An inflammation of the airways entering your lungs is referred to as bronchitis. You cough because your airways (trachea and bronchi) enlarge and fill with mucus when they become inflamed. Your cough may linger for a few days to a few weeks. It’s bronchitis’ primary symptom.
The most frequent cause of acute bronchitis is viruses. Acute and chronic bronchitis can be brought on by smoke and other irritants. When individuals refer to bronchitis, they typically mean acute bronchitis, a transient illness that causes coughing. Some people experience bronchitis so frequently that it is regarded as chronic.
Acute bronchitis: A viral infection is typically the cause of acute bronchitis, which resolves on its own in a few weeks. Most patients with acute bronchitis don’t require medical attention.
Chronic bronchitis: If you cough up mucus on a regular basis for three months out of the year, you likely have chronic bronchitis. For at least two years, this continues. You might have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) if you have recurrent bronchitis.
The primary indication that you have bronchitis is a persistent cough that lasts one to three weeks. When you cough when you have bronchitis, you often cough up mucus, but sometimes you cough up dry mucous. When you breathe (wheeze), you might also hear a whistling or rattling sound
- Dyspnea or shortness of breath
- A stuffy nose
- Fatigue or feeling tired
You almost always get bronchitis from a virus. However, nearly anything that irritates your airways can cause it. Infectious and noninfectious causes of bronchitis include:
- Viruses that cause bronchitis include influenza (the flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus, rhinovirus (the common cold) and coronavirus.
- Bacteria that cause bronchitis include Bordet Ella pertussis, Mycoplasma pneumonia and Chlamydia pneumonia.
- Smoking cigarettes or marijuana (cannabis).
The best way to reduce your risk of bronchitis is to avoid getting sick from viruses and other causes of lung irritation. Specific ways to reduce your risk include:
- Try to avoid being around other people if you or they may be sick. This is especially true in the winter months when people gather indoors.
- Avoid smoke and other irritants.
- If you have asthma or allergies, avoid any triggers (including pets, dust and pollen).
- Run a humidifier. Moist air is less likely to irritate your lungs.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If you’re not able to use soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.
- Make sure you are up-to-date on flu and pneumonia vaccines.