In acute bronchitis, the mucous membrane in the lungs, more precisely in the bronchi, is inflamed. In addition to the typical cough, cold symptoms such as fever, sore throat or aching limbs often occur. Acute bronchitis is usually contagious. The inflammation usually heals by itself within one to two weeks. However, complications can also occur.
Recognize acute bronchitis: These are the symptoms
Mostly viruses are the trigger of acute bronchitis. In adults, these are usually so-called mysoviruses (e.g. parainfluenza and influenza viruses), in children, in addition to parainfluenza viruses, there are also RS viruses, rhinoviruses and adenoviruses. Less frequently, bacteria, fungi or other factors (e.g. inhaled allergens; “acute allergic bronchitis”) trigger bronchitis.
A typical symptom of acute bronchitis is coughing. At the beginning it is usually a dry, irritable cough, often together with a cold. After a few days, the dry cough turns into a productive cough with sputum, which is clear/white in the case of a simple infection and yellowish or greenish in the case of an additional infection with bacteria (“bacterial superinfection”). Sometimes, however, an acute bronchitis also proceeds without mucus formation and sputum.
Caution: If the acute bronchitis is very severe, blood may be found in the sputum. Usually small mucous membrane injuries, which are normally harmless, are responsible for this. Nevertheless, you should have bloody sputum examined by a doctor.
In acute bronchitis, the mucous membrane can become inflamed and swollen, and in some cases the airways become more or less constricted. Experts then speak of a complicated, obstructive or spastic bronchitis (see below). For this reason, one symptom of acute bronchitis can also be shortness of breath. The formation of mucus makes breathing even more difficult in acute bronchitis. Chest pain, a feeling of tightness or a burning sensation behind the breastbone are also common side effects of acute bronchitis. Further signs of this inflammation may be that the great exertion of coughing in acute bronchitis also causes nausea and gag reflexes, headaches and cardiac arrhythmia.
In addition to coughing, other cold symptoms can also occur. If the viruses spread in the body, acute bronchitis can be accompanied by fever, and also
- Limb Pain
- sore throat
- Night sweat
- Swollen lymph nodes in the area of the head
Acute bronchitis is very uncomfortable and sometimes distressing because of chest pain, coughing and other typical symptoms. However, the disease usually persists for a limited period of time. Acute bronchitis usually heals within one to two weeks in adults.
Spastic bronchitis is a complicated form of acute bronchitis, which mainly affects babies and small children. Their bronchi are not yet fully developed, which makes them more susceptible to this disease, also known as obstructive bronchitis. It is called obstructive, i.e. “closing, constricting”, because – in contrast to simple acute bronchitis – the inflamed mucous membrane in the lungs swells considerably and produces a lot of secretion, causing the bronchi to become narrow and congested. When breathing out, whistling, rattling or buzzing noises are produced. Most of the patients are very small and find it extremely difficult to breathe, often resulting in shortness of breath and cramp-like coughing. Make sure you take the child to the doctor! If the airways are narrowed in a spasmodic way, the doctor can prescribe special medication, so-called sympathomimetics, which relax the child. As a rule, these drugs are available in the form of a spray or for inhalation. However, these antispasmodics are of little help if the bronchial tubes are narrowed mainly because the mucous membranes are swollen.