Bronchitis is nothing to sneeze at. It’s a painful respiratory illness that can last much longer than anticipated, in addition to having the ability to lead to more serious illnesses, like pneumonia.
Older adults (over the age of 65) and young children (under the age of 2) are most likely to get sick with bronchitis, but there are other risk factors that can make you more likely to develop this sickness.
Read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Hixson highlights some facts you need to know about bronchitis!
How Many Types of Bronchitis Are There?
There are different forms of bronchitis, but the most common types are chronic and acute. Chronic bronchitis is a long-term inflammation of the bronchi, and is common among smokers. People with chronic bronchitis tend to get lung infections more easily, and they also have episodes of acute bronchitis, when symptoms are worse.
Acute bronchitis is a short-term inflammation of the bronchi, and is usually caused by a virus or breathing in something that irritates the lungs such as tobacco smoke, fumes, dust or air pollution. Additionally, it’s temporary and doesn’t usually cause any long-term breathing problems.
When to See a Doctor for Bronchitis
- Lasts more than three weeks
- Prevents you from sleeping
- Is accompanied by fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
- Produces discolored mucus
- Produces blood
- Is associated with wheezing or shortness of breath
Will I Get It?
Like we said earlier, those who are most susceptible to bronchitis are those ages 65 and older and ages 2 and younger.
While this is the case, there are a number of lifestyle factors that contribute to both chronic and acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis, however, is strongly related to lifestyle factors, and we’ve listed some common ones to keep in mind below.
Common Risk Factors
- Smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of chronic bronchitis. Cigarettes are still the most commonly smoked product, but pipes and other inhalants and devices through which people smoke are also likely to cause the chronic inflammatory reaction.
- Chemical inhalants. Close and frequent exposure to concentrated inhaled chemicals in the air can cause bronchitis. This is most commonly seen in the work setting.
- Pollution. This may be related to chemicals in nearby factories, automobile fumes, waste material or other systematic issues.
- Poor hygiene. The chances of becoming sick with acute bronchitis are increased when you are exposed to bacteria or viruses that cause respiratory infections. Things like handwashing and avoiding exposure to respiratory droplets (like wearing a mask) can diminish your chances of getting a respiratory infection that progresses to become acute bronchitis.
Have questions about bronchitis? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team today.