Bacterial bronchitis

Bacterial bronchitis triggers mucosal inflammation of the airway passages in the lungs. The condition can cause symptoms such as cough, increased production of mucus and chest pain.

What are the possible causes?

This type of bronchitis is due to bacterial infection of the bronchi especially bacterium such as streptococcus, mycoplasma pneumoniae, Bordetella pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae.

Most cases of the acute form of bacterial bronchitis start as viral bronchitis. Remember that an isolated case of bacterial bronchitis is considered rare. If there is primary viral infection of the airways, it results to damage to the airways and makes it prone to bacterial infiltration. Those with chronic airway diseases such as asthma or chronic bronchitis face a higher risk for bacterial bronchitis.

Bacterial bronchitis

Constant coughing with phlegm that is initially thin and clear but later changes to cloudy, thick or greenish-yellow in appearance.

What are the risk factors?

  • Allergies
  • Being exposed to air pollutants and irritants such as fumes, chemicals and dust
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • If an individual was not given pertussis immunization

Indications of bacterial bronchitis

  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Constant coughing with phlegm that is initially thin and clear but later changes to cloudy, thick or greenish-yellow in appearance
  • High fever
  • Burning sensation with crackling and wheezing in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing along with pain and discomfort
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Bodily aches and pains

Management

The main treatment for bacterial bronchitis is to control the infection and its symptoms. The condition is managed using a variety of antibiotics. The antibiotic that is used is based on the type of bacteria responsible for the infection.

The course of antibiotics is continued for 5-7 days. The individual should finish the prescribed course even if the symptoms have settled.

Bronchodilators are also given to keep the airways open. These medications work by improving breathing and promote easier coughing up of the mucus. Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen are given for bodily aches and fever. Cough medications that contain dextromethorphan or codeine can be used to alleviate the cough.

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