What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is often caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold. Chronic bronchitis is usually caused by repeated exposure to irritating gases or polluted air. Chronic bronchitis is more serious and can result in more severe health problems.

Symptoms of Bronchitis

The most common symptom of bronchitis is a cough that usually produces mucus. Other symptoms of bronchitis may include a sore throat, chest pain, shortness of breath, a low fever, and fatigue.

Treatments for Bronchitis

Bronchitis treatments depend on whether the bronchitis is acute or chronic. Generally, the goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and prevent complications.

  • Acute Bronchitis: Treatment for acute bronchitis typically includes rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms such as fever, sore throat, or aches and pains.
  • Chronic Bronchitis: People with chronic bronchitis may need long-term treatment with inhalers and other medications to open their airways, as well as prevent further damage.
  • Smoking Cessation: People, who have chronic bronchitis and smoke, may need to quit smoking in order to reduce their risk for further complications.