Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways to the lungs, often causing a wet cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, and a mild fever. It can show up in acute and chronic forms. Acute bronchitis commonly develops after a cold, but it often improves in more or less 10 days. Chronic bronchitis is more serious and is most commonly caused by cigarette smoking. Such patients can have wet coughs for three months or longer. Patients can also experience bouts of intensified symptoms, which can create a case of acute bronchitis on top of their chronic condition.
People aged 65 and more have a greater risk of bronchitis complications because of weaker immune systems and underlying health issues. Such age-related risk factors make it more difficult for patients to fight the infection. Chronic cases of bronchitis can then lead to complications from a prolonged cough, causing further damage to the lungs.
Some of the seniors’ most common complications of chronic bronchitis include pneumonia, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The two most common ways to prevent bronchitis in seniors include minimizing exposure to air pollutants (cigarette smoke, dust, fumes, etc.) and avoiding the flu.
Other specific ways to prevent bronchitis in the elderly are the following:
- Minimizing smoking,
- Getting a yearly flu vaccine,
- Wearing face coverings in dusty or fume-filled environments,
- Washing and sanitizing.