How to Prevent Respiratory Infections

Preventing Bronchitis

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. During a bronchitis infection, the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs, become inflamed.

Viruses, most likely the same ones that cause a cold or the flu, cause 90 percent of bronchitis infections. Bacteria and pollutants (including smoke and chemicals) are also to blame.

Bronchitis Infection Information

The bronchial tubes carry air to the lungs. When their lining comes in contact with a virus or irritant, it gets inflamed, prompting special cells to produce mucus. Along with a cough that brings up yellow or green mucus, bronchitis can cause a low fever, fatigue, wheezing, chest congestion and pain, shortness of breath, and a sore throat. For bacterial cases of bronchitis, your doctor will probably prescribe an antibiotic. Chronic (long-term) cases might require steroids to reduce inflammation. Many people show symptoms of bronchitis about three to four days after having a cold or the flu.

With viral cases of acute (short-term) bronchitis, treating the symptoms and being patient are your best bets for recovery. Most people recover from bronchitis in two or three weeks, but the nagging cough may stick around longer.

Who's at Risk for Bronchitis?

Infants; young children; the elderly; smokers; those with health issues, such as lung or heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and asthma; and those exposed to pollutants on a regular basis are at greatest risk of developing acute bronchitis.

Defensive Measures Against Bronchitis

The best way to avoid bronchitis is to steer clear of colds and the flu (another reason to get a flu vaccination every year). Otherwise, don't smoke and try to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoke irritates your bronchial tubes and makes you less resistant to bronchitis-causing viruses. Also, stay away from airborne irritants. If the air quality is particularly low, make plans to spend the day inside, and wear a mask if you'll be working around potentially lung-troubling irritants, such as paint, dust, or other chemicals.

Legionnaires' disease is a serious form of pneumonia that does not respond to penicillin. Keep reading to learn more about this respiratory infection.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.