Your bronchial tubes, which carry air to your lungs, can get infected and swollen. This is called bronchitis. When you’ve got it, you probably have a bad cough, lots of mucus, and maybe some general cold symptoms like body aches or chills.
In some cases, you might get medicine from your doctor. But more often you’ll just have to ride it out. As you do that, some good old-fashioned self-care can help you feel better.
Most often, the same viruses that give you a cold or the flu also cause bronchitis. Sometimes, though, bacteria are to blame.
In both cases, as your body fights off the germs, your bronchial tubes swell and make more mucus. That means you have smaller openings for air to flow, which can make it harder to breathe.
If any of these things describe your situation, you have a bigger chance of getting bronchitis:
You have a weaker immune system. This is sometimes the case for older adults and people with ongoing diseases, as well as for babies and young children. Even a cold can make it more likely since your body’s already busy fighting off those germs.
You smoke or live with a smoker.
You have heartburn (also called gastric reflux or GERD), which can cause stomach acids to get into your bronchial tubes.
You work around substances that bother your lungs, such as chemical fumes or dust. (Examples: coal mining, working around farm animals).
What Are the Symptoms?
You may have various problems with breathing, such as:
Chest congestion, where your chest feels full or clogged
A cough that may bring up a lot of mucus that’s clear, white, yellow, or green