What is Acute Bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is an uncomfortable condition associated with a repetitive and painful sounding cough. Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes. This inflammation can be brought on by a cold or flu virus, among other things.

Bacterial infections are another common cause for bronchitis. Bronchitis is often connected to sinus infections for two reasons: 1) the cells in the lungs and in the sinuses look and act identically, and 2) drainage from the sinuses can get into the lower airway, spreading infection and triggering inflammation.

Acute bronchitis can last for just a few days, but up to 10 days after onset. Individuals with asthma, who may get bronchitis much more frequently than the general public, may end up having to be put on a steroid treatment to get the coughing and irritation under control.

Because bronchitis is generally caused by either bacteria or viruses, prevention for bronchitis is the same as preventing infection. Washing hands frequently is important. Wearing a mask is a more restrictive but effective measure for those who have greater health concerns. For those who smoke, quitting is imperative. Smoking can cause frequent bouts of bronchitis.

Another important means of preventing bronchitis, especially for those who have a history of bronchitis, is to get a flu shot every year. It is most effective if the shot is received earlier in the flu season. For those who are particularly vulnerable, consult a physician about getting a pneumonia shot as well.

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