ID: 165
Category: Virus
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 14 Jul 2017
updatedon: 06 Apr 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jul 14, 2017
Updated Apr 06, 2023

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Etymology and Pronunciation

Bronchitis (brahn-KAI-tis)
bronkhos - Greek for "windpipe" or "throat" referencing the bronchial tubes
-itis - Greek for "inflammation""

History of Bronchitis

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes.

In 1808, a Scottish physician named Charles Badham described the symptoms of bronchitis in his book "A Treatise on the Catarrh and Cough". Badham also identified a severe form of bronchitis that he called "peripneumonia notha" which is now recognized as a type of influenza.

In the early 20th century, advances in medical technology, such as the development of the stethoscope and X-ray, allowed for more accurate diagnosis of bronchitis. Researchers also began to investigate the underlying causes of the disease.

During the mid-20th century, the discovery of antibiotics and other medications helped to revolutionize the treatment of bronchitis. In the 1960s, researchers identified the role of viruses in the development of bronchitis, and this led to the development of new antiviral treatments.

Modern Understanding of Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a condition that affects the lungs, specifically the tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs, called bronchial tubes. It is characterized by inflammation and irritation of the bronchial tubes, which causes coughing and difficulty breathing.

There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is a short-term illness that typically lasts for a few weeks and is often caused by a viral infection. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is a long-term condition that lasts for at least three months and is typically caused by smoking or exposure to air pollution.

Symptoms of bronchitis can include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and production of mucus. Acute bronchitis can also cause fever and fatigue, while chronic bronchitis can lead to frequent respiratory infections and difficulty breathing.

To diagnose bronchitis, a doctor will typically perform a physical exam and listen to the patient's lungs with a stethoscope. They may also order a chest X-ray or other imaging tests to rule out other conditions.

Causes of Bronchitis

- Viral infections: The majority of cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections, such as the common cold or flu. These infections can cause inflammation of the bronchial tubes, leading to coughing, wheezing, and other symptoms.
- Bacterial infections: In some cases, bronchitis can be caused by bacterial infections, such as pneumonia. Bacterial bronchitis is more common in people with weakened immune systems.
- Environmental irritants: Exposure to irritants such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, or chemical fumes can cause bronchitis. People who work in certain occupations, such as mining, farming, or manufacturing, may be at increased risk of developing bronchitis due to exposure to dust or other irritants.
- Allergies: Some people may develop bronchitis as a result of allergies, such as allergies to dust, pollen, or pet dander.
- Acid reflux: Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can cause irritation of the bronchial tubes and lead to bronchitis.
- Weakened immune system: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, may be at increased risk of developing bronchitis.

Treatments for Bronchitis

- Hygene: maintaining good respiratory hygiene, such as washing hands frequently, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Rest: Rest is important to help the body fight off infections. People with acute bronchitis are advised to rest and avoid physical activity until their symptoms improve.
- Fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, tea, or soup, can help thin mucus and make it easier to cough up.
- Medications: Over-the-counter medications such as cough suppressants and pain relievers can help relieve symptoms of bronchitis. Bronchodilators, which help to open up the airways, may also be prescribed for people with asthma or chronic bronchitis.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and are not recommended for the treatment of viral bronchitis. They may be prescribed in cases of bacterial bronchitis or if there is a risk of developing a secondary bacterial infection.
- Inhalers: Inhalers may be prescribed for people with asthma or chronic bronchitis to help open up the airways and improve breathing.
- Oxygen therapy: In severe cases of bronchitis, oxygen therapy may be necessary to ensure adequate oxygen supply to the body.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: Pulmonary rehabilitation, which involves exercises and breathing techniques, may be recommended for people with chronic bronchitis to improve lung function and quality of life.
- Avoiding triggers: People with bronchitis should avoid exposure to environmental irritants, such as smoke, dust, and fumes, which can worsen symptoms.


Shortness of breath
Chest tightness
Chest pain
Increased mucus/phlegm

Confirmation Tests

- X-rays
- Sputum Examination
- Lung (pulmonary) function tests

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