What is Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a condition in which the airways in the lungs, called bronchial tubes, become inflamed and cause coughing, often with mucus. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic.

Key Points

The most common symptom of bronchitis is coughing associated with mucus production.

Other symptoms include:

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, or a low fever.

General Overview

Most people with acute bronchitis recover after a few days or weeks. Viral infections, such as the cold or flu, are usually the cause of acute bronchitis. Occasionally, acute bronchitis can be caused by a bacterial infection.

Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing cough that lasts for several months and comes back two or more years in a row. In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the airways stays constantly inflamed. This causes the lining to swell and produce more mucus, which can make it hard to breathe.

Am I at Risk

  • Close contact with someone who has a cold or acute bronchitis
  • Failure to get age-appropriate immunizations (shots)
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke, fumes, dust and air pollution

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