Symptoms of Allergic Bronchitis

By Lesley Barker

  • Overview

    When bronchitis is triggered by an allergic reaction instead of by a cold or the flu, it is called allergic bronchitis. Like common bronchitis, allergic bronchitis is accompanied by a cough that produces green or yellow mucus. It may also involve a slight fever, chills and a sore chest or throat.
  • Identification

    To understand what is happening when a person gets bronchitis, you have to know the parts of the respiratory system. When you breathe air in, it travels to the lungs through the trachea. This is commonly called the windpipe and starts in the back of the throat. Once the air gets to the lungs, it moves through smaller tubes that are arranged like branches. These tubes are called bronchi. They connect to smaller passages, the bronchioles, which end in balloon-like alveoli. When a person has bronchitis, the bronchi are irritated and inflamed.
  • features

    Allergic bronchitis starts when the person breathes in something to which they are allergic. This can be a simple pollen, secondhand smoke or a toxic fume from a chemical. The allergy causes the bronchi to become irritated and inflamed. This causes the kind of cough that brings up yellow or green mucus.


  • Causes

    The most common causes of allergic bronchitis are commonly found in people's homes. Besides pollen, many people find that their allergic bronchitis is triggered when they breathe in debris left by cockroaches, mold spores, animal dander, dust or dust mites.
  • Warning

    Exposure to toxins at work can also cause another form of allergic bronchitis known as occupational bronchitis. Grain mills and textile mills often produce tiny fibers and particles which irritate the lungs. Fumes caused by ammonia, chlorine, acids, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and bromine can also trigger occupational bronchitis. The main symptom of this kind of bronchitis is a dry cough that does not bring up mucus.
  • Prevention/Solution

    Besides using over-the-counter medications to ease your cough or address any fever, you should consult your doctor whenever you cough up blood, have trouble breathing or if you have a fever that lasts more than three days or that is higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides helping you to identify which allergens are causing your bronchitis symptoms, your doctor may want to rule out asthma, emphysema, pneumonia or tuberculosis. Sometimes bronchitis is accompanied by a secondary infection for which you may need to take an antibiotic.
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