Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Acute bronchitis often follows a cold or an upper respiratory infection, and usually improves after a few days. Most bronchitis is caused by a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Chronic bronchitis, a constant irritation of the bronchial tubes, often caused by smoking, lasts for three months or more, and might be a sign of a more serious health problem.
Symptoms of bronchitis include:
Most bronchitis gets better by itself in two weeks. Use a humidifier to moisten the air and loosen the mucus. Avoid smoking, and wear a surgical mask if you are exposed to irritants in the air, such as paint fumes, or if you are going out into very cold weather.
Sometimes bronchitis leads to a bacterial infection or pneumonia. See a doctor if:
DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. It is information that is generally available. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.