What Causes Bronchitis?

You’ve had a persistent cough for a couple of weeks now. It feels like your lungs are constantly filled with gunk. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to clear your throat. What gives? You might be dealing with bronchitis. In this blog, let’s talk about what bronchitis is, what causes it, and what you can do to get a better handle on your symptoms.

What is Bronchitis?

When an individual suffers from bronchitis, the lining of the “airways” (technical term: bronchial tubes) of their lungs becomes inflamed and can fill with mucus. These tubes have the important job of carrying air to and from the lungs.

There are two types of bronchitis: acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term). Bronchitis isn’t contagious. However, the viruses that can cause it can be. For instance, if someone gets the flu and ends up with bronchitis, they can spread the flu to a friend, who may or may not also develop bronchitis as a result.

What Do the Symptoms Look Like?

The inflammation of the airways leads to symptoms such as:

  • Coughing, with mucus production.
  • Dry coughing.
  • Runny nose.
  • Wheezing.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or below) or chills.

Whether the individual has acute or chronic bronchitis, the symptoms can look the same. However, the symptoms of acute bronchitis typically clear up on their own after approximately two to three weeks. There are rarely long-term ramifications, although the cough can last a little longer than the other symptoms. For some people, it simply feels like a cold, and thus, it doesn’t typically necessitate any treatment.

The symptoms of chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, can last three months or longer. However, for many individuals, it’s something that they must manage long-term, as it can come and go.



What Causes Bronchitis?

The causes of acute and chronic bronchitis are different.

Acute bronchitis is more typically caused by a viral infection, like a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. Sometimes, a bacterial infection can trigger it, although this is very rare.

Chronic bronchitis, conversely, is more commonly a symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this case, it can also appear alongside emphysema and asthma

Certain risk factors can make an individual more likely to develop chronic bronchitis, including smoking (or exposure to secondhand smoke), air pollution, a history of COPD or respiratory diseases, GERD, any illness that causes inflammation, and age.

How to Manage That Frustrating Cough

Even though bronchitis isn’t necessarily all that dangerous, it can still be incredibly uncomfortable. So, what can one do about it? 

For starters, a visit to the doctor is in order! A medical professional might recommend over-the-counter medicine or prescription medication to help ease the symptoms of bronchitis. But how else can someone with bronchitis be more proactive in looking over their health and easing the constant coughing?

Because airborne particles can significantly irritate the airways, making the symptoms of bronchitis worse, reducing air pollution can help minimize the coughing. While controlling outdoor air pollution might be challenging (at best!), we have a lot more say when it comes to indoor air pollution. And remember, we spend 90% of our time indoors.

If this blog has resonated with you and you want to take action, here are a few suggestions:

1. Use an Indoor Air Purifier

Go for an air purification system that utilizes a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter, which is the most powerful type. This should be one of several layers within the technology, ensuring that the device traps particles big and microscopic. 

The latest technology runs on its own, as needed. It monitors the air quality in real time and even notifies you when it’s time to change the filter. These devices are so powerful, in fact, that they can remove 99.97% of dangerous particles in the air.

An air purifier will remove particles that commonly irritate the airways, including pet fur and dander, dust/dust mites, mold, and smoke (from smoking, wildfires, smoking, etc.).


2. Clean Your Home Regularly

While an air purifier can do a lot of the heavy lifting, keeping your dwellings clean can help it do its job better.

High-traffic areas might need to be cleaned daily. Wipe down high-touch areas, like countertops, computer equipment, coffee machines, and microwaves. Any rooms where people or pets spend a lot of time should be vacuumed and mopped regularly. 

On the topic of pets, aim to keep them off of furniture you frequently use, like couches and beds. Not only do they leave behind a trail of fur and dander (which can trigger allergies and other breathing problems), but pets also bring in germs from outside

For the same reason, try to have a designated spot where you de-shed them, and vacuum immediately after. Additionally, avoid walking indoors with the same shoes you wear outside.

3. Use a Humidifier (If Needed)

Dry air can irritate the airways. If you live someplace exceptionally dry, a humidifier might be able to ease the symptoms of your bronchitis. It increases the moisture in the air in your home, making it “easier” to breathe.

More isn’t always better! The ideal indoor humidity is somewhere between 30% and 60%.

Remember, a humidifier is not a replacement for an air purifier. They serve two different purposes. The same can be said for heating and air conditioning. These do not clean the air, nor do they impact the humidity level in your home. (However, you should still change those filters regularly so that they can function optimally.)

Living With Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis usually clears up on its own. If you suspect you’re dealing with chronic bronchitis, speak with your healthcare provider before doing anything else!

To keep the air in your home as crystal clear as possible, run an air purifier with a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter, clean regularly, and if you live in a dry climate, try using a humidifier to add more moisture to the air.

To learn more about the latest in air purification technology, see how Sans gets the job done.

Sans Air Purifier

HEPA 13 + UV-C + Activated Carbon Air Purification

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