Acute bronchitis: symptoms and treatment

Acute bronchitis is a disease characterized by an acute inflammatory process of the bronchial mucosa. The main symptom by which you can determine the ailment is a cough. People most often get sick after hypothermia, body damage to various infections, abuse of nicotine and with reduced immunity.

According to the ICD 10, acute bronchitis has code J20. Depending on the type of acute form, in the international classification of diseases the disease is assigned to other numbers. These forms of ailment are considered as types of bronchitis.

A sharp attack of bronchitis is provoked by viruses, bacteria and, very rarely, fungi. Progression of the disease begins with an ordinary cold, in which the patient develops unpleasant sensations and discomfort, weakness and characteristic signs overcome him. After that, in the human body, an acute form of bronchial involvement can form in a short period of time.

Acute bronchitis in adults and children can manifest not only in the mucous membrane of the bronchi, but also affect other tissues, submucosal and muscle layers. Such abnormalities are manifested in puffiness, flushing of the membrane, strong infiltration of the submucosa, increased number of goblet cells, degeneration and deterioration of the protective function of the ciliary epithelium.


Often, the causes of acute forms of the disease lie in viral or bacterial origin. In addition to the infectious manifestation of the disease, clinicians also distinguish another etiology:

  • physical factors — excessively cold, hot or dry air flow
  • Chemical;
  • allergic.

The etiological factors that trigger the onset of the disease are directly related to the age category of the patients. The above reasons for the progression of the disease develop more rapidly due to several factors that help to reduce the resistance of the organism:

  1. Climate and weather
  2. working conditions;
  3. nicotine;
  4. Alcohol;
  5. infectious disease of the nasopharynx;
  6. change in nasal breathing
  7. disorders in the lungs of heart failure

If a person starts exacerbation of chronic bronchitis, then often this process occurs with a pronounced clinical symptomatology.


Understanding the concept of what acute bronchitis is and how it manifests itself, it is necessary to determine what kinds of ailment there are. Clinicians identified several criteria for determining the types of the disease. By the mechanism of the appearance of the inflammatory process, the following forms are defined:

  • Primary — loss of bronchi without concomitant diseases
  • secondary — later development of a different pathology.

The primary type of disease is diagnosed by doctors quite rarely, often the disease is formed when the infection is complicated.

Based on the level and localization of the effect, physicians identified the following forms:

  1. bronchitis of the lower part of the respiratory tract — tracheobronchitis, bronchiolitis
  2. bronchitis, affecting the bronchus of the middle caliber
  3. Extensive nature
  4. Segmental.

One of the manifestations of bronchitis is sputum, so another criterion of classification is devoted to this particular feature. The disease has a selection of these types:

  • mucous membranes
  • Purulent;
  • catarrhal
  • Mixed.

If we talk about the functional characteristics of the disease, then it can develop in an obstructive and non-obstructive form.

In the ICD 10, doctors gave a more extensive classification of the disease by infectious etiology. Thus, bronchitis in an adult can be provoked by such indicators:

  1. Streptococcus
  2. Coxsackie virus
  3. parainfluenza virus
  4. respiratory syncytial virus
  5. Rhinovirus
  6. other infectious agents
  7. unspecified.


The clinical picture of pathology is manifested in specific signs. If the doctor is properly diagnosed, then it is not difficult for a specialist to diagnose a symptomatology.

Symptoms of acute bronchitis appear in such indicators:

  • dry cough — formed at the onset of the disease, the duration of the symptom is based on various causes
  • A wet cough is characteristic of the second stage. The patient has a specific clear mucus or yellowish-green sputum;
  • fever not more than 38 degrees;
  • weakness, increased sweating, malaise
  • shortness of breath and decreased activity
  • wheezing in the lungs — at the beginning of the development of the disease they are of a dry and coarse type on the basis of hard breathing. During the period of expectoration rales pass into the stage of moist, large or medium vesicles

It is cough that is the main sign of bronchial lesions. If such a symptom is found, doctors are given a checkup so that the etiology of manifestation can be detected.

Acute type of ailment appears quite suddenly, and full symptomatology is formed within 2-3 weeks. Otherwise, the patient may develop a recurrent or chronic illness.

In order to identify a patient with an acute form of bronchiolitis, one must pay attention to such manifestations:

  1. fever for 3 days
  2. respiratory insufficiency occurs in childhood
  3. bloating
  4. auxiliary muscles participate in breathing;
  5. pulling in of compliant chest zones
  6. small bubbling wheeze in inspiration and expiration

Acute obstructive bronchitis in children begins to form on the first day of the development of acute respiratory viral infection, it rarely happens that the disease manifests itself on day 2-3 of the onset of the disease. At the child such signs are aggravated:

  • noisy and wheezing;
  • Anxiety
  • the general condition is satisfactory;
  • temperature in the subfebrile digit range
  • strongly tachypnoea;
  • shortness of breath;
  • auxiliary muscles are involved in inspiration and exhalation


The therapist, pediatrician or pulmonologist during the examination of the patient can establish a provoking factor and an exact ailment. Before starting to decide how to treat acute bronchitis, the patient needs to know the correct diagnosis. For this, the doctor prescribes a general and biochemical analysis of blood and urine. In case of complicated cases, the patient is assigned chest x-ray and spirogram.


For today, bronchitis is one of the common pathologies that can be treated at home or in the hospital. Urgent hospitalization is required by people who have a suspicion of pneumonia.

Treatment of acute bronchitis in children and adults is prescribed by the etiology of the disease. Often the first thing a patient is recommended to take some drugs:

  1. antipyretic
  2. Antivirus;
  3. antibacterial;
  4. dilated bronchus;
  5. Thinning phlegm;
  6. decongestants
  7. Vitamins.

Also, all patients are recommended to drink more warm drinks with raspberries and lemon, you can make herbal teas, use slightly warmed mineral water.

Acute bronchitis with purulent sputum in children or adults requires the use of antibiotics, which are prescribed by the attending physician.

In obstructive form, it is desirable for the patient to use bronchodilators. In time of protracted manifestation of the disease, inhalations are prescribed, which are based on sea and mineral water. Also the patient is recommended physiotherapy procedures, namely electrophoresis.

Since bronchitis often occurs in smokers, the use of nicotine during therapy should be eliminated, or even better, completely eliminate all negative habits from life. The room where the patient lives should be regularly ventilated. With a painful syndrome, warming compresses, mustards, cans, foot baths are made to the patient’s chest.

If acute bronchitis in children and adults has passed without complications and medical treatment has quickly helped, the patient begins clinical recovery. The process of therapy can be delayed for 2-3 weeks. After recovery in the patient, the functions of external respiration and bronchial patency are gradually restored. The protracted form of the disease is treated a little longer. A full recovery in a person comes only after 1-2 months.


If the patient did not ask the question in time, what to treat the pathology and in what time frame, then very soon he may develop such complications:

  • bronchiolitis obliterans
  • bronchopneumonia;
  • asthmatic bronchitis
  • acute respiratory or heart failure

Frequent manifestations of bronchitis gradually transform into a chronic form, which can provoke such consequences — COPD, bronchial asthma, emphysema of the lungs.


Doctors recommend to carry out preventive measures, rather than then to eliminate bronchitis. In this regard, doctors are advised to adhere to such rules:

  1. exclude negative habits
  2. observe the correct mode of the day;
  3. correctly allocate time for work and leisure
  4. balance nutrition;
  5. use vitamins;
  6. Strengthen immunity;
  7. do not succumb to hypothermia
  8. Tempering;
  9. respect the active way of life;
  10. exercise regularly.

Acute bronchitis is not a death sentence, but the disease is treated for a long time and is difficult. Therefore, both adults and children should adhere to the doctor’s recommendations in therapy and prevention of the disease.