Acute Bronchitis: Know Facts, Symptoms and Treatment


Bronchitis is the sudden inflammation in bronchial tubes – that deliver air from your windpipe into your lungs. Bronchitis can be of two types – acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is commonly known as bronchitis usually lasts for around 10 days, but the coughing may continue even after that. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is a more serious, life-long condition.

Some Key Facts About Acute Bronchitis

  • It is a temporary problem and the breathing problem caused by it is not permanent.
  • The infection caused by it usually lasts for not more than 10 days.
  • You don’t need any medical treatment as Bronchitis usually gets better on its own.
  • Young children and elderly people, especially with major health conditions are at major risk

What Causes Acute Bronchitis?

A contagious virus that causes cold or flu can cause acute bronchitis. Someone who is in close contact with people having acute bronchitis or cold are more vulnerable to developing bronchitis. Also, you can develop bronchitis if you are exposed to lung irritants like tobacco smoke, fumes, dust, and air pollution.

Symptoms of Bronchitis?

  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Chest congestion
  • Low-grade fever
  • Wheezing
  • A cough that may produce yellow or green mucus (sputum)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired

How Is Acute Bronchitis Diagnosed?

Initially, symptoms of acute bronchitis are similar to that of a common cold. General physician can confirm it by asking patients questions about symptoms and doing a physical examination. Sometimes, the doctor may order a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia.

How To Prevent It?

The simplest way to avoid acute bronchitis is to avoid germs and this can be done simply by washing hands with soap. Use masks when using lung irritants like paint remover, paint, and varnish. It is also advisable to get a flu shot every year. Those who are above 60 years should consult doctors to get a pneumonia shot.


Most of the time bronchitis is caused by virus infection and it needs to run its course. It usually gets better on its own with time. Treatment options your doctor may suggest are:

  • Plenty of rest
  • Drinking fluids and lots of water to help loosen chest congestion
  • A cough suppressant and/or pain reliever
  • A humidifier or steam
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