Acute infectious bronchitis gives you sore throat, a nasty cough, fever, body aches or even headaches! Synonymous with inflammation of the bronchi, this disease is nevertheless banal and perfectly benign. Useless to be frightened, a simple surveillance is generally enough to disappear in a few days.
Acute bronchitis: definition
Acute bronchitis is characterized by inflammation of the bronchi . This disease most often results from a viral infection, and sometimes bacterial. The first signs of bronchitis are often a cold or rhinopharyngitis. Then a dry cough followed, then, in 50% of cases a greasy cough appeared. This mostly benign disease is reviewed.
Bronchitis mainly occurs in autumn and winter, it often occurs in small epidemics.
Symptoms of bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is characterized by:
- A generally low and variable fever during the day,
- Body aches,
- A general malaise;
- A burning sensation in the chest at the level of the sternum and a nasty cough.
It happens that before bronchitis, a small rhino-pharyngitis or a simple cold have already come to annoy you, the infection is then “fell” on your bronchi. In a second step, the dry cough becomes fat and the other signs disappear.
An accurate diagnosis
In order to diagnose bronchitis, a complete clinical examination and a medical examination are sufficient. It is often forgotten but bronchitis is a perfectly banal disease.
On the other hand, it may be more severe in people with asthma, with an increase in symptoms and more risk of bacterial superinfection.
Bronchitis in the smoker will make it possible to be sensitized to the very serious chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD: chronic bronchitis with far more alarming consequences on health than the simple seasonal acute bronchitis epidemic.
The doctor has several weapons to fight against bronchitis:
- Generally viral, bronchitis is not cured with antibiotics. The cough is initially dry and is often complicated by a fatty cough with mucus at the end of the course. It must disappear within 5 to 10 days. Note that in most cases, bronchitis spontaneously evolves towards healing in healthy children and adults. If, however, bacteria become involved in the game (persistent or increased fever, fatigue), re-evaluation within a few days may lead to the prescription of antibiotics, but this is in no way an obligation and A systematic act.
- On the other hand, if the patient is at risk (asthmatic, heavy smoker or chronic bronchitis), the doctor may choose to prescribe antibiotics to avoid the risk of superinfection. Similarly, if the attending physician suspects pneumonia, he will prescribe a chest x-ray.
- To treat bronchitis, the doctor may prescribe cough suppressants in the form of capsules or oral solution. There are now forms without sugar. However, their efficacy does not make a consensus, especially since in some patients, the abolition of the cough reflex can lead to bronchial congestion. In addition, the majority of cough suppressants are contraindicated in children under 2 years of age.
- Against fever, he may prescribe antipyretics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- If the nose runs out or is clogged, drops to disinfect the nasal cavity may be helpful.
- Finally, for the comfort of the patient, bronchial fluidifiers may be prescribed at the end of the journey for the fat cough. Again, their effectiveness is not unanimous. A good hydration is necessary to fluidize the mucus.
Hygiene measures to limit contagion in case of bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is most often of viral origin. It is therefore very contagious. To avoid contaminating your surroundings, a few simple gestures can be adopted.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap.
- Use disposable paper handkerchiefs and dispose of them after use.
- Cover your mouth when you cough.
- Avoid contact with frail people: infants, children, the elderly.
- Ventilate your home once a day for about 20 minutes.
As a reminder, acute bronchitis is not a medical emergency. Quickly make an appointment with your attending physician or pediatrician for your children if the symptoms persist or if they are accompanied by a high fever.