Bronchitis is an inflammatory disease of the respiratory system that affects the mucous membranes in the lungs. Bronchitis inflames the bronchial passageways and infections can range from acute to chronic. If left untreated, chronic bronchitis can develop into a severe adverse respiratory condition.
Exposure to bacteria, viruses, or air pollution can result in the development of the condition. The infection results in the constriction of the bronchioles, the tiny airways in the lungs. Bronchitis causes discomfort with breathing and smokers are most at risk of developing both acute and chronic forms of the disease.
Physicians treat bronchitis with antibiotics. The symptoms clear in approximately 2-weeks, if the treatment is successful. However, chronic bronchitis may last for up to 3-months to a year. Some cases may develop into other severe respiratory conditions that require medical intervention. If you experience any of the following bronchitis symptoms, seek treatment from your doctor as soon as possible.
1. A persistent Cough
The most common reason for the development of bronchitis is a cold or a bout of flu. Infected individuals will experience the onset of an inflamed sinus that develops into a runny nose. As symptoms progress, a post-nasal drip (PND,) is the next phase of the disease.
The PND creates mucus build up in the lungs that clog the bronchial passageways and the bronchioles. As symptoms advance, the infected individual will develop a slight itch or scratching sensation at the back of their throat. After a few days, the infected person will begin to cough lightly in an attempt to clear the airways.
Around 24 to 48-hours later, coughing symptoms intensify, and the individual will begin to experience greater frequency in the coughing reflex. A crackling or wheezing sound accompanies a cough as the lungs try to expel phlegm and mucus from the bronchioles. At this stage, it’s vital for the individual to seek medical help, or symptoms will progress from acute to chronic bronchitis.