Bronchitis Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

This lesson will introduce you to bronchitis, which is a common respiratory (breathing) illness. You will learn about the causes and symptoms of bronchitis, and will also learn a bit about treatment and prevention.

What is Bronchitis?

You wake up one morning with a little bit of a cough. As the day goes on, the cough gets worse, and starts to bring up mucus (gross!). By the time you go to bed, you have a slight fever, and feel pretty terrible. You definitely won't be going to school tomorrow! Does all of this sound familiar? If so, then you may have had bronchitis.

Bronchitis develops when the tubes that connect your windpipe to your lungs become inflamed, or swollen and irritated.

Air passes in and out of your lungs through the bronchial tubes.

This inflammation causes people to cough, and to have some other unpleasant symptoms. The main symptoms of bronchitis include:

  • A cough that starts out dry, but then brings up clear, white, yellow, or green mucus
  • A slight fever
  • Feeling tired, achy, or generally ill
  • Wheezing, which is a high-pitched sound when you breathe
  • Shortness of breath

If these symptoms last for a few days to a few weeks, it may be due to acute bronchitis, which usually goes away on its own. If the symptoms last for months, then it is probably a case of chronic bronchitis, which can be serious.

What Causes Bronchitis and How Can I Avoid It?

Acute bronchitis is almost always caused by a virus, much like the common cold. In fact, bronchitis symptoms can start toward the end of a cold. Bacterial infections sometimes cause bronchitis symptoms, as well. In extremely rare cases, bronchitis can be caused by a fungal infection. This usually only happens when people have weakened immune systems, meaning they have a hard time fighting off illnesses.

Whatever the cause, acute bronchitis can be prevented by good hand washing and not touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Chronic bronchitis can be caused by anything that irritates the lungs, but is usually caused by smoking.

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