Bronchitis is defined as the acute inflammation of the air passages that are found within the lungs. This happens when the trachea (windpipe) and the bronchi (airways) of the lungs become inflamed due to irritation or an infection. Typically, bronchitis symptoms appear 3 to 4 days after an upper respiratory infection such as influenza (the flu), a cold, or a sinus infection. Bronchitis is most common during the flu and cold season.
The airways (bronchi) of the lungs have a thin mucous lining that can be irritated and become swollen. The inflammation can cause the cells in the lining of the airways to leak out fluids. Adults and children are both susceptible to bronchitis and the symptoms are similar. However, infants have smaller airways and when they get bronchitis their symptoms tends to be more similar to asthma.
Acute bronchitis is also linked to people who inhale fumes, dust, chemical solvents, and smoke. These substances can cause irritation in the lungs.
Coughing is the most common symptom of bronchitis. The cough can be either dry or one can produce phlegm as well. The mucous can be clear, yellow, or green. In some people, the mucous may even be tinged with blood. If one is coughing out a great amount of phlegm, is may be an indicator that one has a lower respiratory tract infection which may be pneumonia.
One’s cough can last several weeks and if one is continuously forcefully coughing, it may cause soreness in the abdominal muscles and the chest. At times, coughing can be so severe that it can injure the chest walls or cause one to faint.
Wheezing is another one of the bronchitis symptoms. This happens when the muscles tighten and the bronchi are inflamed, leaving the person short of breath.
Additional symptoms one may experience include a mild fever (less than 101F), chills, muscle aches, sore throats, and nasal congestion.
One may also feel a tightness, burning, or soreness in the chest area under the breastbone. This discomfort can worsen while one is breathing in deeply or coughing.
Some people have asthma and bronchitis together. This is known as asthmatic bronchitis. Asthma is a condition that causes the muscles in the airways to tighten and swell, resulting in narrowed airways. When asthma is accompanied with mucous production and inflammation, it can cause shortness of breath and severe wheezing.
Those who experience this condition chronically (chronic bronchitis) may have bronchitis symptoms such as swollen legs, feet, and ankles. Their constant low levels of oxygen can result in blue lips, and they may be easily affected by respiratory infections.
Dr. Sugar Shares – What are the Symptoms of Bronchitis