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February 20, 2024

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which connect the mouth, nose, and lungs. The inflammation and swelling can cause several symptoms, including a persistent cough, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. People with bronchitis frequently cough up thicker, darker mucus. 

What are the types of bronchitis?

Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic. 

Acute bronchitis: Most cases of acute bronchitis resolve on their own. It frequently arises following a cold or another respiratory infection.

Chronic bronchitis: It is a persistent condition that never fully goes away. It is a more serious illness characterized by persistent irritation or inflammation of the bronchial tube lining, which is typically caused by smoking.

What causes Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is usually caused by a virus. Sometimes, it can also be caused by bacteria or irritants such as smoke or other particles. 

Acute bronchitis is often caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold or flu. It can be contagious during the early stages of the infection. 

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is usually caused by repeated irritation and damage to the lung and airway tissues, most commonly from smoking.

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

Bronchitis symptoms differ depending on whether the disease is acute or chronic. In both situations, the main symptom is a persistent cough that may produce mucus or phlegm. Other symptoms of bronchitis may include:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills

In general, acute bronchitis symptoms are similar to those of a normal cold or flu. The symptoms might linger for a few days to weeks. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, causes symptoms that can endure for months or even years

Who does bronchitis affect?

Bronchitis can affect everyone, but you’re more likely to develop it if:

·      Have COPD, asthma, or other breathing issues.

·      Smoke or be near someone who does.

·      Have chronic acid reflux (GERD).

·      Are near air contaminants (such as smoke or chemicals).

·      Have an autoimmune ailment or another condition that produces inflammation.

How is bronchitis treated?

The treatment for bronchitis depends on the cause and severity of the condition. In most cases, acute bronchitis will resolve on its own within a few weeks. Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms and speeding recovery. This may include:

  • Rest and fluids: Getting plenty of rest. Drinking lots of fluids can help the body fight off the infection and speed recovery.
  • Over-the-counter medication: Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve fever, pain, and discomfort.
  • Humidifier: Using a humidifier can help relieve a dry, hacking cough and soothe irritated airways.
  • Avoiding irritants: Avoiding smoke and other irritants can help reduce symptoms and prevent further irritation of the airways.

In some cases, a doctor may prescribe medication to help relieve symptoms or treat the underlying cause. If it is caused by a bacterial infection, a doctor may recommend antibiotics. If it is severe or persistent, a doctor may also prescribe bronchodilators or corticosteroids to assist open the airways and reduce inflammation.

Prevention of Bronchitis

There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing bronchitis:

  • Get vaccinated: Getting vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia can help reduce your risk of developing bronchitis.
  • Wash your hands regularly: Washing your hands regularly can help prevent the spread of viruses and other germs that can cause bronchitis.
  • Avoid irritants: Avoiding smoke and other irritants can help reduce your risk of developing bronchitis.
  • Practice good respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. Promptly disposing of tissues, can prevent virus and germ transmission.

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