Usually, but not always, Bronchitis begins as a viral infection in the nose, sinuses, or throat, and then spreads into the tiny airways of the lungs. Bronchitis can also be a bacterial respiratory infection.
The blocking of lung passageways leads to the most painful and recognizable symptom of Bronchitis: that aching, mucus-filled cough. Additional symptoms include an achy chest, fatigue accompanied by a mild fever, and wheezing/shortness of breath.
Bronchitis can be serious; a powerful, violent cough (your body’s attempt to clear and open the airways) may feel especially painful and may do damage to your lungs. Consult your doctor if you come down with Bronchitis symptoms, particularly if you have heart disease or any underlying lung problems, or if your condition worsens (coughing up blood, a fever that gets too high or lasts more than a few days, or your symptoms worsen and inhibit breathing).
For acute Bronchitis, your doctor is not likely to prescribe antibiotics as it will usually clear up within a week, although you may have a dry cough for a month or more. Chronic Bronchitis is when symptoms last through the majority of three months (usually caused by cigarette smoking). Further, Bronchitis can develop into Pneumonia.
For dealing with chronic Bronchitis, you should stop smoking (if you smoke) and avoid lung irritants such as smoke. Your doctor will consult with you further, and may prescribe an inhaler if you are having trouble getting air into your lungs (signs of not getting enough oxygen include your lips turning blue).
As always, the best way to treat is to prevent. Wash your hands frequently, and fortify your diet with all the necessary nutrients to support a strong immune system. If you already find yourself with the painful, disruptive cough of Bronchitis, then consider how you might ease your systems.
As with many illnesses, with Bronchitis you should drink plenty of water and rest. Resting when you have Bronchitis is particularly important since strenuous activity can incite painful and potentially damaging coughing-so take it easy.