Symptoms of bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the inner walls of the bronchi that carry air to the lungs.

Inflammation is a defense mechanism of the body, caused, for example, by:

  • Infections
  • Irritants or toxic substances.

This phenomenon allows immune cells (white blood cells) to be sent to the infected or inflamed area.
The white blood cells ingest these substances or microorganisms to prevent damage.

The inner wall of the bronchi consists of:

  • specific cells with numerous cilia (eyelashes),
  • secretion-forming cells.

A small amount of mucus is found on the eyelashes.
These eyelashes move simultaneously in the same direction as grass moved by the wind.


What happens with bronchitis?

  • Mucus production increases.
  • The cilia move less and thus do not eliminate the secretions.
  • The mucous membrane becomes thicker due to the inflammation and thus the inner diameter of the bronchi decreases.
  • Sometimes bronchospasm occurs, i.e. the muscles of the bronches cramp and there are hissing noises during breathing.

Bronchitis can:

  • be acute (short-lived),
  • chronic, i.e. it lasts longer and usually recurs.

At the beginning, the patient feels a general malaise, he has symptoms that could come from a cold or flu.
If the cough lasts longer than a week and the other symptoms disappear, bronchitis can be suspected.

Causes of bronchitis

Normally, acute bronchitis is caused by a viral infection of the bronchi – often it is the same virus that:

  • runny nose (rhinovirus, adenovirus, etc.),
  • Causes influenza.

The disease can also be caused by bacteria, for example:

  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae,
  • Strep.

Bronchitis is part of the body’s immune response to fight the infection. In addition to viruses and bacteria, there are other causes:

  1. smoke from cigarettes;
  2. inhalation of harmful substances or solvents;
  3. smoke in the event of a fire,
  4. gastroesophageal reflux.

Most chronic bronchitis is caused by cigarette smoking.
However, it can also be the result of constant attacks of acute bronchitis. Other responsible factors of this condition are:

  1. Air pollution
  2. Dust
  3. toxic gases,
  4. other industrial flue gases.

Symptoms of bronchitis

The symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis are about the same.

Acute bronchitis
In the following, symptoms are mentioned that can occur in acute bronchitis in children and adults.

  • One of the main signs is a persistent dry cough. The duration can vary and also persist for over two weeks. Dry cough can turn into productive cough with bacterial infection.
  • Gasping breath or shortness of breath are the signs seen in children, especially young children.
  • When exhaling the child, an unusual sound is heard. This sound becomes more clearly audible when the child is sleeping.
  • With increasing infection, the color of the sputum changes from white to dark green or yellow.
    This change can be observed 48 hours after the onset of infection.
  • Chest paindifficulty breathing, and mild fever (accompanied by chills) can be symptoms of advanced infection in adults.
  • Some people experience general weakness and mild headache as a result of the infection.
    Sporting activities become very difficult.
  • The pain behind the sternum is accompanied by a feeling of tightness in the chest. These symptoms occur in cases of high-grade infection, for example, plastic bronchitis.
    Plastic bronchitis is characterized by pronounced narrowing of the large airways due to viscous bronchial secretion.

The parents of young children can recognize and interpret all these symptoms, but they are not able to:

  • Infants
  • Newborn.

Infants are unable to communicate verbally. You can only:

  • cry
  • be irritable.

Is acute bronchitis contagious?

As a rule, the virus is transmitted by air, i.e. by:

This infectious disease can also be transmitted from one person to another through direct contact. The infection can occur when an infected person shakes hands with a healthy person (who is contaminated by secretions).
The virus can enter the organism if the healthy individual touches with his hand on:

  • Mouth
  • Nose
  • Eyes.

How long is bronchitis contagious?

Transmission can take place from a few days to a full week after the onset of symptoms.
Until the doctor has not identified the responsible virus or bacterium, infection should be considered possible in any case.
The risk of infection persists as long as the patient suffers from symptoms of:

  • Cold
  • Influenza.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis affects men more often than women. The main reason is smoking.
In the case of chronic bronchitis, a person may be particularly prone to:

  • Colds
  • Influenza.

Patients suffer from runny nose and cough that persists for a long time.
In cold weather, the cough gets worse.
An observed condition is cyanosis (lips and fingertips are bluish in color). It is the most striking sign.
Man can suffer from:

  • dyspnea and breathlessness;
  • a special whistling sound when breathing.

Some people feel:

In the further course, this disturbance can end as:

These complications can become dangerous and, in some cases, lead to death.
Chronic bronchitis is not contagious.

Chronic asthmatic bronchitis

Inflammation of the bronchi can lead to:

  • narrowing of the airways,
  • difficulty breathing.

Due to the inflammation of the airways, asthma also leads to narrowing of the bronchial diameter. If both disorders occur together, one speaks of asthmatic bronchitis.
Chronic asthmatic bronchitis is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Symptoms of chronic asthmatic bronchitis
The symptoms are very similar to those of asthma and bronchitis:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rigidity and chest pain
  • Respiratory infections (cold and influenza)
  • Pain and irritation of the throat
  • Productive cough over several weeks
  • Extensive infections and symptoms that recur
  • Difficulty speaking out loud
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Thickened mucus consistency compared to acute asthmatic bronchitis

Difference Between Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis

  • In asthma, attacks come and go quickly, except in rare cases of severe asthma.
  • With chronic bronchitis, cough and other symptoms persist for 3 months and occur at least twice a year.

Diagnosis of bronchitis

The doctor listens to the patient with the stethoscope (auscultation).

To confirm bronchitis, he may prescribe:

  • X-ray:
    • to detect lung damage in chronic bronchitis.
    • to exclude or confirm pneumonia.
  • Analysis of sputum. In case of serious symptoms, the doctor may examine the coughed up mucus. Through laboratory analysis, the cause of mucus can be determined:
    • allergy,
    • Whooping cough, an extremely contagious bacterial infection.
  • Spirometry. In this examination, the respiratory or lung volume is measured. With the help of spirometry, asthma and other breathing problems can be ruled out

Difference between Bronchitis and Pneumonia

Symptoms of pneumonia
Pneumonia causes coughing. A dry cough or unproductive cough exists in viral pneumonia. This symptom can gradually turn into a productive cough. With bacterial pneumonia, there is a productive cough. The ejection is:

  • of green colour,
  • purulent.

When coughing, pain is felt in the chest.
Initially, pneumonia can cause flu-like symptoms.

Fever is another symptom of pneumonia. The increase in body temperature can be accompanied by:

Other symptoms include:

Treatment of bronchitis and medications

Usually a virus is the cause, in this case you have to wait and rest for a few days. Medicines do not help here, on the contrary, they aggravate the situation.

If the infection is caused by a bacterial agent, antibiotics are the recommended means of treating the disease.

What antibiotics are used to treat bronchitis?
If bronchitis is not treated in time, recovery times are significantly extended.
Commonly prescribed antibiotics for the treatment of bronchitis are:

Amoxicillin (Infectomox, Augmentin)
Side effects include:

Azithromycin, (Zithromax)
Side effects include:

Clarithromycin, (Clarilind)
Side effects include:

Cefalexin (Cephalexin ratiopharm)
Side effects include:

Doxycycline (DoxyHexal)
Side effects include:

  • increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight,
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestions
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • loss of appetite.

Eryhromycin (Erythrocine)
Side effects include:

  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomit.

In addition to antibiotics, paracetamol (ben-u-ron®) can also be taken for pain and fever.

Diet and nutrition for bronchitis

According to natural medicine, diet can promote or cause infections and inflammation throughout the body.

Food can be divided into:

  • acidifiers (their digestion leads to the production of toxins that increase the acidity of the organism).
  • Base formers (the digestion of these foods stimulates the body’s own formation of bases).


  • Acidic substances have a pH < 7
  • Basic substances have a pH > 7

According to the hygienists, an over-acidified organism full of toxins is the cause of diseases.
The slags are a fertile soil for the reproduction of harmful microorganisms.
People who exercise and follow an alkaline diet do not get sick, because an illness is not a normal state, but usually the result of an inappropriate diet.

Alkaline foods include:

  • fruit and vegetables,
  • seeds, walnuts and hazelnuts,
  • Potatoes
  • Spice plants such as garlic and ginger.

Acid-forming foods are:

  • processed foods: desserts, sauces, etc.
  • Dairy products
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Cereal
  • some legumes (e.g. lentils),
  • Sugar
  • Fungi
  • peanuts and pistachios,
  • stimulating drinks, such as tea and coffee,
  • Alcohol.

For a quick recovery, the patient should eat at least 70-80% alkaline foods.

Natural remedies that can also be used during pregnancy

  1. To relieve symptoms, it is recommended to drink hot liquids based on water, honey, lemon juice, chicken broth, chamomile tea and herbal tea.
  2. Frequent gargling with lukewarm salt water brings relief from a sore throat. A teaspoon of salt in a glass of hot water is enough to relieve strep throat.
  3. Eating raw almonds is another way to effectively counter respiratory infections. Almonds contain lime, magnesium and vitamin E, which help fight lung infections.
  4. Honey acts as a natural antiseptic. The antiviral and antibacterial effect of honey is known worldwide. Eating a teaspoon of manuka honey is an effective remedy for respiratory problems.
  5. Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C for boosting the immune system. To relieve the symptoms of mild bronchitis, you can drink tea with lemon.
  6. Prunes can bring immediate relief from coughs.
  7. To keep the apartment moist, a room humidifier is indispensable, especially if the heating is used in winter.
  8. Until the cough has passed, one should not go swimming. In general, you should not leave the house with a fever.

How long do bronchial infections and coughs last? When do they pass?

  1. Bronchitis that has arisen from seasonal influenza appears suddenly and usually passes in 7-10 days.
  2. Bronchial infections caused by the common cold are not serious and pass within about 7 days.

Smoking and bronchitis

Smokers are more prone to chronic bronchitis, which is not easy to cure.
The habit of smoking causes long-lasting bronchitis:

  • that last more than 3 months
  • and can lead to recurrence.

This phenomenon can persist for several years. Therefore, it is better to quit smoking.

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