What is Acute Bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is an uncomfortable condition associated with a repetitive and painful sounding cough. Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes. This inflammation can be brought on by a cold or flu virus, among other things.

Bacterial infections are another common cause for bronchitis. Bronchitis is often connected to sinus infections for two reasons: 1) the cells in the lungs and in the sinuses look and act identically, and 2) drainage from the sinuses can get into the lower airway, spreading infection and triggering inflammation.

Acute bronchitis can last for just a few days, but up to 10 days after onset. Individuals with asthma, who may get bronchitis much more frequently than the general public, may end up having to be put on a steroid treatment to get the coughing and irritation under control.

Because bronchitis is generally caused by either bacteria or viruses, prevention for bronchitis is the same as preventing infection. Washing hands frequently is important. Wearing a mask is a more restrictive but effective measure for those who have greater health concerns. For those who smoke, quitting is imperative. Smoking can cause frequent bouts of bronchitis.

Another important means of preventing bronchitis, especially for those who have a history of bronchitis, is to get a flu shot every year. It is most effective if the shot is received earlier in the flu season. For those who are particularly vulnerable, consult a physician about getting a pneumonia shot as well.

2 thoughts on “What is Acute Bronchitis?”

  • heather

    can anyone please guide I was looking for help, and have stumbled here today
    I’ve been diagnosed with both asthma and chronic bronchitis at different times in the past. Recently (past 6 months) my normal OTC hasnt been preventing symptoms well. Most of the day every day I have coughing fits and constantly feel like I need to clear my throat. This has always been solved by taking a 24 hour allergy tab (allegra) and using my albuterol inhaler if the preventative allergy med fails me. This is not bringing any relief. Not serious enough symptoms to worry about an acute asthma attack with high risk but sick of constantly coughing and feeling like my throat needs clearing. Any recommendations on additional/alternative preventative measures or other diagnoses that may have been previously missed that would cause these symptoms are appreciated. Even if it’s a EverydayHealth.com information, I would appreciate any thoughts that may steer me in the direction of relief. No other chronic conditions No drug/alcohol use No current tobacco use Former smoker/Last smoked 10 years ago.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman August 23, 2018 at 4:49 am

      I recommend that you speak with your doctor about your systems. We do not have a doctor on staff and are unable to provide medical advice.


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