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BRONCHITIS

What is it?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the mucous lining of the main air passage of the lungs. There are two main types- acute and chronic bronchitis.
Acute Bronchitis is a sudden onset of chest symptoms in normally healthy person. Chronic bronchitis is usually associated with heavy smoking.

ACUTE BRONCHITIS

Symptoms: A productive cough with grey, watery phlegm, Breathlessness, wheezing, pain in the upper chest, made worse by coughing. Fever.
Causes: Untreated respiratory infections such as a head cold or sinusitis which spread to the bronchial tubes.
Possible complications: Bronchopneumonia
Treatment in the home: Acute bronchitis that is viral in origin usually runs its course without medication. Stay indoors, Drink large amounts of fluid to help keep the chest mucus liquid. Congestive mucus should be coughed up, so avoid the use of cough suppressants. Steam inhalations and expectorant medicines bronchodilators in particular, are helpful in eliminating congestive mucus. 
When to consult a doctor: If the phlegm produced is thick and greenish-yellow colour. If breathing becomes difficult, if the chest pains become severe, If your temperature rises. The patient is a baby or elderly. If you are susceptible to repeat attacks of acute bronchitis.What the doctor may do:Examine your ears, nose, throat and chest. Advise you to limit physical activities. Prescribe a course of antibiotics. If your breathing is wheezy, prescribe a bronchodilator usually in aerosol form.

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CHRONIC BRONCHITIS

Symptoms: Excessive mucus secretion and chronic or recurrent mucus-producing cough that lasts three months or more and recurs year after. Severe and nearly continuous breathlessness and wheeziness.
Causes: Smoking, Air pollution and repeated attacks of acute bronchitis

Possible complications: Pneumonia, emphysema and heart failure.

Treatment in the home: None

When to consult a doctor: If there is a persistent cough over a period of two to three weeks, Breathlessness.

What the doctor may do: Advise you to stop smoking, Prescribe an antibiotic if the infection is severe and you are coughing up phlegm. Prescribe a bronchodilator in aerosol form to help ease the breathlessness. Arrange for physiotherapy. Teach you how to use inhalation therapy correctly.

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