Common Risk Factors of Bronchitis and How to Reduce the Risk

Bronchitis occurs when the tubes that bring air to your lungs (called the bronchial tubes) become inflamed and swollen. It often develops into a nagging cough that produces a lot of mucus. There is acute bronchitis that often develops following a cold and there is chronic bronchitis that keeps coming back or never goes away at all. Both are serious and lead to further complications for your elderly parent like pneumonia or COPD. While it’s never possible to eliminate all of the risks of developing a serious case of bronchitis, here are some common risk factors as well as ways to reduce the chance of your elderly parent developing bronchitis.

Risk Factors for Developing Bronchitis


Elder Care Theodore, AL: Seniors and Bronchitis

Elder Care Theodore, AL: Seniors and Bronchitis

Smoking puts particulates in your parent’s lungs and irritates them. This can cause chronic bronchitis that won’t go away and can lead to serious long-term lung health consequences like COPD. If your parent is around second-hand smoke, that can also raise his risk of developing bronchitis so if any of his caregivers or elder care providers smoke, they should not smoke in your parent’s presence, 

Asthma and Allergies

Because both of these can make breathing hard on its own and compromise the lungs, people with allergies or asthma are more likely to develop bronchitis. 

A weak immune System

If your parent is battling another disease such as cancer, his immune system might not be strong enough to fight off bronchitis. Even having a cold can put his body at a higher risk. 

Gastric Reflux

If your parent has repeated bouts of severe heartburn, they can irritate his throat and make him more prone to developing bronchitis.

There are measures you and your elder care provider can take to help reduce the risk of your parent developing bronchitis. 

  • Avoid cigarette smoke and other irritants (such as chemical fumes or dust). Even pollution can be a problem so if your parent has other risk factors, it might be best to not go outside on days when there are air pollution alerts. Have your parent wear a mask during high pollution days or stay indoors with a good air filtration system.
  • Get vaccinated. Making sure your parent is up-to-date on his vaccinations is one great way to help him reduce the risk of developing bronchitis (and many other illnesses that can lead to bronchitis or other complications). Make sure your parent gets his flu shot each year, Covid-19 boosters, and perhaps even the pneumonia vaccine. All will help his body to fight off whatever may come its way. 
  • Practice good hand washing. Your parent needs to remember to wash his hands often when in public. Any time he touches objects that are handled by many people (door knobs, handrails, etc.) he should be washing his hands afterward or using some hand sanitizer. This will help reduce the risk of him picking up some germs in areas that other infected people have visited. 

Being careful and following good hygiene habits can make it so your parent can still attend events and enjoy life without risking his health.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care in Theodore, AL, contact Ashbury Manor Specialty Care and Assisted Living at 251-317-3017.

About Cindy Johnson

Ashbury Manor’s Administrator since 2008, Cindy Johnson is a long-time expert in the assisted living field. Prior to her arrival at Ashbury Manor, Cindy managed acquisitions and crisis management for existing and new larger senior care project developments for eleven years. As regional manager for an Oregon-based assisted living management company, Cindy was directly responsible for operations for five 50-65 bed assisted living facilities. As manager during the transition to new ownership, Cindy reorganized internal operations and conducted leadership training for Executive Directors. As a result of her management and expertise, one of the company’s facilities (in Ocala, Florida) received a deficiency-free survey, resulting in the lifting of a moratorium on operation.

A nurse for 36 years, senior care has always been Cindy’s passion. Desiring to work more closely with residents, Cindy became a Category II Administrator in 2005. As Ashbury Manor’s Administrator, Cindy understands the complexities associated with dementia and cognitive impairment and she has fallen in love with seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment and their families.

Cindy is Treasurer of the local “Senior Coalition” chapter. She enjoys mentoring new candidates who want to become administrators.

As a 16-bed facility, with Cindy's training and experience, our residents and their families can be sure Ashbury Manor’s carefully selected staff provides the expertise of a larger facility while maintaining the individualized personal care of a small special needs home.
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