Bronchitis

Symptoms

For either acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, signs and symptoms may include:

If you have acute bronchitis, you may have a nagging cough that lingers for several weeks after the inflammation resolves. Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts at least three months, with recurring bouts occurring for at least two consecutive years.

If you have chronic bronchitis, you're likely to have periods when your signs and symptoms worsen. At those times, you may have acute bronchitis on top of your chronic bronchitis.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if your cough:

Causes

Acute 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.

The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking cigarettes. Air pollution and dust or toxic gases in the environment or workplace also can contribute to the condition.

Risk factors

Factors that increase your risk of bronchitis include:

Complications

Although a single episode of bronchitis usually isn't cause for concern, it can lead to pneumonia in some people. Repeated bouts of bronchitis may indicate that you're developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Content was based on American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology