Symptoms of a bronchial infection include cough, production of mucus, fatigue, shortness of breath and fever, states Mayo Clinic. Coughing may continue for several weeks after bronchial inflammation subsides in cases of acute bronchial infection. When a person has chronic bronchitis, coughing with mucus production persists for years.
Bronchial infections are most frequently caused by viruses such as influenza, parainfluenza, rhinovirus and adenovirus, although symptoms are frequently too mild for the specific viral agent to be identified, explains MedicineNet. Bacteria such as mycoplasma and streptococcus are also responsible for some bronchial infections. Tobacco smoke and chemical pollutants can irritate bronchial tissues and cause acute bronchial infections as well as increase the risk of infection from other biological causes.
Bronchial infections caused by smoking or other environmental agents are not contagious, unlike those caused by viruses or bacteria, which typically spread through close physical contact and through objects handled by an infected person, reports MedicineNet. People with bronchial infections generally become less contagious as symptoms decrease over time. The risks of developing a bronchial infection are highest during winter months.
Primary treatment of bronchial infections generally involves getting bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking medication to reduce coughing, according to MedicineNet. Antibiotics are usually not prescribed unless bacterial causes are diagnosed or suspected. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or acetaminophen can help reduce discomfort.