Bronchitis means that the tubes that carry air to the lungs (the bronchial tubes) are inflamed and irritated. When this happens, the tubes swell and produce mucus. This makes you cough.
There are two types of bronchitis:
Both children and adults can get acute bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis can be caused by:
The most common symptom of acute bronchitis is a cough that is dry and hacking at first. After a few days, the cough may bring up mucus. You may have a low fever and feel tired.
Acute bronchitis symptoms usually start 3 or 4 days after an upper respiratory tract infection. Most people get better in 2 to 3 weeks. But some people continue to have a cough for more than 4 weeks.
Pneumonia can have symptoms like acute bronchitis. Because pneumonia can be serious, it is important to know the differences between the two illnesses. Symptoms of pneumonia can include a high fever, shaking chills, and shortness of breath. Doctors may take a chest X-ray to make sure that you don't have pneumonia or another lung problem.
Most people can treat symptoms of acute bronchitis at home. Treatments include:
Most people don't need antibiotics for acute bronchitis.
Check with your doctor if you have heart or lung disease, such as heart failure, COPD, or asthma, as you may need additional treatments.