What causes bronchitis in seniors? Bronchitis occurs when the bronchioles, or small airways in the lungs, become infected—usually by a virus. The infection inflames and swells the bronchioles as well as creates mucus in the area, making breathing difficult.
Bronchitis is a contagious condition and may be caught in several ways. Viruses primarily cause the sickness through inhalation or skin contact. In rare occasions, bronchitis may result from smoking, high alcohol consumption, exposure to fumes and dust and frequent infections.
The majority of people with bronchitis have symptoms for about 10 to 14 days, although some symptoms (notably cough and fatigue) may last up to a month. Older adults can experience disruptive symptoms for longer and may have higher risk for potentially serious complications like pneumonia.
Causes: How do you get bronchitis? Bronchitis happens when a virus, bacteria, or irritant particles trigger an inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Smoking is a key risk factor, but nonsmokers can also develop bronchitis.
The symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, include fever, fatigue, a cough, shortness of breath, body aches, and a sore throat. These can also happen with other conditions, including bronchitis. It’s hard to tell what you have just by how you feel.
Relief for Acute Bronchitis
Chills. Coughing that starts out dry is often the first sign of acute bronchitis. Small amounts of white mucus may be coughed up if the bronchitis is viral. If the color of the mucus changes to green or yellow, it may be a sign that a bacterial infection has also set in.
Repeated Bouts: Chronic Bronchitis Chronic bronchitis is a serious condition that makes your lungs a breeding ground for bacterial infections and may require ongoing medical treatment. It’s one form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.
Albuterol is one of the more common bronchodilators prescribed for treating bronchitis. It comes in the from of an inhaler. Steroids: If chronic bronchitis symptoms are stable or slowly getting worse, inhaled steroids, can be used to help minimize bronchial tube inflammation.
Most cases of acute bronchitis go away in 2 to 3 weeks, but some may last 4 weeks. Home treatment to relieve symptoms is usually all that you need. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful.
Yes. Most of the time, acute bronchitis is caused by a virus, such as the flu (influenza) virus. However, many different viruses — all of which are very contagious — can cause acute bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis causes include: Breathing in air pollution and other things that bother your lungs, like chemical fumes or dust, over time. Smoking or breathing in secondhand smoke for a long time.
The increased mucus causes airflow obstructions. Over time, chronic bronchitis can lead to permanent damage to the lungs, such as decreased lung function.
Treatment. Acute bronchitis usually gets better on its own—without antibiotics. Antibiotics won’t help you get better if you have acute bronchitis.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Healthcare providers diagnose bronchitis by asking patients questions about symptoms and doing a physical examination. Though they rarely order additional tests, if you have a fever, your physician may order a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia.