitis. An early vaccine can provide protection against flu and pneumonia that tend to trigger bronchitis. This preventive measure should be considered for people with compromised immune system like elderly people and those who are susceptible to frequent infection.
The preventive measures that we have discussed in this article should be followed by those who tend to get frequent bouts of acute upper respiratory infection. They are equally important for all those people who are prone to allergies as they are also at a high risk of getting acute bronchitis.