Bronchitis is a common disease among children that occurs in the acute or chronic form because of the inflammatory process in the respiratory system. It is accompanied by a cough and other symptoms. Patients should consult a doctor immediately to avoid complications. This paper aims to discuss the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
What is Bronchitis?
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Bronchitis is the inflammation of bronchial mucosa walls, which are a branched network of tubes of different diameters that carry the inhaled air to the lungs. Bronchitis disturbs the circulation of air in the lungs, causing edema and large bronchi mucus separation. According to the international classification of diseases, this disease has two forms, such as acute and chronic (Tackett & Atkins, 2012). The first one is an acute inflammation of the mucosa of the tracheobronchial tree characterized by an increase in the volume of bronchial secretion accompanied with coughing and sputum (Florin, Shaw, Kittick, Yakscoe, & Zorc, 2014). The second form, chronic bronchitis, is a progressive diffuse lesion of the bronchial tree restructuring the apparatus of the secretory mucosa. It is accompanied by the development of the inflammatory process, mucus hypersecretion, and the impairment of the cleansing and protective functions of the bronchi (File, 2015). Children may have different symptoms in accordance with the form of the disease.
During the first days of acute viral bronchitis (during flu), children experience a dry and haunting cough. In the following days, it turns wet and white-greenish, indicating the accession of a bacterial infection. In most cases, wet cough brings relief because it is not as agonizing as dry. Released during expectoration, being unpainted or having a white color, mucus is not a sign of a bacterial infection. Admittedly, wet cough is a protective function of the body because it purifies the airways and removes the liquid. It may last for a couple of weeks or more. If a cough does not pass for three weeks, there is a high risk of transition it to a chronic form of bronchitis. The next symptom of acute bronchitis is a slight rise in the body temperature, headache, and weakness. However, in severe forms, the body temperature can reach 40 C (Tackett & Atkins, 2012). Oftentimes, acute bronchitis can lead to such complications as pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and other respiratory diseases.
Chronic bronchitis is observed when a child has a cough that lasts for more than three months in a year (Florin et al., 2014). Thus, its main symptom is a chronic cough. However, the body temperature does not rise very much and may be completely normal. Chronic bronchitis can be manifested in the periods of remissions and exacerbation. Usually, it occurs during cold seasons and can be accompanied by acute respiratory infections and hypothermia.
Causes of Bronchitis
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The causes of bronchitis may be viruses that cause lead to respiratory infections or colds. However, the main feature is the possibility of an adjoining secondary bacterial infection. In some cases, bronchitis may be caused by toxic gases, dust, and hydrochloric acid. Some studies report that people may have a genetic predisposition to this disease (Tackett & Atkins, 2012). Other causes may include constant humidity, frequent changes in weather conditions, fog, and others.
Diagnosis of Bronchitis
As a rule, the diagnosis of bronchitis is not difficult to make and is based on the history and clinical symptoms. However, in some cases, test results are necessary. The specialist usually listens to the childs bronchi and lungs with a stethoscope. Sometimes, he or she may assign X-rays with the aim to exclude pneumonia. Furthermore, the diagnosis is based on the clinical picture, including symptoms analysis, life history, and others. An X-ray examination aims to exclude lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, and other diseases that have symptoms similar to the ones of chronic bronchitis.
According to the research, functional diagnostics methods, such as the estimation of the volume of lungs and bronchus, help determine the degree of a decline in the lung function (Florin et al., 2014). Sometimes, setting a diagnosis requires bronchoscopy and the use of other methods such as laboratory research.
Treatment of Bronchitis
Treatment may include good ventilation of the room, bed rest, plenty of warm drinks, inhalations, and expectorants (Tackett & Atkins, 2012). The therapy of chronic bronchitis should be directed at the elimination of the inflammatory process, improvement in bronchial obstruction, and the impaired recovery of general and local immunologic reactivity. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics that are sufficient to inhibit the activity of the infection. They are selected in accordance with the sensitivity of sputum microflora and may be taken orally, parenterally or combined.
To treat children from bronchitis, doctors often use drugs that stimulate expectoration (File, 2015). The effect of such medications is usually short-lived, and the patient needs frequent doses every 2-4 hours. Expectorants are used in the period of exacerbation and in remission. These medicines increase bronchial secretion, facilitating expectoration. There are other untraditional forms of treatment, such as Ayurvedic medicine.
Children may often develop bronchitis, and parents should know its symptoms. Bronchitis is a disease of the respiratory system in which the inflammatory process involves the bronchi. It may occur in children due to various reasons but it always has similar symptoms and treatment. Parents and caregivers should be well aware of certain risks that can lead to bronchitis. In case of the disease, doctors have reliable methods of treatment that can result in rapid recovery.