Chronic bronchitis – Signs and management tips

Chronic bronchitis is caused by the long-term inflammation of the airways. This causes excess mucus production. In addition, there is a higher risk of lung infection. Those who have chronic bronchitis are also diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD, or chronic bronchitis, often occurs through periodic flare-ups. A chronic bronchitis flare-up or exacerbation is a sudden worsening of symptoms. These flare-ups are generally preceded by the following signs:

Signs of chronic bronchitis flare-up
The signs of a flare-up can last for two days. In some cases, it lasts for several days. The intensity of the symptoms is usually more severe than usual. A person may have to go to the emergency room if they experience a full-blown exacerbation during a flare-up. Some of the common signs that indicate an incomplete flare-up include the following:

  • Wheezing and noisy breathing sounds
  • Coughing accompanied by more mucus than usual
  • Change in the color of mucus
  • Trouble catching breath
  • Discomfort in the chest
  • Tiredness or fatigue

Some other signs include the following:

  • Unable to take deep breaths
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches after waking up
  • Stomach pain
  • Frequent bouts of anxiousness
  • Swollen ankles and legs
  • Drowsiness
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Pale skin 
  • Changes in nail and lip color
  • Difficulty talking

Tips to manage signs of a chronic bronchitis flare-up
Here are a few tips to manage chronic bronchitis symptoms:

  • One should not panic as soon as they start experiencing the first symptom. This can help prevent further worsening of the symptoms.

  • Oral treatment options given by the doctor for flare-ups must be taken as directed.

  • An effective way to slow down breathing and save energy is to use the technique of pursed lip breathing. This will help to relax as well.

  • If the symptoms do not improve after 48 hours or worsen further, seeking immediate medical care or going to the emergency room is crucial.

Ways to prevent chronic bronchitis flare-up symptoms
Flare-ups generally occur due to infections and other triggers. Therefore, it is important to protect oneself against them. This can be done by following these tips:

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating nutritious food and balanced meals.
  • Practice a regular exercise routine.
  • Follow a strict sleep schedule.
  • Wash one’s hands often to lower the risk of infection.
  • Avoid touching the nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Stay away from crowded and enclosed spaces whenever possible.
  • Avoid products with strong smells emitting harmful fumes, such as household cleaning products, scented candles, perfumes, etc.

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