Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Could the air at my workplace have caused my bronchitis?"
The air where I work is very dry and dusty and I'm sure it isn't good to breathe in but I have to be there 8 hours a day no matter what. Now I have bronchitis and I think it is from the air at work. Am I right? Is that a possible cause?
Bronchitis is a very common lung condition in which the large tubes that conduct air in the upper parts of the lungs become infected and inflamed, either due to a virus or a bacteria. Symptoms include tightness in the chest and cough. Most of the time, bronchitis will clear up with antibiotics, if you are advised to take them by your primary care doctor. Since bronchitis is caused by an infection in the lungs, it is unlikely that the air at your workplace would have directly caused the infection. However, we do know that breathing contaminants from the air into the lungs is a risk factor for a number of lung conditions, including asthma and frequent lung infections. In part this is because the particles in the contaminated air stimulate swelling in the lungs and also inhibit some of the lungs natural defense mechanisms. So it is possible that there is an association between your exposure to dirty air and your current case of bronchitis. I would suggest that you get in to see your primary care doctor about this issue. They will be able to examine you for other signs of illness related to dusty exposure, such as nasal allergies or asthma and help you develop a plan for keeping healthy.
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