Respiratory illnesses are incredibly common. In fact, they are some of the most common illnesses diagnosed in the United States. Some individuals may be genetically predisposed toward certain respiratory conditions. Age and gender can also impact a patient's risk of developing these conditions. Individuals may also be more likely to experience a respiratory illness if they live in a highly polluted area or work with toxic fumes without wearing personal protective equipment. Some respiratory illnesses are contagious, which means that individuals can catch them easily from others, triggering an outbreak. Healthcare workers are also at a higher risk if they do not have personal protective equipment.
Treatment for respiratory illnesses depends on which one an individual has. For instance, many patients will take bronchitis medication, such as an acute bronchitis throat lozenge. Medicine for pneumonia is also common. However, cold and flu treatment is often restricted to pain and fever medication as well as home remedies for the flu. Herbal remedies for the common cold are also available. Thus, the best treatment merits understanding the most common respiratory illnesses.
The bronchial tubes move air in and out of the lungs. Bronchitis occurs when the lining of these tubes becomes inflamed. Some patients have acute bronchitis. This tends to resolve in seven to ten days. However, patients may continue to cough for multiple weeks. Other individuals develop chronic bronchitis, which has recurring episodes. The most common signs of bronchitis are a cough and the production of mucus. The mucus might be green, gray-yellow, or clear. In rare cases, it may be blood-streaked. Patients also tend to experience chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and fatigue. There may be chills accompanying a fever.
Acute bronchitis may develop as a result of a common cold. The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking, which leads to constant inflammation and irritation. Chronic bronchitis is one symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is one of the most common conditions that smokers face.