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Bronchitis Symptoms & Treatment



Overview


Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: How are they Different?

What is bronchitis?

Bronchitis occurs when the bronchioles (air-carrying tubes in the lungs) are inflamed and make too much mucus. There are two basic types of bronchitis:

  • Chronic bronchitis is defined as cough productive of sputum that persists for three months out of the year for at least two consecutive years. The cough and inflammation may be caused by initial respiratory infection or illness, exposure to tobacco smoke or other irritating substances in the air. Chronic bronchitis can cause airflow obstruction and then is grouped under the term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Acute or short-term bronchitis is more common and usually is caused by a viral infection. Episodes of acute bronchitis can be related to and made worse by smoking. Acute bronchitis could last for 10 to 14 days, possibly causing symptoms for three weeks.

Excess mucus in the bronchial tubes

What is the difference between bronchitis and pneumonia?

In terms of symptoms, these two diseases may seem very similar. Both cause cough, fever, fatigue, and a heavy feeling in your chest. Bronchitis can sometimes progress to pneumonia.

Despite similarities, the conditions are different. First, bronchitis involves the bronchial tubes, while pneumonia affects the alveoli, or the air sacs in the lungs. Second, pneumonia symptoms are usually much worse. In addition, pneumonia can be life-threatening, especially in older people and other vulnerable groups.

If your symptoms do not get better in a week or so, it is best to contact your doctor.



Symptoms and Causes

What causes bronchitis?

Usually, acute bronchitis is brought on by a viral infection, though it may also be caused by a bacterial infection. The flu and colds are examples of viral infections.

Chronic bronchitis is usually, but not always, caused by smoking tobacco. It can also be caused by exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust, or toxic gases. Your risk can be increased by family history of bronchitis, having asthma and allergies, and having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

Symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • A cough that is frequent and produces mucus.
  • A lack of energy.
  • A wheezing sound when breathing (may or may not be present).
  • A fever (may or may not be present).
  • Shortness of breath.

Is bronchitis contagious?

Acute bronchitis can be contagious because it is usually caused by infection with a virus or bacteria. Chronic bronchitis is not likely to be contagious because it is a condition usually caused by long-term irritation of airways.

How long are you contagious if you have acute bronchitis?

If you have begun taking antibiotics for bronchitis, you usually stop being contagious 24 hours after starting the medication. If you have a viral form of bronchitis, antibiotics will not work. You will be contagious for at least a few days and possibly for as long as a week.

How is acute bronchitis spread?

If bronchitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it is spread the same ways that colds are spread—by germs traveling through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. You can breathe the germs in if you are close enough. You could also touch something that has germs on it, like a door, and then transfer the germs by touching your nose, mouth or eyes. That is why good hand washing practices are important for adults and children.



Diagnosis and Tests

How is bronchitis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will do a physical examination and take a medical history. They may ask if you have had a cold recently, how long your cough has lasted, and if you produce mucus when you cough. In addition, they may order a chest X-ray, tests for viruses in your upper respiratory secretions or blood tests.



Management and Treatment

How is bronchitis treated?

The treatment for bronchitis depends on what type you have. If you have acute bronchitis, you might not need any treatment. Or you might use over-the-counter drugs that break up mucus or that treat fever or pain. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.

If you have chronic bronchitis, treatment will be different. Chronic bronchitis, considered to be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is not curable. Symptoms can be treated using a variety of methods, including drugs, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, surgery, or a combination of these. Your doctor might prescribe a mucus clearing device, also called an airway clearance device, to help you bring up mucus easily.

What medications are used to treat chronic bronchitis/COPD?

Drug classes that may be used to treat chronic bronchitis/COPD include:

  • Antibiotics to treat worsening coughs, breathlessness, and mucus production caused by infections.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids (also called steroids), to reduce swelling and mucus output. Steroids can have many different types of side effects, including swelling in feet and hands, mood changes, increased appetite and weight gain, trouble sleeping, and more serious ones such as diabetes, higher risk of infections, osteoporosis, and cataracts.
  • Bronchodilators to keep muscles around the airways relaxed so that airways stay open. There are long-acting and short-acting bronchodilators. Short-acting products are often called rescue drugs because they act quickly, but wear off in a couple of hours.
  • Combination drugs that contain a mix of steroids and long- or short-acting bronchodilators

How can I take care of myself?

If you have bronchitis, you might consider these home remedies:

  • Drink fluids every one to two hours, unless your doctor has restricted your fluid intake.
  • Rest.
  • Don’t smoke. Stay away from all kinds of smoke.
  • Relieve body aches by taking aspirin or acetaminophen.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on ways to help you clear your mucus.
  • If you have a cough that is severe or keeps you from sleeping, your doctor may prescribe a cough medicine to suppress (or quiet) your cough. If you have a dry cough or difficulty coughing out the mucus, your doctor may also prescribe an expectorant to help loosen and cough out the mucus.
  • If you have a moist, productive cough (with mucus), note how often you cough, as well as the color and amount of the sputum (mucus). Report this to your doctor.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Try herbal teas or lemon water with 1-2 tablespoons of honey to provide comfort.



Prevention

What can I do to reduce my risk of getting bronchitis?

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Insist that others do not smoke in your home.
  • Stay away from or try to reduce your time around things that irritate your airway (nose, throat, and lungs). Irritants can include dust, mold, pet dander, air pollution, smoke, and cleaners.
  • If you catch a cold, get plenty of rest.
  • Take your medicine exactly the way your doctor tells you.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. If you are not able to use soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on the flu and pneumonia vaccines.



Outlook / Prognosis

What is the outlook for people with bronchitis?

People who have acute bronchitis generally have very few problems with their recovery as long as they get the treatment they need. You can expect to stay home from work or school for a few days while you are recovering.

Although chronic bronchitis/COPD cannot be cured, its symptoms can be treated and your quality of life can be improved. Your prognosis, or outlook, for the future will depend on how well your lungs are functioning and your symptoms. It will also depend on how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.



Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

It is often difficult to know whether you have a cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia because symptoms are similar. See your healthcare provider if you have:

  • A cold that lasts more than two to three weeks.
  • A fever greater than 102° F.
  • A fever that lasts more than five days.
  • A cough that produces blood.
  • Any shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • A change in the color of mucus.

If you have chronic bronchitis/COPD, choose lifestyle and activity changes that promote mental and physical health. Tips include:

  • Working as long as you are able to do so.
  • Managing your emotional health. Talk to a counselor if you need to do so. Make positive changes, like going outside, staying involved with friends and hobbies, getting a good night’s sleep and following suggestions of your healthcare provider.
  • Being a partner in your healthcare plan.
  • Asking for support from family and friends.
  • Managing stress by exercising and practicing relaxation methods.
  • Eating well.

Bronchitis | Cedars-Sinai

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Overview

The bronchi are the two main airways that branch down from the trachea (the airway that starts in the back of the throat and goes into the chest). When the parts of the walls of the bronchi become swollen and tender (inflamed), the condition is called bronchitis. The inflammation causes more mucus to be produced, which narrows the airway and makes breathing more difficult.

There are several types of bronchitis:

  • Acute bronchitis can last for up to 90 days
  • Chronic bronchitis can last for months or sometimes years. If chronic bronchitis decreases the amount of air flowing to the lungs, it is considered to be a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Infectious bronchitis usually occurs in the winter due to viruses, including the influenza virus. Even after a viral infection has passed, the irritation of the bronchi can continue to cause symptoms. Infectious bronchitis can also be due to bacteria, especially if it follows an upper respiratory viral infection. It is possible to have viral and bacterial bronchitis at the same time.
  • Irritative bronchitis (or industrial or environmental bronchitis) is caused by exposure to mineral or vegetable dusts or fumes from strong acids, ammonia, some organic solvents, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and bromine

Symptoms

Symptoms will vary somewhat depending on the underlying cause of the bronchitis. When the bronchitis is due to an infection the symptoms may include:

  • A slight fever of 100 to 101°F with severe bronchitis. The fever may rise to 101 to 102°F and last three to five days even after antibiotics are started.
  • A runny nose
  • Aches in the back and muscles
  • Chills
  • Coughing that starts out dry is often the first sign of acute bronchitis. Small amounts of white mucus may be coughed up if the bronchitis is viral. If the color of the mucus changes to green or yellow, it may be a sign that a bacterial infection has also set in. The cough is usually the last symptom to clear up and may last for weeks.
  • Feeling tired
  • Shortness of breath that can be triggered by inhaling cold, outdoor air or smelling strong odors. This happens because the inflamed bronchi may narrow for short periods of time, cutting down the amount of air that enters the lungs. Wheezing, especially after coughing, is common.
  • Sore throat

Bronchitis does not usually lead to serious complications (e. g., acute respiratory failure or pneumonia) unless the patient has a chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.

Causes and Risk Factors

An infection or irritating substances, gases or particles in the air can cause acute bronchitis. Smokers and people with chronic lung disease are more prone to repeated attacks of acute bronchitis. This is because the mucus in their airways doesn’t drain well. Others at risk of getting acute bronchitis repeatedly are people with chronic sinus infections or allergies; children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids; and people who don’t eat properly.

Diagnosis

To diagnose bronchitis, a physician performs a physical examination, listens for wheezing with a stethoscope and evaluates symptoms – making sure they are not due to pneumonia. A sample of sputum from a cough may be examined because its color – clear or white versus yellow or green – may suggest whether the bronchitis is due to a viral infection or a bacterial infection, respectively. A chest X-ray may be needed to rule out pneumonia, and if the cough lasts more than two months, a chest X-ray may be done to rule out another lung disease, such as lung cancer.

Treatment

Depending on the symptoms and cause of the bronchitis, treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics may be ordered to treat acute bronchitis that appears to be caused by a bacterial infection or for people who have other lung diseases that put them at a greater risk of lung infections
  • Bronchodilators, which open up the bronchi, may be used on a short-term basis to open airways and reduce wheezing
  • Cool-mist humidifiers or steam vaporizers can be helpful for wheezing or shortness of breath. Leaning over a bathroom sink full of hot water with a towel loosely draped over the head can also be help open the airways.
  • Corticosteroids given in an inhaler are sometimes prescribed to help the cough go away, reduce inflammation and make the airways less reactive. They are most often given when the cough remains after the infection is no longer present.
  • Cough medicines should be used carefully. While they can be helpful to suppress a dry, bothersome cough, they should not be used to suppress a cough that produces a lot of sputum. When the cough is wet, expectorants can help thin the secretions and make them easier to cough up. When a lot of mucus is present, coughing is important to clear the lungs of fluid.
  • For viral bronchitis, antibiotics will not be effective. If influenza causes the bronchitis, treatment with antiviral drugs may be helpful.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be used for pain relief and fever reduction. Children with bronchitis should not be given aspirin; instead they should take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Plenty of fluids – enough to keep the urine pale (except for the first urination of the day, when it is usually darker)
  • Rest, especially if a fever is present

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

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What Helps You Feel Better When You Have Bronchitis?

Your bronchial tubes, which carry air to your lungs, can get infected and swollen. This is called bronchitis. When you’ve got it, you probably have a bad cough, lots of mucus, and maybe some general cold symptoms like body aches or chills.

In some cases, you might get medicine from your doctor. Since most bronchitis is caused by viruses that do not respond to antibiotics, your doctor may recommend over the counter medications to treat your symptoms. But more often you’ll just have to ride it out. As you do that, some good old-fashioned self-care can help you feel better.

How to Ease Your Symptoms

There are two types of bronchitis — “acute” and “chronic.” Acute bronchitis is more common and usually goes away on its own within a few weeks. Chronic bronchitis keeps coming back or doesn’t go away at all. It is almost always caused by smoking.

With either type, the best approach is to avoid things that irritate your lungs:

  • If you smoke, the most important thing you can do is stop. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about what might work best for you.
  • Avoid dust, chemical fumes, smoke from other people, and anything else that can bother your lungs. If you can’t avoid these things, try wearing a mask.
  • Wear a mask if cold air triggers your cough or makes you short of breath.
  • if you have seasonal allergies, take an antihistamine when your allergies are bad.

Steam is also helpful, since it can loosen up all that mucus. You also might want to:

  • Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water.
  • Take a hot shower.
  • Use Vicks Vapor Rub on your chest
  • Use a humidifier (Make sure to clean it as directed so bacteria and fungi don’t grow inside it. ).

Relief for Acute Bronchitis

You can start with these basic steps:

Continued

For your cough: It’s best to stay away from cough medicine unless your cough keeps you awake at night. Your cough helps clear that gunk out of your lungs. When it comes to kids, avoid cough medicine for those under 4 years old and check with your doctor about giving it to older children.

Instead of cough medicine, you can:

  • Take throat lozenges that don’t have medicine in them (Avoid these with young children as they could cause choking.).
  • Try a mixture of honey and lemon or a spoonful of honey (Don’t give honey to children under 1 year old).
  • if your cough is think and you are having trouble getting the phlegm out, try guaifenesin over the counter (it comes as a pill or liquid) to loosen it up.

Relief for Chronic Bronchitis

Chronicx bronchitis is long term inflammation of the bronchi and is common among smokers. In addition to quitting smoking, you can get relief by making some lifestyle changes, focus on your breathing, and do your best not to get colds or the flu. Some things to think about and do:

  • Diet: Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can also eat meats low in fat, chicken, fish, and low-fat or nonfat dairy.
  • Exercise: Along with a good diet, exercise will keep your weight in check. This is a big deal, because more weight makes it harder to breathe. Also, the muscles you use for breathing get stronger when you exercise. You can start with a slow, 15-minute walk three times a week, then do a little more at a time. Your doctor can help you come up with a plan that works for you.
  • Pursed-lip breathing: This can help slow down the fast breathing that sometimes comes with chronic bronchitis. First, take a deep breath in. Then, purse your lips like you’re about to kiss someone and breathe out slowly through your mouth. This type of breathing props your airways open and may make it easier for you to clear out thick mucus with a good cough.
  • Try to avoid colds and flu: Do your best to keep your distance from people who have a cold or the flu, and wash your hands often. Get an annual flu shot.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Call your doctor if your cough:

  • Turns up mucus that’s yellow or green
  • Keeps you awake at night
  • Lasts more than 3 weeks
  • Produces blood

You’ll also want to call your doctor if you have a cough and:

  • A foul-tasting fluid in our mouth — this could be reflux
  • Fever over 100.4 F
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath

If you have chronic bronchitis, your cough will go on for months. It’s best to check in with your doctor regularly.

You may also have times where your symptoms get worse. If you have chronic bronchitis, you can still get acute bronchitis with worsening cough and mucus. You’ll want to see your doctor then, too, to see if you need an antibiotic.

Acute Bronchitis | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What is acute bronchitis?

Bronchitis is inflammation of the breathing tubes. These airways are called bronchi. This inflammation causes increased mucus production and other changes. Although there are several different types of bronchitis, the most common are acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis may also be called a chest cold.

Most symptoms of acute bronchitis last for up to 2 weeks. The cough can last for up to 8 weeks in some people. Chronic bronchitis lasts a long time. It is more common among smokers.

What causes acute bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. This is most often the same viruses that cause colds and the flu. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection, or by physical or chemical agents that are breathed in. These may include dusts, allergens, and strong fumes, including those from chemical cleaning compounds or tobacco smoke.

Acute bronchitis may come after a common cold or other viral infections in the upper respiratory tract. It may also occur in people with chronic sinusitis, allergies, or those with enlarged tonsils and adenoids. It can be serious in people with lung or heart diseases. Pneumonia is a complication that can follow bronchitis.

What are the symptoms acute bronchitis?

The following are the most common symptoms of acute bronchitis. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Back and muscle pain
  • Cough, first dry (non-productive), later, a lot of mucus is produced
  • Chest soreness
  • Chills
  • Feeling tired and achy
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Slight fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing

The symptoms of acute bronchitis may look like other conditions or medical problems. Talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is acute bronchitis diagnosed?

Healthcare providers can often diagnose acute bronchitis by taking a medical history and doing physical exam. Tests may be done to rule out other diseases, such as pneumonia or asthma. Any of these tests may be used to help confirm a diagnosis:

  • Chest X-rays. A test that uses invisible radiation beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs, including the lungs.
  • Arterial blood gas. This blood test is used to analyze the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood.
  • Pulse oximetry. An oximeter is a small machine that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. To get this measurement, a small sensor is taped or clipped on a finger or toe. When the machine is on, a small red light can be seen in the sensor. The sensor is painless and the red light does not get hot.
  • Cultures of nasal discharge and sputum. Testing the sputum you cough up or swab from your nose may be done to find and identify the microorganism causing the infection.
  • Pulmonary function tests. These are tests that help to measure the ability of the lungs to move air in and out of the lungs. The tests are usually done with special machines that you breathe into.

How is acute bronchitis treated?

Acute bronchitis is usually mild and does not cause complications. The symptoms often resolve on their own and lung function goes back to normal.

In most cases, antibiotics are not needed to treat acute bronchitis. That’s because most of the infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. If it has progressed to pneumonia, then antibiotics may be necessary.

Treatment is aimed at treating the symptoms, and may include:

  • Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Cough medicine
  • Humidifying the air
  • Increased fluid intake
  • Pain relievers and fever reducers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Quitting smoking

Avoid antihistamines because they dry up the secretions and can make the cough worse.

What are the complications of acute bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis can worsen and progress to chronic bronchitis or pneumonia. If this happens, a different treatment may be necessary.

Can bronchitis be prevented?

Acute bronchitis can’t always be prevented. However, there are shots you can get to prevent its complications, such as pneumonia.

Check with your healthcare provider about getting the flu and pneumococcal shots. Getting a flu shot every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia. The pneumococcal shot can protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia.

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease. However, children younger than age 2, adults ages 65 and older, people with certain medical conditions, and smokers are at the highest risk.

When should I call my health care provider?

Most often, bronchitis resolves on its own. If your symptoms worsen or don’t get better over time, call your healthcare provider.

Key points

  • Bronchitis is inflammation of the breathing tubes. These airways are called bronchi. There are several different types of bronchitis. The two most common are acute and chronic.
  • Acute bronchitis is usually caused by the same viruses that cause colds and the flu. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection, or by physical or chemical agents that are breathed into the lungs.
  • The most common symptoms for acute bronchitis include cough, chest soreness, runny nose, feeling tired and achy, headache, chills, slight fever, and sore throat.
  • Healthcare providers can often diagnose acute bronchitis by taking a medical history and doing physical exam. Blood tests, breathing tests, and imaging tests may also be used.
  • In most cases, antibiotics are not needed to treat acute bronchitis. If it progresses to pneumonia, then antibiotics may be necessary. Treatment is aimed at managing the symptoms.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your healthcare provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.

Chronic Bronchitis Treatment, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Causes

Mid-January this year I started a cough with tickle in my throat. This continued unchanged until early February then cough with some mucus began worsening. The week prior to February 10, I had begun to cough hard and often, with increasing mucus. Cough continued, improving then worsening. I was taking a Tussin DM cough syrup and Mucinex cough or cold and flu. This kept the cough bearable during the day and with the pills every 12 hours and cough syrup every 4, I could sleep in 4 hour stints. It would get better then worsen. February 22 I had to fly 3 hours from Indiana to a ski resort in Colorado. The day of the flight the cough worsened tremendously and mucus increased, thickened and got greener. I tried hard not to cough on the flight and coughed into my wrap when I did. Some speculate the altitude change worsened it, I don’t know. Our 3rd day there, I had chills and a fever of about 99.1. I was ready to go to a clinic but my daughter used the internet to diagnose bronchitis, I decided I could tough that out. Mucus was profuse, I had a lot of sinus mucus in addition. I tried to keep my distance from family members in the condominium and protect fellow passengers on the return fight. (Happily my family did not catch anything from me.) Back home on February 26, it seemed a little better. I was still using my OTC regimen. From Monday to Friday it worsened significantly until my cough was so bad and so much mucus I couldn’t breathe at times. I’m not sure if the fever came and went or was steady but when I checked it’s be under 100. Scared, I finally went to a clinic. I was diagnosed with bronchitis, not yet pneumonia, but close. I was given an antibiotic, albuterol inhaler and could have had prednisone but turned it down. I began improvement and the inhaler saved me from uncontrollable coughing spasms and extremely difficulty to breathe. It was horrible, it is hard to describe. The antibiotic began to work immediately and I was well on the road to mending soon. The cough lessened, the mucus has lessened significantly and grown almost milky with little yellow. But on March 26, close to 2 months since the initial cough and almost a month since bronchitis diagnosis, I am using the inhaler once or twice in 24 hours and no other medicine but still have a deep uncontrollable tickling cough. I have little energy and tire easily but since it has been such a long time I wonder if the bronchitis is making me tired or if I am just lazy using it as a cop out. I wish I knew what is going on and if I’m getting well or teetering on the verge of worsening again.

Bronchitis vs. Pneumonia: The Connection and Differences

Acute bronchitis is a condition in which the lining of your bronchial tubes (the passages that carry air to and from your lungs) become inflamed. This condition usually develops as a result of a viral infection like a cold or the flu, and it typically gets better in about one to two weeks. (This is different from chronic bronchitis, which is a condition that does not go away and is marked by a recurring cough and other symptoms that can be managed but not cured.) (3,4)

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. When you have pneumonia, the air sacs of the lungs (alveoli) fill up with fluid or pus. While anyone can get pneumonia, some people — such as children, the elderly, people with asthma, and individuals with chronic disease — are at an increased risk of developing this lung condition. (1,5,6)

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Pneumonia in Kids

Both bronchitis and pneumonia involve inflammation in the chest (though that inflammation occurs in different parts of the chest for each one). And both conditions share some common symptoms: (1,2,5,7,8)

  • Cough (often accompanied by the production of mucus)
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath that can get worse when you’re active
  • Fever and chills

Bronchitis can also, however, bring on chest discomfort and wheezing.

And pneumonia can bring on these symptoms not usually linked to bronchitis: (7,8,9)

  • Excessive sweating and clammy skin
  • Suddenly feeling worse after cold or flu symptoms go away
  • Sharp pain in the chest, especially when breathing deeply or coughing
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Confusion
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting

While symptoms for either bronchitis or pneumonia can range from being mild to serious enough to require hospitalization, symptoms such as fever, breathing problems, and chest pain tend to be more severe with pneumonia.

In people with pneumonia, the alveoli fill with pus and other fluids and prevent oxygen from reaching the bloodstream; when there’s too little oxygen in the blood, the body cannot function properly, increasing the risk of death. (1,10)

Bronchitis – NHS

Bronchitis is an infection of the main airways of the lungs (bronchi), causing them to become irritated and inflamed.

The main airways branch off on either side of your windpipe (trachea).

They lead to smaller and smaller airways inside your lungs called bronchioles.

The walls of the main airways produce mucus to trap dust and other particles that could otherwise cause irritation.

Most cases of bronchitis happen when an infection irritates and inflames the airways, causing them to produce more mucus than usual.

Your body tries to shift this extra mucus through coughing.

Bronchitis can be described as being either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis is temporary inflammation of the airways that causes a cough and mucus. It lasts up to 3 weeks.

It can affect people of all ages, but mostly happens in children under the age of 5.

It’s more common in winter and often comes on after a common cold, sore throat or the flu.

Chronic bronchitis is a daily productive cough that lasts for 3 months of the year and for at least 2 years in a row.

It’s 1 of a number of lung conditions, including emphysema, that are collectively known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It mostly affects adults over the age of 40.

It’s important that you stop smoking if you have bronchitis.

Cigarette smoke and the chemicals in cigarettes make bronchitis worse and increase your risk of developing chronic bronchitis and COPD.

A GP can help you give up smoking.

You can also call the NHS Smokefree helpline for advice on 0300 123 1044, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

Information:

Coronavirus advice

If you have bronchitis and you’re worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and bronchitis from the British Lung Foundation.

Symptoms of bronchitis

The main symptom of acute bronchitis is a hacking cough, which may bring up clear, yellow-grey or greenish mucus (phlegm).

Other symptoms are similar to those of the common cold or sinusitis, and may include:

  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • aches and pains
  • tiredness

If you have acute bronchitis, your cough may last for several weeks after other symptoms have gone.

You may also find that the continual coughing makes your chest and stomach muscles sore.

Some people may have shortness of breath or wheezing as a result of inflamed airways.

But this is more common with long-term (chronic) bronchitis.

When to see a GP

Most cases of acute bronchitis can be easily treated at home with rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and plenty of fluids.

You only need to see a GP if your symptoms are severe or unusual.

For example, see a GP if:

  • your cough is severe or lasts longer than 3 weeks
  • you have a high temperature for more than 3 days – this may be a sign of flu or a more serious condition, such as pneumonia
  • you cough up mucus streaked with blood
  • you have an underlying heart or lung condition, such as asthma, heart failure or emphysema
  • you’re becoming more breathless
  • you have had repeated episodes of bronchitis

A GP may need to rule out other lung infections, such as pneumonia, which has symptoms similar to those of bronchitis.

If they think you may have pneumonia, you’ll probably need a chest X-ray and a sample of mucus may be taken for testing.

If a GP thinks you might have an underlying condition, they may also suggest that you have a lung function test.

You’ll be asked to take a deep breath and blow into a device called a spirometer, which measures the volume of air in your lungs.

Decreased lung capacity can indicate an underlying health problem.

Causes of bronchitis

Viral and bacterial infections

Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus. Less often, it’s caused by a bacteria.

In most cases, bronchitis is caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold or flu.

The virus is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when someone coughs or sneezes.

These droplets typically spread about 1m. They hang suspended in the air for a while, then land on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours.

Anyone who touches these surfaces can spread the virus further by touching something else.

Find out more about how cold and flu germs spread

Breathing in irritant substances

Bronchitis can also be triggered by breathing in irritant substances, such as smog, chemicals in household products or tobacco smoke.

Smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis. It can affect people who inhale secondhand smoke, as well as those who smoke themselves.

People with chronic bronchitis often develop another smoking-related lung disease called emphysema, where the air sacs inside the lungs become damaged, causing shortness of breath.

If you smoke, try to stop straight away as smoking aggravates bronchitis and increases your risk of developing emphysema. 

Stopping smoking while you have bronchitis can also be the perfect opportunity to quit altogether.

Find out more about stop smoking treatments

Occupational exposure

You may also be at risk of chronic bronchitis and other types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) if you’re often exposed to materials that can damage your lungs, such as:

  • grain dust
  • textiles (fabric fibres)
  • ammonia
  • strong acids
  • chlorine

This is sometimes known as occupational bronchitis. It usually eases once you’re no longer exposed to the irritant substance.

Find out more about the causes of COPD

Treating bronchitis

In most cases, acute bronchitis clears up by itself within a few weeks without the need for treatment.

In the meantime, you should drink lots of fluid and get plenty of rest.

In some cases, the symptoms of bronchitis can last much longer. If symptoms last for at least 3 months, it’s known as chronic bronchitis.

There’s no cure for chronic bronchitis, but some lifestyle changes can help ease your symptoms, such as:

There are several medicines to relieve symptoms.

Medicines called bronchodilators and steroids “open up” the airways and can be prescribed as an inhaler or as tablets.

Mucolytic medicines thin the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up.

Managing symptoms at home

If you have acute bronchitis:

  • get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of fluid – this helps prevent dehydration and thins the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up
  • treat headaches, a high temperature, and aches and pains with paracetamol or ibuprofen – although ibuprofen is not recommended if you have asthma

Beware of cough medicines

There’s little evidence that cough medicines work.

Find out more about treating coughs

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has recommended that over-the-counter cough medicines should not be given to children under the age of 6.

Children aged 6 to 12 should only use them on the advice of a doctor or pharmacist.

As an alternative to an over-the-counter cough medicine, try making your own mixture of honey and lemon, which can help soothe a sore throat and ease your cough.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are not routinely prescribed for bronchitis because it’s normally caused by a virus.

Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, and prescribing them when they’re unnecessary can, over time, make bacteria more resistant to antibiotic treatment.

Find out more about antibiotic resistance

A GP will only prescribe antibiotics if you have an increased risk of developing complications, such as pneumonia.

Antibiotics may also be recommended for:

  • premature babies
  • elderly people over the age of 80
  • people with a history of heart, lung, kidney or liver disease
  • people with a weakened immune system, which could be the result of an underlying condition or a side effect of a treatment like steroids
  • people with cystic fibrosis

If you’re prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis, it’s likely to be a 5-day course of amoxicillin or doxycycline.

Side effects of these drugs are uncommon, but include feeling sick, being sick and diarrhoea.

Complications of bronchitis

Pneumonia is the most common complication of bronchitis.

It happens when the infection spreads further into the lungs, causing the tiny air sacs inside the lungs to fill up with fluid.

About 1 in 20 cases of bronchitis lead to pneumonia.

People at an increased risk of developing pneumonia include:

  • elderly people
  • people who smoke
  • people with other health conditions, such as heart, liver or kidney disease
  • people with a weakened immune system

Mild pneumonia can usually be treated with antibiotics at home. More severe cases may require admission to hospital.

Page last reviewed: 07 August 2019
Next review due: 07 August 2022

90,000 Is bronchitis not so bad? – Euromed clinic

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial mucosa (bronchial tree). Also, in children of the first year of life, bronchiolitis occurs as an independent disease – inflammation of the walls of the bronchioles – the farthest and smallest bronchi.

According to the form of the course, bronchitis is divided into acute and chronic.

Chronic bronchitis is a chronic inflammation of the bronchial tissue. Chronic bronchitis is considered if the cough continues for at least three months a year for two consecutive years.
According to the etiology of (causes of occurrence), viral, bacterial and allergic bronchitis are distinguished.

More than 80% of bronchitis is viral, infection occurs by airborne droplets, and proceeds as usual ARVI with the difference that the viruses that cause bronchitis prefer to “settle” in the tissue of the bronchi.

Symptoms of bronchitis

  • Bronchitis has symptoms classic for any ARVI:
  • Increased body temperature
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, noisy breathing (not always) 90 020

  • Crepitant (crackling) and quiet wheezing rales
  • Cough

The main and main symptom of bronchitis is cough. It can be dry or wet, depending on the form of the disease and the stage of its course.
One of the options for the course of bronchitis in children is obstructive bronchitis – this is a condition in which there is a spasm of the bronchi, the mucous membrane swells, it becomes difficult to pass sputum – it accumulates in the bronchi, causing difficulty in breathing. Spasm of the bronchi also contributes to difficulty breathing – this is the main danger of obstructive bronchitis – the baby begins to choke. Obstructive bronchitis is characterized by a noisy whistling exhalation.

Diagnostics of bronchitis

No X-ray examination or additional tests are needed to diagnose bronchitis. To make a diagnosis, the doctor just needs to carry out auscultation – to listen to the lungs with the help of a phonendocop – an experienced pediatrician will immediately “hear bronchitis”.

Additional examinations are prescribed in order to determine the type of bronchitis – viral or bacterial – the appointment of therapy depends on this. As you know, antibiotics do not work on viruses, therefore they are prescribed only if the doctor believes that bronchitis is of a bacterial nature.A blood test can report this. Also, the pediatrician determines the type of bronchitis by collecting anamnesis (medical history): how long has the child been sick, how the disease is progressing, how long has it been sick last time, what was it treated, etc.

X-rays with bronchitis can be prescribed in order to exclude pneumonia – a possible complication of this disease. Unfortunately, it is difficult to diagnose pneumonia in young children without X-rays – local changes in some segments of the lungs cannot always be heard.

How to treat bronchitis

There is no universal treatment regimen for bronchitis.
The choice of therapy depends on many factors: the type of bronchitis (viral or bacterial), duration, characteristics of the course of the disease, cough (it can be dry, wet, only in sleep or after sleep, etc.), the condition of the child.
When treating bronchitis, it is very important that the room where the child is kept maintains normal air humidity (40-60%).It is necessary to protect the patient from tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke with bronchitis is very dangerous).

Do you need antibiotics for bronchitis?

Most cases of bronchitis have viral etiology . In this case, the appointment of antibiotics is not required. Antibiotic therapy is prescribed by a doctor when he has established that bronchitis is bacterial in nature – according to the results of a blood test or according to clinical data.

Can antitussives be used?

A severe cough is exhausting for both the baby and family members.Of course, I want to alleviate the child’s condition by giving him a drug that relieves cough. N o It is absolutely not worth doing this without a doctor’s recommendation! Why?
Firstly , there are a great variety of antitussive drugs, and it is difficult to find the right one on your own. There is no drug that can be used from the beginning to the end of the disease – the active ingredient is selected depending on the stage.
Secondly, unreasonable selection of an antitussive drug can provoke complications, for example: you gave your child a medicine that suppresses cough during the period when sputum begins to separate, because of this he cannot get rid of sputum, it stagnates and leads to pneumonia …
Thirdly, children’s preparations are produced mainly in the form of syrups containing fragrances, flavorings, preservatives, stabilizers, etc. – these components often cause allergies.

What to pay special attention to

If the child’s condition worsens or new symptoms appear

  • The cough does not go away after a month
  • Bronchitis recurs (more than three episodes per year) 90 020

In these cases, be sure to show the child to the pediatrician!

SEPARATE
Do I need to see a doctor for a common ARI?
Small children can get sick with ARI / ARVI 8-12 times a year – and this is normal, since they develop immunity, their body is just getting to know and learning to resist many viruses and bacteria.And parents, already accustomed to endless colds, often treat the child on their own – because they see no reason to visit the doctor every time the child falls ill.
But the problem is that only a doctor can determine whether your child has a really banal ARI that does not require medication and intervention in its course, or a more serious condition. In children, all processes go quickly, not all diseases have an acute onset, and without the supervision of an experienced doctor, it is very easy to miss a complication or a more serious disease: the same bronchitis, tracheitis, pneumonia, etc.In addition, children usually play, jump and run even with a serious illness, which can mislead parents about the actual seriousness of the illness.
Therefore, if a child is sick, be sure to show it to the pediatrician – after all, only a doctor can objectively assess the condition of your baby!

Inhalation: benefits and harms
Nowadays, nebulizers are extremely popular among parents – devices for carrying out inhalation. Doctors unanimously agree that inhalation is a good thing.Using this device, we can deliver the medicine directly to the bronchi, which reduces the load on the gastrointestinal tract and the circulatory system and ensures a fast action of the drug. But! The nebulizer can only be used when there is an indication for this and when using certain medications prescribed by a doctor.
Nebulizers are designed to deliver medication to the middle parts of the respiratory system, that is, they are effective for bronchitis and asthma. They should be used with caution in case of an upper respiratory tract disease (common ARI or ARVI).Why? Firstly, because the drugs used to treat the lower respiratory tract are not effective in the inflammatory process in the nasal cavity and pharynx, and secondly, for the use of a nebulizer for diseases of the upper respiratory tract, there are a number of conditions and rules that can only be reported to you doctor.

90,000 Antibiotic treatment for people with acute bronchitis

Review question

We wanted to know if antibiotics improve outcomes in people with acute bronchitis.We also assessed the potential adverse effects of antibiotic therapy.

Relevance

Acute bronchitis is a clinical diagnosis (based on medical signs and symptoms reported by patients) of an acute cough that may or may not be accompanied by coughing up mucus or phlegm. Acute bronchitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Symptoms usually last two weeks, but can last up to eight weeks. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat acute bronchitis, but they can have adverse effects, such as nausea and diarrhea, and cause more serious reactions in those with allergies.There is no practical test to distinguish between bacterial and viral bronchitis.

Research characteristics

We included randomized controlled trials comparing any antibiotic therapy with placebo or no treatment in people with acute bronchitis or acute productive cough without chronic lung disease. We included 17 trials with 5099 participants. Co-treatment with other drugs to relieve symptoms was allowed if they were given to all study participants.

Highlights

Our evidence is current as of 13 January 2017.

We found limited evidence of clinical benefit to support the use of antibiotics for acute bronchitis. Some people who were treated with antibiotics recovered slightly faster with fewer cough-related outcomes. However, this difference may not be practical as it amounts to a half day difference over a period of 8-10 days.There was a small but significant increase in adverse effects in people treated with antibiotics. Among the most common reported side effects were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and rash.

This review suggests that there is limited patient benefit in antibiotic use for acute bronchitis without comorbidities. More research is needed on the impact of antibiotic use on acute bronchitis in frail elderly people with multiple chronic conditions that may not have been included in existing trials.Antibiotic use needs to be considered in the context of potential side effects, medicalization of the self-resolving condition, the cost of antibiotic treatment and, in particular, the associated harm at the population level due to increased antibiotic resistance.

Quality of evidence

The quality of these trials was generally good, especially for more recent studies.

Acute bronchitis | Medical center “President-Med”

Acute bronchitis is a disease in which the inflammatory process affects the bronchial mucosa, with an increase in the amount of bronchial secretion.The progression of the disease leads to the appearance of a cough, while shortness of breath occurs only if the pathology affects the small bronchi.

Inflammation of the lower respiratory tract can develop on its own or as a complication of laryngotracheitis, tracheitis and other diseases. Various infections can also provoke bronchitis.

The main causes of acute bronchitis:

  • Severe hypothermia.
  • Weakened immunity.
  • Harmful working conditions: metallurgical, chemical industry, etc.p.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Bad habits.
  • Infection with viruses and bacteria.
  • Inhalation of allergic substances.

At the risk of developing acute inflammation of the bronchi, children under 14-15 years old, however, quite often get sick with bronchitis and adults. At the same time, women suffer from pathology less often than men.

Symptoms of acute bronchitis

Symptoms of acute inflammation of the bronchi are manifested in different ways, depending on the degree of damage to the bronchial tree, as well as the causes and nature of the disease.

Signs of acute bronchitis:

  • Paroxysmal cough – the intensity of the attacks increases at night. At the onset of the disease, the cough is dry, with proper treatment it becomes moist and mucus, and phlegm is abundantly separated.
  • Deterioration of general well-being – lethargy, dizziness and weakness may appear.
  • Discomfort in the chest area – painful sensations intensify during a deep breath or cough.
  • The voice becomes hoarse.
  • Wheezing is heard behind the breastbone.
  • The body temperature rises periodically.
  • Shortness of breath, etc.

If the above symptoms appear, you should urgently consult a pulmonologist or therapist, untreated bronchitis can flow into a chronic form or lead to serious complications: pneumonia, bronchial asthma, pulmonary emphysema, as well as acute heart failure.

Diagnosis and treatment of acute bronchitis

Symptoms of acute bronchitis are similar to many diseases of the respiratory system, so the doctor, in the presence of “hard” breathing, can prescribe a number of diagnostic measures to the patient, the results of which will help clarify the diagnosis.

Usually, patients with suspected lower airway inflammation are referred for chest x-ray, spirometry, bronchoscopy, or peak flow. It is also necessary to donate sputum for culture in order to identify the causative agent of the disease and determine its sensitivity to antibacterial agents. From the analyzes, a laboratory study of urine, as well as blood, is prescribed.

After the doctor has all the results of the examinations in his hands, he will be able to choose an effective treatment for the patient.Self-medication and an ill-considered treatment regimen can harm the entire body.

Patients with acute bronchitis are shown bed rest, the room should be often ventilated. It is necessary to monitor the water balance of the body, it is recommended to use herbal decoctions and heated alkaline mineral water, it liquefies phlegm. If there is no temperature to eliminate chest pain, you can apply warm compresses and put cans on the interscapular region.

In the case when inflammation of the lower respiratory tract has developed against the background of acute respiratory viral infections, doctors prescribe antiviral treatment, prescribe pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and fever-lowering drugs.Sulfonamides and antibiotics are indicated for a protracted course of the disease or with a secondary bacterial infection. Antihistamines are used in the treatment of bronchitis, progressing against the background of allergies; in severe cases, glucocorticoids can be used.

Mucolytic and expectorant agents (alkaline inhalations, infusion of marshmallow, thermopsis herb) are prescribed to liquefy sputum and remove it from the body as quickly as possible. For the treatment of acute bronchitis, physiotherapeutic methods are also used: UHF, UFO, vibration massage, exercise therapy.

If the doctor’s recommendations are followed, acute bronchitis disappears in about 2-3 weeks, while the cough can persist for a month.

For the diagnosis and treatment of acute bronchitis, contact the medical centers “President-Med” in Moscow and Vidnoye

Author: Mamunts Tsovinar Alekseevna

Chief Physician President-Med Vidnoye

Higher Medical, Perm State Medical Institute, Faculty of General Medicine, specialty-general medicine

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90,000 When can antibiotics be given to children

Antimicrobials should only be used for bacterial infections.

In a hospital with severe and life-threatening infectious diseases (for example, meningitis – inflammation of the membranes of the brain, pneumonia – inflammation of the lungs, etc.) the results of special studies.

In case of mild infections occurring in a “home” (outpatient) setting, parents themselves often ask the doctor to prescribe an antibiotic.Is it correct?

Runny nose and bronchitis

Antibacterial drugs are not indicated for acute rhinitis (runny nose) and bronchitis. In practice, everything happens differently: for one or two days of fever and coughing in a child, parents, as a rule, do not give the child antibacterial drugs. But then they start to fear that bronchitis will be complicated by pneumonia, and they decide to use antibiotics. It is worth noting here that such a complication is possible, but it practically does not depend on the previous intake of antibacterial drugs.The main signs of the development of pneumonia are deterioration (further increase in body temperature, increased cough, shortness of breath). In such a situation, you must immediately call a doctor who will decide whether it is necessary to adjust the treatment.

If the condition does not worsen, but does not significantly improve, then there is no obvious reason for prescribing antibacterial drugs. Nevertheless, it was during this period that some parents could not stand it and began to give drugs to children “just in case.”

It should be especially noted that the very popular criterion for prescribing antibacterial drugs for viral infections – maintaining an elevated temperature for 3 days – is absolutely not substantiated. The natural duration of the febrile period in viral infections of the respiratory tract in children varies significantly, fluctuations are possible from 3 to 7 days, and sometimes more. Longer preservation of the so-called subfebrile temperature (37.0-37.50C) is not necessarily associated with the development of bacterial complications, but may be due to completely different reasons.In such situations, the use of antibiotics is doomed to failure.

A typical sign of a viral infection is a persistent cough against the background of an improvement in general condition and normalization of body temperature. It must be remembered that antibacterial drugs are not antitussives. Parents in this situation have ample opportunities to use folk antitussives.

Cough is a natural defense mechanism and is the last symptom of the disease to disappear.However, if a child has an intense cough for 3-4 or more weeks, it is necessary to look for its cause.

Otitis

In acute otitis media, the tactics of antibiotic therapy is different, since the probability of the bacterial nature of this disease reaches 40-60%. With this in mind, until recently, antibacterial drugs were prescribed to all patients.

As practice shows, acute otitis media is characterized by intense pain in the first 24-48 hours, then in most children the condition improves significantly and the disease goes away on its own.After 48 hours, symptoms persist in only a third of young patients.

There are interesting calculations showing that if antibacterial drugs are prescribed to all children with acute otitis media, then some help (reduction of the febrile period and the duration of pain) they can provide only to those patients who should not have had an independent rapid recovery. This can only be 1 child in 20.

What will happen to the other 19 children? When taking modern drugs of the penicillin group, such as amoxicillin or augmentin, nothing particularly bad will happen.2-3 children may develop diarrhea or skin rashes, which will quickly disappear after drug withdrawal, but recovery will not accelerate. As in the case of bronchitis, the appointment of antibacterial drugs for otitis media does not prevent the development of purulent complications. Complicated forms of otitis media with the same frequency develop both in children who received and did not receive antibacterial drugs.

To date, a new tactic has been developed for prescribing antibacterial drugs for acute otitis media.It is advisable to prescribe antibacterial drugs to all children under the age of 6 months, even with a dubious diagnosis of acute otitis media (it is not so easy to find out that it is the ear that hurts a small child).

At the age of 6 months to 2 years with a dubious diagnosis (or mild course) of acute otitis media, antibiotic prescription can be postponed, limited to monitoring the child – the so-called expectant tactics. Naturally, during observation, children should be given pain relievers and, if necessary, antipyretic drugs.If within 24-48 hours his condition does not improve, then antibiotic therapy should be started.

Of course, in this case, increased requirements are imposed on the parents. First of all, you need to discuss with your doctor when to give antibiotics, and clarify what signs of illness to look for. The main thing is to be able to objectively assess the dynamics of pain, its increase or decrease, and to notice in time the appearance of new signs of the disease – cough, rash, etc. Parents should be able to contact a doctor by phone, and also have a written prescription for an antibiotic.

In children over 2 years old, waiting and observation for 48 hours is the most preferred tactic, except in cases of severe course (temperature above 39 ° C, intense pain) of the disease.

Lung inflammation

In the case of a diagnosis of pneumonia or serious suspicions of this pathology, the tactics of antibiotic therapy differ from the two previous cases.

Certain characteristics of the prevailing pathogens are characteristic of certain age groups of children.So, at the age of 5-6 years, according to some researchers, up to 50% of cases of pneumonia can be caused by viruses. At an older age, the likelihood of the viral nature of pneumonia is significantly reduced and the role of bacteria (pneumococci) in the development of pneumonia increases. Nevertheless, in all age groups, pneumococcus is a frequent causative agent of this disease, which causes a severe course of the disease. That is why pneumonia is an unconditional indication for the appointment of antibiotic therapy.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia and how is it treated in adults and children?

Lung inflammation or pneumonia is a viral disease that affects lung tissue and interferes with the normal exchange of oxygen between air and blood. Inflammatory secretions that enter the alveoli prevent the body from getting enough oxygen. And if the disease affects most of the lungs, acute respiratory failure develops.

People with weak immune systems, children and the elderly are susceptible to pneumonia. Every year in Russia alone, 1.5 million people suffer from the disease, and 30% of them are young children and people over 70 years old.

But pneumonia can and should be treated! And it is recommended to do this using an integrated approach. Treatment of any disease begins with the correct diagnosis. Therefore, at the first signs of the development of pathology, seek the advice of a specialist.

What are the first symptoms of pneumonia, how to correctly and comprehensively approach treatment and what is required to diagnose the disease, we will tell in this article.

Reasons for the development of pneumonia

Pneumonia develops when bacteria and viruses enter the lungs, as well as foreign agents that affect part or all of the lung tissue. Pathogens of pathology enter the human body by the respiratory route, rarely through the blood.

Why does the disease develop rapidly in the body of a person with reduced immunity? Bacteria are constantly present in our body, but defense mechanisms prevent them from multiplying, causing pathology.But if the immune system is weakened, the harmful microflora increases the population, which leads to the appearance of an inflammatory process.

Also, viral pneumonia often develops against the background of the spread of colds of the upper respiratory tract (bronchitis, tracheitis). Also, the cause of pneumonia can be hypothermia, stress, overwork, smoking abuse. The risk of developing the disease is increased in people with chronic diseases and obesity.

Signs of pneumonia in an adult

When a disease occurs, a person’s body temperature rises, which can reach 38 °, there is a general weakness throughout the body, a headache, the patient wants to lie down and relax. A few days later, a strong paroxysmal cough appears, sputum appears.

Pain in the chest, especially in the focus of inflammation, as well as the appearance of shortness of breath indicate the severity of the situation and clearly indicate pneumonia.

General signs are indicated here, however, the nature and timing of their manifestation may differ depending on the type of pneumonia. With viral pneumonia, the first symptoms appear rapidly and the patient feels a sharp deterioration in well-being. From the very beginning of the disease, there is pain in the muscles, high body temperature, severe headache, and a painful dry cough.

On the contrary, bacterial pneumonia develops gradually. The disease begins only 2 weeks after the first signs appear.After this, there is a sharp relief, an improvement in the general condition of the patient, then the temperature rises again sharply, there is a headache, a cough intensifies, and purulent sputum appears.

One of the serious types of the disease is atypical bilateral pneumonia, which extensively affects the lung tissue and develops respiratory failure. In its symptoms, bilateral pneumonia resembles a cold viral infection, and characteristic wheezing is not yet heard in the lungs.Many begin to heal on their own, which aggravates the condition.

At first, the sick person thinks that his condition has improved, the symptoms of pathology begin to go away. But then the cough gets worse and the second wave of the disease begins.

Symptoms may vary slightly in older adults. First of all, there is a dry cough, shortness of breath during small physical exertion on the body or even at rest. Often, the disease proceeds without a rise in temperature in people of mature age.

Signs of pneumonia in a child

Often pneumonia in children appears as a complication of any viral infection (ARVI, flu, etc.).

  • Cough that gets worse over time;
  • If the baby’s well-being has improved, and then it became ill again, this may indicate the presence of complications;
  • Each deep breath leads to a violent attack of coughing;
  • There is a strong pallor of the skin against the background of the development of the listed symptoms;
  • The onset of shortness of breath.

Is pneumonia contagious?

The inflammatory process in the pulmonary system most often appears due to the multiplication of the virus and as a complication of the transferred flu or ARVI. It is impossible to get sick with pneumonia itself in such cases, but it is easy to catch the disease that became the root cause. That is, pneumonia itself is not contagious, and the development of inflammation in the lungs is an independent complication that arose against the background of weakened immunity and improper self-medication.

How is pneumonia spread?

The disease can be transmitted in many ways, including:

  • Airborne droplet method. During illness, droplets form on the mucous membrane of the mouth and nose, which spread through the air during sneezing and coughing. You can get infected by airborne droplets in any public place: hospital, store, public transport. The pathogenic pathogen spreads through the air along with particles of mucus, sputum, saliva.
  • Contact. Also, the infection is transmitted during contact – handshake, hug, kiss. People are exposed to infection when they touch contaminated objects or when they touch their mouth, eyes, nose with dirty hands.
  • Household. The infection can be transmitted through shared towels, dishes and bedding. Therefore, the patient should be provided with personal hygiene items, and, as often as possible, they should be changed and washed.
  • However, personal hygiene items must be handled very carefully.It has been proven that a viral microorganism can survive up to 4 hours on any surface. Pathogenic bacteria are not afraid of frost, even with bleach it can be destroyed only five minutes after direct processing.

  • Fecal. The virus survives up to two days in fecal matter with normal bowel movements. The disease can be easily adopted by improper toilet cleaning or personal hygiene. To prevent contamination, especially from small children, it is important to constantly wash your hands after cleaning the baby pot, change diapers often and thoroughly wash the place of bowel movement.

Pneumonia and bronchitis: what is the difference?

Both diseases affect the human respiratory system, which means they have similar symptoms. It is often difficult to distinguish two pathologies from each other.

Pneumonia Bronchitis
In most cases, it is accompanied by a sharp increase in temperature up to 38-39 ° and a feverish state.There is a slight increase in temperature. It is accompanied by a strong dry cough. In some cases, sputum may appear greenish or streaked with blood. Moist cough, sputum has a light shade.
When listening to the chest, “wet” wheezing is heard. When listening to the chest, “dry” wheezing is heard.

How is pneumonia diagnosed?

If a child suffers from the disease, you need to seek an examination by a pediatrician.If an adult, make an appointment with a therapist who will refer you, if necessary, to a specialized specialist. The doctor will conduct an external examination, take an anamnesis, study the medical history and learn about the symptoms of the disease that appear.

You will be referred for laboratory tests:

  • Complete blood count;
  • General urinalysis;
  • Sputum analysis – is performed to determine the inflammatory process in the body, as well as the causative agent of pneumonia and its sensitivity to antibiotics.

Of the diagnostic methods of research, you will be assigned:

  • Chest X-ray – the images show darkening in places of tissue damage;
  • Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging – are used as additional measures when other methods do not allow an accurate diagnosis.

Methods for treating pneumonia

If the pneumonia is bacterial in nature, antibiotics are prescribed.Their effectiveness can be assessed after 48-72 hours. If the temperature drops, the cough becomes less frequent, and the patient begins to feel better, the intake continues. It is impossible to interrupt the course of medications, and it is important to take them correctly as prescribed by the doctor. If antibiotics do not help, another treatment is prescribed or changed to a drug from a different group.

With viral pneumonia, antibiotics are not effective, so antiviral drugs are prescribed. Vitamins and immunomodulators can be prescribed as auxiliary substances.

As soon as the patient’s body temperature has returned to normal, physiotherapy can be prescribed. It allows you to remove phlegm from the lungs. For this, phytopreparations are often taken, for example, licorice root or complex breast preparations.

Together with drug treatment, patients need bed rest, food with protein and vitamins, and plenty of warm drinks. For the best effect, therapeutic methods are recommended – electrophoresis, inhalation, massage, magnetotherapy, etc.etc.

Vaccination against pneumonia as prevention

It is worth getting vaccinated against pneumococcal infection in cases where:

  • Disease outbreaks occur frequently;
  • Visiting public areas;
  • Work in a bacteriological laboratory;
  • Frequent pneumonia, ARVI and influenza from which the patient suffers.

There are several drugs that are given intravenously to protect against disease.All of them differ in their composition, cost and breadth of the spectrum of action.

In adulthood, the vaccine is given once, a persistent immune response to the pathogen is developed in 2-3 weeks. But at the same time, experts recommend vaccinating once every 5 years.

The diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia is carried out by the specialists of the Medyunion clinic. You can make an appointment with a specialist in one of the most convenient ways for you:

  1. Online on our medyunion website.ru. Fill out the electronic form, indicating your contact information, doctor’s specialization, convenient date and time for an appointment.
  2. Request a call back, indicating your name and phone number. Our managers will call you back within 15 minutes and answer your questions.
  3. Call the registry of the medical clinic at +7 (391) 202-95-80.

90,000 Rehabilitation specialists answered the most frequently asked questions about recovery from COVID-19

Today’s broadcast, dedicated to the diagnosis and rehabilitation after COVID-19, has collected many questions.Unfortunately, airtime is limited and our specialists did not have time to answer all questions in 60 minutes. Head of the 24-hour hospital, rehabilitation physician, Ph.D. Tatyana Fedorova and the head of the advisory department, cardiologist Irina Bychkovskaya answered separately all the questions that were not on the air. Here is a detailed list of questions and answers.

Has suffered bilateral pneumonia. No drugs were prescribed. Should I take blood thinning medications?

Answer: Blood thinning drugs are not prescribed for mild disease, these drugs are needed only in the case of moderate to severe and severe.Whether you need to take it now depends on the extent to which you have been ill and at what stage of treatment you are. The exception is patients who belong to risk groups: with cardiovascular diseases, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with connective tissue diseases, with oncopathology, immunodeficiency, diabetes mellitus, obesity. For this category of patients, blood thinning drugs are recommended for any degree of the disease. The average duration of taking these drugs is a month of illness and a month after illness.If more than 2 months have passed after the completion of treatment, then there is no point in taking these drugs, the possible risks have already passed.

– How and how to treat fibrosis? Where to contact?

Answer : If we are talking about some consequences of pneumonia, then there is no specialized drug treatment in this case. This is the case when rehabilitation measures, breathing exercises, breathing exercises are effective. It is advisable to consult a rehabilitation doctor for the selection of a rehabilitation program.

Pulmonary fibrosis after pneumonia can persist for a long period of time. It is an anatomical tissue change that sometimes lasts a lifetime. But if at the same time complaints persist, for example, shortness of breath, heavy breathing, then reserve mechanisms can be used – all the possibilities of rehabilitation treatment.

– Is it possible to take tests at the DC for an individual, I heard that only works with organizations. Is it so?

Answer: At the Diagnostic Center, you can donate blood for the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies daily from 8:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:30.Carrying out PCR studies for individuals has been temporarily suspended, since the entire capacity of the laboratory is aimed at performing research for medical organizations in the city and region, including hospitals. Every effort is now being made to resume PCR studies for COVID-19 for individuals in the near future. Information about the resumption of research will appear on our website www.okd-center.ru

– How can I get an individual consultation at the center?

Answer: To make an appointment for a consultation with the specialists of the Diagnostic Center, you can call tel.: 39-04-50, use the website www.okd-center.ru (“Make an appointment” tab) or write a message in one of the CDC groups on social networks.

– After outpatient treatment (I was ill for almost a month), what methods of rehabilitation would you recommend? I am very weak and at times short of breath.

Answer: There are a large number of rehabilitation methods that work effectively in combination with the right selection. The CDC has developed a comprehensive examination program with the subsequent selection of rehabilitation measures.For research and rehabilitation, call 39-04-50.

– How to understand if a viral or bacterial pneumonia is to drink or not to drink antibiotics?

Answer: Thanks to the author of this question as the question is very correct and good. Many people, at the slightest sign of illness, start taking antibiotics, considering them a panacea for all diseases. But this is the wrong tactic, because viral pneumonia cannot be treated with antibiotics.

How to determine – bacterial / viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial flora has joined against the background of viral pneumonia (this situation also happens)? Several blood counts need to be monitored.Leukocytes – with viral pneumonia, leukocytes do not increase, they are normal or underestimated. Procalcitonin – its level remains normal in viral pneumonia, and increases in bacterial pneumonia. The nature of the sputum: if the sputum is green, purulent, then this is bacterial pneumonia, requiring antibiotic treatment; if the cough is without phlegm, it does not require antibiotic treatment.

In any case, specialist advice is always required to decide on the appointment of a particular drug.

– When can a patient with viral pneumonia go to work and is not contagious to others?

Answer: If the coronavirus infection is confirmed by a PCR study (a smear was taken and the result was positive), then the diagnosis will be withdrawn only after two negative smears taken 24 hours apart. After these results, a person is considered recovered, a sick leave is closed to him and he is considered not infectious to others.

Usually, after the third week from the onset of the disease, the danger to others is considered to be minimized. The most contagious period is the last two days of the incubation period and the first eight days of illness. In the fourth week, if the patient feels well and is asymptomatic, the patient can return to social life. Additionally, you can recommend donating blood for IgM and IgG antibodies, it is important to analyze their ratio: if IgM is close to normal, and IgG is high, this means that immunity has formed, the patient is not contagious.

– After the illness, although the doctor discharged me, I still have a strong residual cough. What to do about it? What do you advise?

Answer: If after the illness a dry, paroxysmal, irritating cough persists, sputum does not go away, then you need to take drugs for dry cough (rengalin, sinecode, etc.) to stop it.

If a cough is accompanied by sputum, then you need to choose a drug that promotes the discharge of sputum (ACC, lazolvan, etc.)n.)

– Should I do another PCR test before closing the sick leave? How else can you make sure you can communicate with other people?

Answer: If the coronavirus infection is confirmed by a PCR study (a smear was taken and the result was positive), then the diagnosis will be withdrawn only after two negative smears taken 24 hours apart. After these results, a person is considered recovered, a sick leave is closed to him and he is considered not infectious to others.

Usually, after the third week from the onset of the disease, the danger to others is considered to be minimized. The most contagious period is the last two days of the incubation period and the first eight days of illness. In the fourth week, if the patient feels well and is asymptomatic, the patient can return to social life. Additionally, you can recommend donating blood for IgM and IgG antibodies, it is important to analyze their ratio: if IgM is close to normal, and IgG is high, this means that immunity has formed, the patient is not contagious.

– The doctor again sends me to do CT before being discharged. I heard that this should be done in 1.5 -3 months, not earlier. Is the district policeman right in this case?

Answer: The average time for repeated lung MSCT is 1-2 months. With a mild course of the disease, good health and slight lung damage, CT control can be omitted. But in each case, the doctor makes a decision – if something confuses the doctor in the patient’s clinical picture, in the test results, then he can prescribe CT control in a shorter time.It is not worth resisting the doctor’s prescription, the attending physician always acts in the interests of the patient.

– How bad is the coronavirus?

Answer: This is a philosophical question. Coronavirus is a very insidious disease, dangerous both in its manifestation and in its consequences. But let’s look at the numbers of objective statistics: 80% of patients suffer the disease in a mild and asymptomatic form, 15% get sick with symptoms and only 5% get sick in a severe form.It is impossible to predict what percentage you will enter and how the disease will proceed. Of course, patients at risk (cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, connective tissue diseases, cancer, immunodeficiency, diabetes mellitus, obesity) are more likely to have a more serious course of the disease.

In any case, you do not need to panic, lead a normal life, but adhere to all recommendations (masks, gloves, sanitizers, social distance, avoidance of public places).

– Recovered from coronavirus, tachycardia remained, pulse 100 beats per minute, pregnancy 31 weeks, need to be treated? And is it possible to get sick again, Ig G antibodies 2.25?

Answer: During pregnancy, the pulse rate not exceeding 100 beats per minute is considered a physiological norm, since the load on the heart increases after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is necessary to take into account the background before the disease, if there was a high pulse before, then this requires further consultation with a cardiologist.

Antibody titers 2.25 – low. It is recommended to take IgG antibodies after 1 – 1.5 months to control the immune response in dynamics. As soon as they disappear, a person can become infected again – unfortunately, there are such cases.

– Hello. I was ill with covid for all the symptoms. But the therapist did not order a CT scan. The cough is still there. What to do?

Answer: In case of a mild course of coronavirus infection, based on the symptoms and indications of research, the doctor may not prescribe MSCT.This is not always necessary. With a mild course, blood and urine indicators are monitored. If, against the background of treatment, there is a deterioration in well-being, the doctor will prescribe MSCT and other necessary studies. The cough can persist for a long time, more than a month. If the rest is good, then MSCT is not necessary.

For cough. If after the illness a dry, paroxysmal, irritating cough persists, the sputum does not go away, then you need to take drugs for dry cough (rengalin, sinekod, etc.)etc.) to stop it.

If the cough is accompanied by sputum, then you need to choose a drug that promotes the discharge of sputum (ACC, lazolvan, etc.)

Elena Khegai, doctor: “Antibiotics do not work against viruses”

– Many people say that in the first two days or in the first 24 hours an immunomodulator should be started, how do you feel about this?

– I want to say right away that, unfortunately, magic pills do not exist.In particular, magic pills called “immunomodulators”. There are drugs to increase the activity of the immune system, but they are quite serious and are used only in a hospital setting, for example, by patients after chemotherapy. The drugs whose manufacturers assure us that these pills will help improve immunity, unfortunately, have not been proven effective in clinical trials. Their effect does not exceed that of a dummy.

– Let’s name some of them, the most popular ones that people dared to do in pharmacies.For example, polyoxidonium …

– All “ferons”, interferon. There is a drug interferon, which is used in the treatment of hepatitis C, but this is a completely different drug, it is not administered in the form of rectal suppositories and not in the form of tablets. Interferon, which is widely prescribed as an immunomodulator, viferon – these are all drugs with unproven efficacy, and in fact they do not bring any benefit to the body. But, like any drug, like any chemical that enters our body, they carry the risk of developing side effects, this is firstly.Secondly, when several of them begin to be taken into all physiological openings, then there is still a risk of adverse drug interactions.

– Ingavirin is also popular …

– Ingavirin, arbidol, there are a lot of them. Their manufacturers are positioned as immunomodulators, plus as broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. We can safely say that they have no effect, they can only be taken to calm down. But again, we must always be aware of the possible risk of side effects, and in this case, the expected benefit tends to zero.

– Recently I was faced with a situation where there was a high temperature, one did not go astray for a long time, and I had to call an ambulance. She arrived, and the paramedic made an appointment: nimesil, acyclovir three times a day, paracetamol, glucose 200 intravenously, through a dropper, vitamins B12, B6 and hilak forte. Could you tell me what is wrong with this assignment?

– This is generally a prefabricated hodgepodge. If I saw such a list of appointments, then my first question would be: what exactly do we treat? We see everything from everything here, I am still surprised that there is not a single antibiotic, usually we like to prescribe them and antifungal to hit on all fronts, as they say.Nimesil – well, I agree, it is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that belongs to the same group as ibuprofen and paracetamol, that is, antipyretic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory action. As for acyclovir, I want to remind everyone, including my fellow doctors, that this is a drug that is effective against viruses from the herpesvirus family. There are many types of them, but six are clinically significant for humans: the first, the second herpes virus, then the varicella-zoster virus, the herpes zoster virus, the Epstein-Barr virus or infectious mononucleosis, etc.e. If the doctor suspects one of these conditions in the patient, if a relatively severe course of the disease is observed, then we can recommend acyclovir. In all other cases, for example, when the temperature has risen, it is simply “an elder in the garden, in Kiev – an uncle.” As for the droppers, I want to urge everyone: let’s stop this drip mess. All over the world, this practice has long been abandoned because there are complications after intravenous infusions, in particular, it can be thrombophlebitis, thrombosis, and so on.Each puncture is an intervention in the internal environment of the body, there is a risk of infection and inflammation.