What is the prognosis of Acute Bronchitis

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 14, 2012

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Quick Bites

  • Acute bronchitis usually goes away within 7 to 10 days.
  • Unless you do not develop a secondary infection.
  • A dry, hacking cough may linger for several months.
  • Chronic cough and breathlessness are its symptoms.

Bronchitis is characterized by coughing and shortness of breath when your bronchial tubes that deliver air to your lungs get inflamed and mucus builds up in them. A viral chest infection can give you acute bronchitis.

Apart from the viral upper respiratory infection, common cold and influenza can also lead to acute bronchitis. Rarely, it can also be caused by the bacterium (Bordetella pertussis) responsible for causing whooping cough.

Acute bronchitis lasts for less than 10 days but the cough may continue for several weeks after the inflammation is cleared.

Prognosis of Acute Bronchitis

Symptoms of acute bronchitis usually go away within 7 to 10 days in cases when you do not develop a secondary infection like a lung disorder.  A dry, hacking cough may linger for several months though.

Prognosis of Acute Bronchitis

Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis

Common symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • chronic cough, which may continue beyond 10 days and contain clear or colored mucus
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • low-grade fever (a high fever may be an indication of a secondary infection such as pneumonia)
  • chest pain
  • chest tightness
  • sore throat from persistent coughing

Children with acute bronchitis may experience:

  • runny nose
  • chills
  • back or muscle pain
  • sore throat
  • If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor:


  • unexplained weight loss
  • deep, barking cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain
  • a fever of 100.4º F or higher
  • a cough that last more than 10 days


When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your doctor if:You have a cough on most days, or you have a cough that often returns

  • You are coughing up blood
  • You have a high fever or shaking chills
  • You have a low-grade fever for 3 or more days
  • You have thick, greenish mucus, especially if it has a bad smell
  • You feel short of breath or have chest pain
  • You have a chronic illness, like heart or lung disease


Diagnosing Acute Bronchitis

In many cases, acute bronchitis will go away on its own. There is usually no need for blood tests, X-rays, or cultures. However, if your physician is uncertain about your diagnosis, he may suggest additional testing. Tests might also be needed if your doctor thinks you have a secondary infection.

At times, it may be hard to know whether you have pneumonia or only bronchitis. If you have pneumonia, you are more likely to have a high fever and chills, feel sicker, or feel short of breath.

Read more articles on Acute Bronchitis



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