Bronchitis, a respiratory disorder, occurs when air passages get inflamed or swollen due to infection. The trachea in lungs has two branches or bronchi. When one of them is affected, the person suffers from this disease. Smoke, chemical irritants, air pollutants, complications of viral infection cause bronchitis. The symptoms include persistent cough (with mucus), shortness of breath, chest pain, common cold, flu, wheezing, etc.
Bronchitis can be of two types, viz, acute and chronic. In acute cases, severe symptoms are observed, but, the illness does not last long. On the other hand, chronic case, is a long-lasting illness. The symptoms can be mild or severe, and appear repeatedly. This disease often develops after cold and flu. Although there are treatment methods available, you should follow precautionary measures to prevent bronchitis.
Ways to Prevent Bronchitis
The preventive measures to avert bronchitis are simple and uncomplicated. Smokers and people with a weak immune system are more susceptible to it. Therefore, precautions must be taken to avoid both these instances.
Get Vaccinated: Getting vaccinated against viral infections is the best preventive measure for preventing bronchitis. Vaccinations minimize the risk of contracting the disease to a great extent. Influenza (flu) vaccine is an annual vaccine that protects against influenza virus.
Wear Masks: Wearing a mask, prevents air pollutants like dust, pollen from entering into air passages. People working in metal industries or stone quarries also have high risk of contracting bronchitis; hence, should wear masks. Secondly, doctors or volunteers should wear masks as they are constantly in contact with patients suffering from infectious diseases.
Stay Away from Sick People: Disease-causing virus spread faster from one person to the other. Therefore, you should limit being in proximity of people suffering from viral infections like common cold and flu. Preventing these conditions can also prevent its complications, like bronchitis.
Have a Balanced Diet: Having a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet improves immunity. The immune system protects the person from getting infected by disease-causing virus. Therefore, there are less chances of contracting disease. You should include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. in your daily diet to improve immunity.
Maintain Hygiene: As bronchitis is caused due to viral infection, you must follow certain steps to avoid infection. You must use a handkerchief while sneezing or coughing, wash hands, and also make use of sanitizer. Secondly, you should not share personal articles and clothes of people suffering from viral infectious diseases.
Avoid Smoking: Smoking is one of the prominent causes of bronchitis. When a person smokes, he inhales tobacco smoke. This inhaled smoke causes irritation to his air passages producing mucus, which subsequently develops bronchitis. Hence, smoking must be stopped completely.
Avoid Passive Smoking: You may not be aware but passive smoking is as injurious to the health as active smoking. Being exposed to smoke (first or second-hand) irritate the bronchi, causing bronchitis. Therefore, you should avoid being in company of smokers, or being in areas filled with cigarette smoke.
Smoking and Bronchitis
Remember that smoking stimulates bronchitis. As the air passages of smokers are constantly exposed to tobacco smoke, they get inflamed and result in bronchitis. Smokers have ten times higher chances of contracting this disease than non-smokers. Once smokers get contracted by the disease, it is more difficult for them to recover than other patients. If smokers suffering from acute bronchitis continue smoking, the cilia in their lungs are permanently damaged, resulting in chronic case. When sustained for a long time, it becomes a precursor of lung cancer. Chain smokers, smoking 10-20 cigarettes for nearly 10 years, are under high risk of contracting bronchitis. Once you stop smoking, lung function improves, and lung cancer can be averted.
Although bronchitis is found in smokers as well as non-smoking people, it is wise to follow all the aforementioned preventive measures. It can help in having a healthy, disease-free life. Lastly, you should always remember that 'Prevention is better than cure!' This information is meant only for educational purposes and in no way should substitute a doctor's consultation. Take care!