What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.

Often developing from a cold or other respiratory infection, acute bronchitis is very common. Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, is a constant irritation or inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, often due to smoking.

Acute bronchitis usually improves within a few days without lasting effects, although you may continue to cough for weeks. However, if you have repeated bouts of bronchitis, you may have chronic bronchitis, which requires medical attention. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Treatment for bronchitis focuses on relieving your symptoms and easing your breathing.


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

2)Production of mucus (sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color
4)Slight fever and chills
5)Chest discomfort

If you have acute bronchitis, you may have a nagging cough that lingers for several weeks after the bronchitis resolves. Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts at least three months for two consecutive years. If you have chronic bronchitis, you are likely to have periods when your signs and symptoms worsen. At those times, you may have acute bronchitis on top of your chronic bronchitis. In some cases, the cough may disappear only to reappear later.


Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses, typically the same viruses that cause colds and influenza. Antibiotics do not kill viruses, so this type of medication is not 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.

Western Medicine Treatment

The goal of treatment for bronchitis is to relieve symptoms and ease breathing. In most cases, acute bronchitis requires only self-care treatments such as:

1)Getting more rest
20Taking over-the-counter pain medications
3)Drinking fluids
4)Breathing in warm, moist air


In some circumstances, your doctor may prescribe medications, including:

1)Antibiotics. Bronchitis usually results from a viral infection, so antibiotics are not effective. However, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if he or she suspects that you have a bacterial infection. If you have a chronic lung disorder or if you smoke, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to reduce your risk of a serious, secondary infection.

2)Cough medicine. It is best not to suppress a cough that brings up mucus, because coughing helps remove irritants from your lungs and air passages. Over-the-counter cough medicine may help if your cough keeps you from sleeping.

3)Other medications. If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may recommend an inhaler and other medications to reduce inflammation and open narrowed passages in your lungs.


If you have chronic bronchitis, you may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation -- a breathing exercise program in which a respiratory therapist teaches you how to breathe more easily and increase your ability to exercise.

Adopted from mayclinic.com