AirPhysio Blog

Bronchitis and Chronic Bronchitis – Condition and Treatment

Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi (large and medium-sized airways) of the lungs. Symptoms include coughing up mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. This condition may start as an infection from a cough, cold or flu and develops into either Acute or Chronic Bronchitis.

As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells that may be accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness.

Bronchitis is divided into two types: acute and chronic.

Acute Bronchitis

Acute Bronchitis (also known as a chest cold) usually has a cough that lasts around three weeks. In more than 90% of cases, the cause is a viral infection.

These viruses may be spread through the air when people cough or by direct contact.

Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic Bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts for three months or more per year for at least two years. Most people with chronic Bronchitis have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

People with asthma may also have asthmatic Bronchitis, inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tube.

If you are a smoker and come down with Bronchitis, it will be much harder for you to recover. Every cigarette damages the tiny hair-like structures in your lungs, called cilia, that are responsible for brushing out debris, irritants, and excess mucus.

Risk factors include exposure to:

  • Tobacco and cigarette smoke,
  • Dust, and other
  • Air pollution
  • Other people with viral Bronchitis (Bronchitis from dust and air pollution aren’t usually contagious)
  • Bacteria such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae or Bordetella pertussis.
  • Be careful of triggers as shown to the right as they may set off or contribute to the worsening of the Bronchitis condition.

The primary symptom of Bronchitis is a cough, but other symptoms may include:

  • Sputum production,
  • Sore throat – Sore Throat Causes, Remedies, Symptoms, and Medications
  • Nasal congestion – Nasal Congestion_ Symptoms, Signs, Causes & Treatment
  • Headache – 17 Types of Headaches_ Locations, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment,
  • Muscle aches, and
  • Fatigue – What Is Fatigue_ Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Tests

Children with acute Bronchitis may have symptoms of:

  • A runny nose,
  • Mild fever – Fever_ 102 Temperature, Severe, Causes, Treatment, Symptoms & Home Remedies, and
  • Cough up sputum or vomit mucus.

Treatment of acute Bronchitis typically involves rest, hydration and some medicine or methods of clearing the mucus and phlegm from the lungs. For Chronic Bronchitis, it may include hospitalisation and medication to manage the infections and reduce the damage and inflammation.

Changes to assist in the management of Chronic Bronchitis, or also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

A person with Chronic Bronchitis needs to make a number of important lifestyle changes, including:

Quit smoking – techniques can include ‘cold turkey’, counselling, nicotine replacement therapy and medications that work on brain receptors. Evidence shows that counselling, together with medical therapy, is most effective.

Increase Physical Activity – try to be as physically active as possible. If possible, attend pulmonary rehabilitation, similar to using the Airphysio PEP device.

COPD Action Plan – Follow a COPD action plan.

Change Diet – Eat a healthy diet and try to avoid foods with possible irritants, as mentioned in the Asthma article.

Plenty of Rest – Make adjustments to your lifestyle and home environment to ensure plenty of rest.

Improve Hydration – Keep adequately hydrated to help keep the mucus in your lungs runny and easier to cough up.

Avoid Irritants – Avoid smoky, dusty, pollen or environments with other irritants.

Join a support group – call Lung Foundation Australia (Tel. 1800 654 301) for information on a support group close to you.

If left untreated, the mucus build-up from Bronchitis may lead to Atelectasis, which is the partial blockage or closure of part of the lungs.

How Does AirPhysio Help Bronchitis?

By using the AirPhysio device to clean the airway and condition the lungs, this will assist in the recovery process or maintenance of Bronchitis.

Airphysio assists in 2 distinct ways:

1. Firstly the clearance process of AirPhysio assists in clearing any blockage or build-up of excess mucus through the 2 stage mobilisation and elimination method.

2. Secondly, the vibration or flutter effect of the AirPhysio, including the deep breathing method assist in conditioning the airway and assists to improve lung capacity through a physiotherapy method of exercising the lungs, similar to exercise.

For more information about Bronchitisplease refer to the following web pages and articles: 

Lung Foundation Australia

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