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.
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.
Common symptoms of acute bronchitis include:
Children with acute bronchitis may experience:
Call your doctor if:You have a cough on most days, or you have a cough that often returns
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.
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