Bronchitis Symptoms and Treatments

Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 02:15 AM

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Bronchitis is a condition in which the inflammation of air tracts or bronchioles in the lungs causes constriction of air passages, hence cough and asthma. Although it may occur at any age, severe bronchitis is more common in people 45 years and older. The characteristic symptoms of bronchitis include severe cough, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Symptoms

On the basis of severity of symptoms, bronchitis can be classified into acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. Symptoms of acute bronchitis include wheezing, cough, fever, chills and shortness of breath, especially after exertion.
 
Chronic bronchitis is more severe and develops over three months severe cough along with mucus and sputum continues for months. The presence of mucus in the lungs for extended periods of time and continuous cough are the initial symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Asthma is also one of the characteristic symptoms; the shortness of breath is caused by constricted air passages in the lungs.
 
Other symptoms of bronchitis include sore throat, fatigue, muscle ache, nasal congestion, headache, and chest pain caused by sever ecoughing. Cyanosis or bluish discoloration of the skin may be noted as one of the symptoms of chronic bronchitis.

Treatments

Treatments with antibiotics, inhalers, solutions are available to control the symptoms of bronchitis — wheezing, asthma, and cough. As chronic bronchitis mostly occurs in heavy smokers, one of the primary treatments for bronchitis and associated cough and asthma is to stop smoking.

Treatments for bronchitis include bronchodilators, steroids and PDE4 inhibitors. Bronchodilators help clear the constricted air passages in the lungs. Bronchodilators used in treatment of cough and asthma include Ventolin, Proventil, AccuNeb, Vospire, ProAir, Alupent, Foradil, Serevent, Spiriva and Atrovent. These drugs work by dilating the lung passages and allowing more air circulation, providing relief from asthma, shortness of breath, cough, and other symptoms.

Steroids such as Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Pulmicort, Flovent, Qvar, Asmanex reduce inflammation in the lungs and ensure better dilation and air passage in the lungs. As inhaled steroids have fewer side effects compared with other treatments, they are used in combination with other bronchodilators to treat symptoms such as cough and asthma.

PDE4 inhibitors are anti-inflammatory treatments; Daliresp is administered to reduce mucus secretion that causes asthma and cough.

Antibiotics drugs like Levofloxacin, Biaxin, Zmax, Bactrim, and Vibramycin are offered as treatments to cure bacterial infections and presence of mucus in the lungs.

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