THE ABC'S OF COMMON RESPIRATORY AILMENTS.The approach of late summer brings with it the host of tree and plant pollens that affect the respiratory systems of millions of Americans. Lest these pollen allergies be confused with other respiratory problems, here's a list of the other most common conditions affecting the breathing apparatus--with definitions to help sort them out.
Asthma: Although not usually caused by viruses or bacteria, this very common disorder may be worsened by acute infections. Asthma is a chronic inflammation chronic inflammation
Inflammation that may have a rapid or slow onset but is characterized primarily by its persistence and lack of clear resolution; it occurs when the tissues are unable to overcome the effects of the injuring agent. of the lining of the "bronchial bronchial /bron·chi·al/ (brong´ke-al) pertaining to or affecting one or more bronchi.
Relating to the bronchi, the bronchial tubes, or the bronchioles. tree"--the bronchi bronchi /bron·chi/ (brong´ki) plural of bronchus.
Two main branches of the trachea that go into the lungs. This then further divides into the bronchioles and alveoli. and their smaller branches, the bronchioles--resulting in narrowing of the airways and difficulty in breathing. The characteristic wheezing Wheezing Definition
Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound associated with labored breathing.
Wheezing occurs when a child or adult tries to breathe deeply through air passages that are narrowed or filled with mucus as a of asthma occurs when breathing out. Most common in children, asthma is a serious disease requiring careful medical management.
Bronchitis: Inflammation of the bronchus bronchus: see lungs. (the lower part of the windpipe windpipe: see trachea. ) and/or its right and left branches, the main breathing tube that carries air from the throat into the lungs. Bronchitis is often a complication of the common cold, usually due to secondary infection.
Common cold: More than 200 different viruses cause the common cold, invading the nose and throat. Transmission of a cold virus is more often the result of handling objects contaminated by a person with a cold and then rubbing the eyes or the nose, rather than through direct inhalation direct inhalation,
n the targeting of an aromatherapy treatment to the nose of one patient. of droplets from the sneeze sneeze, involuntary violent expiration of air through the nose and mouth. It results from stimulation of the nervous system in the nose, causing sudden contraction of the muscles of expiration. or cough of an infected person. The best preventive measure for the common cold and other viral respiratory infections is frequent hand washing--with particular emphasis on frequently washing the hands of small children, both to prevent their infection and to reduce their contaminating everything they touch when they have a cold.
Influenza: A number of different viruses can cause this highly infectious respiratory disease that is typically accompanied by chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. The greatest danger of influenza is secondary bacterial infection, often causing death in the elderly or those with impaired respiratory function (e.g., chronic asthma).
Pneumonia: Many different infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc.) can cause this severe lung infection, characterized by coughing chills, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Pneumonia vaccine--which can now fight 23 of the prevalent types of bacteria responsible for the disease--is recommended for all adults over 65, as well as for persons with chronic respiratory problems.