Diseases & Conditions


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Bronchitis


Sudden inflammation of the airways that connect the windpipe (trachea) to the lungs that produces a persistent cough with quantities of sputum. Attacks usually occur in the winter among smokers, babies, the elderly, and those with lung disease. Cause Acute bronchitis is usually a complication of a viral infection (such as a cold or the flu), although it can also be caused by air pollution. A bacterial infection also may lead to acute bronchitis, or it may follow an attack of acute bronchitis brought on by other causes. Symptoms As the bronchial tubes swell and become congested with pus, symptoms include wheezing, breathlessness, and a persistent cough that produces yellow or green phlegm. There also may be pain behind the breastbone and a fever. Treatment Humidifying the lungs will ease symptoms, either by using a humidifier or by inhaling steam. Drinking plenty of fluids also helps bring up phlegm. Most acute bronchitis clears up on its own without further treatment. If there is a suspicion of an underlying bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. Complications Pleurisy or PNEUMONIA may rarely occur. A physician should be consulted if any of the following symptoms appear: • severe breathlessness • no improvement after three days • blood is coughed up • fever rises above 101°F • patient has underlying lung disease