is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to
and from your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus,
which can be discolored. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.
developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is very
common. Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, is a constant irritation
or inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, often due to smoking.
bronchitis, also called a chest cold, usually improves within a week to 10 days
without lasting effects, although the cough may linger for weeks.
if you have repeated bouts of bronchitis, you may have chronic bronchitis,
which requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions
included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:
Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white,
yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be streaked with blood
Shortness of breath
Slight fever and chills
have acute bronchitis, you might have cold symptoms, such as a mild headache or
body aches. While these symptoms usually improve in about a week, you may have
a nagging cough that lingers for several weeks.
bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts at least three months,
with recurring bouts occurring for at least two consecutive years.
have chronic bronchitis, you're likely to have periods when your cough or other
symptoms worsen. At those times, you may have an acute infection on top of
see a doctor
doctor if your cough:
Lasts more than three weeks
Prevents you from sleeping
Is accompanied by fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C)
Produces discolored mucus
Is associated with wheezing or shortness of breath
bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, typically the same viruses that cause
colds and flu (influenza). Antibiotics don't kill viruses, so this type of
medication isn't useful in most cases of bronchitis.
common cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking. Air pollution and dust
or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the
that increase your risk of bronchitis include:
Cigarette smoke. People who smoke or who live with a smoker are at higher
risk of both acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
· Low resistance. This may result from another acute illness, such as a
cold, or from a chronic condition that compromises your immune system. Older
adults, infants and young children have greater vulnerability to infection.
· Exposure to irritants on the job. Your risk of
developing bronchitis is greater if you work around certain lung irritants,
such as grains or textiles, or are exposed to chemical fumes.
· Gastric reflux. Repeated bouts of severe heartburn can irritate your
throat and make you more prone to developing bronchitis.
a single episode of bronchitis usually isn't cause for concern, it can lead to
pneumonia in some people. Repeated bouts of bronchitis, however, may mean that
you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
your risk of bronchitis, follow these tips:
· Avoid cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke increases your
risk of chronic bronchitis.
· Get vaccinated. Many cases of acute bronchitis result from influenza, a
virus. Getting a yearly flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu.
You may also want to consider vaccination that protects against some types of
Wash your hands. To reduce your risk of catching a viral infection, wash
your hands frequently and get in the habit of using alcohol-based hand
· Wear a surgical mask. If you have COPD, you might
consider wearing a face mask at work if you're exposed to dust or fumes, and
when you're going to be among crowds, such as while traveling.