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The Troubles of Breathing in Children

Dr. Ashok Kumar

Bronchitis means an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the bronchi and bronchial tube. It is a breathing disorder affecting the respiratory function. Proper diet and avoiding exposure to pollution and other causative agents should be undertaken for treatment.

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the bronchi and bronchial tube. It is a breathing disorder affecting the respiratory function. In most cases , some infection also occurs in the nose and throat.

The bronchi are narrow tubes leading from the windpipe( or trachea) connecting the upper respiratory tract, nose, throat and sinuses, to the lungs. It is usually the spread of an infection downwards from the nose and throat to the bronchi, that causes bronchitis.

Bronchitis is the most common disease of childhood next to indigestion and diarrhoea. Children can catch it from other infected children.

Bronchitis may be acute or chronic. In chronic cases, the disease is of long duration. It is more serious than the acute type, as permanent changes may have occurred in the lungs thereby interfering with their normal movements.

In most cases of bronchitis , the larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes are acutely inflamed. The tissues are swollen due to irritation. Large quantity of mucous is secreted and into the windpipe to protect the inflamed mucous membranes. There is usually a high fever, some difficulty in breathing and a deep chest cough. Other symptoms are hoarseness and pain in the chest. The breathing trouble continues till the inflammation subsides and mucous is removed.

Signs of Acute Bronchitis

  • A dry cough
  • Chills, low-grade fever (less than 101ºF)
  • Sore throat and achy muscles
  • Pressure or a burning feeling in the chest
The consumption of excessive quantities of starchy foods in their daily diet in the form of refined cereals, white bread, puddings, pies and cakes as well as sugary foods in the form of white sugar, jams and sweets, in particular, leads to weakening of the child's system. The impurities which arise in the system as a result of the daily excessive ingestion of foods of this nature invariably affects the mucous membranes of the upper part of the body, especially in the bronchial tubes, throat, nose and air passages. This gives rise to bronchitis and other diseases of lungs and throat. There are 2 kinds of bronchitis:

Acute bronchitis lasts from 3 days to 3 weeks.

Chronic bronchitis can last up to 3 months, and come back over and over for 2 years or more.

Acute Bronchitis
An infection, bacterial or viral in the air can cause acute bronchitis. It is often a complication of cold or flu. Bronchitis attacks the respiratory tract. The mucous membranes in the windpipe and lungs get red and swollen. A child can get bronchitis after a sinus infection, a cold, or other respiratory infection. Coughing is often the first sign of bronchitis. The child may also get chills, a small fever, a sore throat, and muscle aches.

Chronic Bronchitis
The bronchial tubes are the airways to and from the lungs. A child can get chronic bronchitis when the bronchial tubes get irritated or infected over and over again. Tobacco smoke is the most common cause. Don't smoke near your children, and don't let them smoke. This is very important. Sometimes just quitting smoking can cure bronchitis. Allergens and air pollution are also problems. (An allergen is something your child is allergic to.) Boys get chronic bronchitis more than girls. You can't catch chronic bronchitis from someone else.

Signs of Chronic Bronchitis
  • Coughing that brings up mucus or phlegm
  • Shortness of breath when the child over does it. This happens when chronic bronchitis first begins.
  • Shortness of breath when the child is resting. This happens when the child has had chronic bronchitis for a while.

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