Bronchitis occurs when the lining of the bronchial tubes becomes inflamed, stimulating excessive production of mucus in the airways. The bronchial tubes are important because they carry the air we breathe in from our noses and mouths to our lungs. Bronchitis frequently affects individuals of all ages and can be caused by several factors. For treating the condition, the doctor may recommend patients drink more fluid, get more rest, or purchase an air purifier, among other treatments to reduce mucus and put the body in the healthiest position possible to fight against this illness.
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In many cases, individuals with bronchitis experience a viral infection before developing the illness. According to several sources, a virus is responsible for causing bronchitis in up to ninety-five percent of cases. Bronchitis may be caused by the same viral agents that contribute to the development of the flu and common cold in patients. Rhinovirus, coronavirus, influenza viruses A and C, adenovirus, and metapneumovirus are a few examples of viruses linked to bronchitis.
Symptoms indicating a viral infection include fever, sore throat, coughing, and breathing difficulties. Coughing may persist for several weeks or months, and patients have been reported to cough up white mucus, and sometimes blood, in the process.
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Fumes And Vapors
Exposure to fumes and vapors produced by things like cleaning products, diesel, factories, and cigarettes can lead to bronchitis. A study of 338 patients revealed individuals who were highly exposed to fumes developed symptoms of bronchitis. In addition, researchers in Liverpool found infants whose parents smoked have greater chances of developing bronchitis than infants with parents who don’t smoke.
Other research has suggested vapor from e-cigarettes can double the risk for bronchitis in teenagers, though evidence that verifies the accuracy of this claim has yet to be found. More than likely, researchers would have come up with the theory considering some chemicals used for flavoring in e-cigarettes have been shown to have harmful effects on the lungs.
It’s time to learn about the next common cause of bronchitis.
Air pollution is yet another cause for bronchitis in patients, specifically by inhaling air polluted by chemical compounds such as nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide can be released into the air by power plants as well as transportation like cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, and motorcycles. Air polluted with high levels of nitrogen dioxide is reported to have negative impacts on children’s’ lungs.
Researchers based in Stockholm conducted a study that followed 197 children between four months and four years old. These children were hospitalized because they developed wheezing from breathing difficulties, and their symptoms were linked to bronchitis.
Another study based in the Czech Republic involved the monitoring the effects of nitrogen oxide levels on 1,133 children born from May 1994 to the end of 1998. Researchers also gathered details about the lifestyle and environmental background. The study concluded levels of nitrogen oxides thought to be harmless are actually harmful to children, increasing the possibility of bronchitis.
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A bacterial infection can happen following the occurrence of a virus in the respiratory system. However, these types of infections don’t happen as often. A few bacteria suspected to cause bronchitis are Bordetella pertussis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Streptococcus species. Bordetella pertussis is the root of the highly contagious respiratory disease called pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough. This disease is rare but can have severe symptoms such as a violent cough that may go on for weeks. The reason as to why the disease is also called the whooping cough is because a high-pitched ‘whoop’ sound is produced when the child inhales after a coughing fit. Infection by Bordetella pertussis, Streptococcus species, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae can result in symptoms like a dry cough, sore throat, and high fever.
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Dust And Other Irritants
In some cases, bronchitis is triggered by dust and other irritants, such as pollen and mold. Dust can invade the body through inhalation and attack the bronchial tubes. The dust particles are trapped by the cilia of the mucous membrane, lining the respiratory tract, and released from the body when the person sneezes or coughs. These actions cause the bronchial smooth muscles to contract.
If dust levels are higher than the bronchial tubes can handle, the dust will remain in the respiratory tract, resulting in inflammation. Coughing is caused by irritation of the cough receptors which are located throughout various parts of the respiratory system. The receptors send signals via the vagus nerve to the cough center in the brain.