The airways through which air flows in the lungs are called bronchi. When parts of the walls of the bronchi become inflamed and swollen a condition develops called bronchitis. This inflammation causes an increase in mucus production which narrows the airway making breathing difficult.

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?
Depending on the underlying cause of bronchitis the symptoms will vary. Bronchitis due to an infection present symptoms including:
-Runny nose
-Aches in the back and muscles
-Sore throat
-Shortness of breath

What causes bronchitis?
Infections or irritating substances can cause bronchitis. Smokers and people with a chronic lung disease tend to have repeated episodes of bronchitis. Other causes are people with chronic sinus infections or allergies and children with enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

How is a diagnosis of bronchitis made?
An important part of the diagnosis of bronchitis is the exclusion of other causes of symptoms. Other diseases such as asthma, COPD, or even heart conditions may give symptoms similar to bronchitis. Your physician will take a medical history and perform a physical examination including listening to the lungs. Additional testing may include:
-Blood tests
-Sputum specimen
-Chest x-ray

What are the treatment options for bronchitis?
-Antibiotics may be prescribed for bronchitis that is bacterial in origin.
-Short term use of bronchodilators may be used to help open up the airways
-Cool mist humidifiers can help the wheezing and shortness of breath
-Cough medicines should be used cautiously. If the cough produces a lot of sputum, it is important to clear the mucus from the lungs rather than suppress the cough.
-Corticosteroid inhalers help reduce inflammation and make the airways less reactive.
-Over the counter pain relievers to help reduce the fever and control pain.


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