Bronchitis is a condition where your airways become inflamed, causing coughing and excess mucus production which can make it harder to breathe. There are two main types of bronchitis: acute and chronic.
Differences Between Acute and Chronic Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is often triggered by a viral infection like a cold or flu. It produces a cough that lasts anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. It is sometimes accompanied by fever or chills.
Chronic bronchitis can last for several weeks to months and comes back two or more years in a row. In addition to a cough, chronic bronchitis can also cause wheezing, tightness in the chest and fatigue. Chronic bronchitis is one of the more common conditions that can contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Allergies and Chronic Bronchitis
Chronic bronchitis is often also referred to as allergic bronchitis and may be caused by exposure to allergy triggers. Common triggers include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Air pollution
- Chemical fumes
Your risk for chronic bronchitis is higher if you have asthma or allergies. Living in an area with high levels of air pollution or working a job where you are regularly exposed to dust or chemical fumes also increases your risk.
Cases of acute bronchitis often go away on their own without treatment. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications or using a humidifier to manage the symptoms until your condition improves. You should be able to find these at Concord Pharmacy or other local drugstores.
Treatment of chronic bronchitis is more about managing symptoms and improving your breathing. Your doctor may prescribe or recommend:
- Oxygen therapy
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Breathing techniques
Avoiding Allergens to Prevent Chronic Bronchitis
Limiting or avoiding your exposure to allergens is one way to help prevent chronic bronchitis. This includes:
- Not smoking or quitting smoking.
- Staying in a well-ventilated area if working with chemicals.
- Wearing a mask whenever you are in contact with known triggers.
- Seeing an allergist. Allergy shots or medications may prevent you from reacting to your triggers and causing symptoms.
If you suspect you are suffering from allergic bronchitis, see a doctor as soon as possible. As with all chronic conditions, the quicker it is diagnosed and a treatment plan is formed, the better the outcome.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call ENT of Georgia today.