Bronchitis it the most common cause of chronic cough in children. Bronchitis can pose a serious risk to a child’s health. In fact, bronchitis in children is very common, as it is in infants and the elderly, because they have weaker immune systems than adults do. But what exactly is bronchitis and what are bronchitis symptoms to look for and different bronchitis treatment options?
What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is a condition in which the lining of the bronchial tubes that connect the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs becomes inflamed. The bronchial tube lining protects an individual’s respiratory system, which is comprised of the organs and tissues involved in breathing.
Because of this inflammation, bronchitis makes it more difficult for air to pass in and out through the lungs. Bronchitis also causes tissue irritation and an excessive production of mucous in the lining of the bronchial tubes.
There are two types of bronchitis: acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis:
acute. Acute bronchitis usually shows a swift onset of emotions. While it can be severe, symptoms generally only last at most for a few weeks. Viral infection is usually the cause of acute bronchitis. chronic. Chronic bronchitis can range from mild to severe and is more long term, with symptoms lasting from several months to years. In chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes are persistently inflamed and irritated, making the child more vulnerable to bacterial infections of the lungs and airway, including pneumonia. A child is at particular risk for bronchitis-related pneumonia if he is exposed to second hand smoke over a long period of time or if the child smokes.
Children with repeated bouts of bronchitis may actually have asthma.
The most common symptom of bronchitis is a cough that is dry and persistent in nature and that in some cases can bring up thick mucous that is yellow, green or white in color.
Other bronchitis symptoms include:
- feelings of illness
- fever that is usually mid in nature
- tightness or soreness in the chest
Causes of Bronchitis
One of any number of viruses that cause respiratory infection can lead to bronchitis in children, including a cold.
In addition, if a child comes into contact with the germs of person infected with bronchitis, the child is at an increased risk of developing the illness. Bronchitis can be spread either by coughing or by touching the eyes, mouth or nose after coming into contact with the respiratory fluids of an infected person.
The first step in the treatment of bronchitis is diagnosis. A physical exam will be conducted during which the doctor will use a stethoscope to examine the child’s level of congestion as well as whether any wheezing occurs. A spirometry (a type of pulmonary function test that measures breathing) will often also be conducted in order to rule out asthma.
Antibiotics are usually not prescribed because antibiotics can only target bacteria, not viruses, which are the cause of bronchitis.
Bed rest and plenty of fluids will be recommended, in addition to cough medicine to relieve bronchitis symptoms.
The best way to prevent bronchitis is to teach a child to wash her hands before and after eating meals.
In addition, teaching your child about the risks of smoking can help prevent your child from starting to smoke while it is also important if parents do not smoke.