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Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes which carry air to and from your lungs. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.
- .Acute bronchitis is a common condition and often develops following a cold or other respiratory infection.
- Chronic bronchitis usually improves within a few days without lasting effects, although you may continue to cough for weeks. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- If you have repeated bouts of bronchitis you should look for causes other than a respiratory infection. Often patients who have asthma have frequent episodes of acute bronchitis, finding out if you are an allergic individual and receiving treatment for allergy could help reduce frequency of bronchitis.
Symptoms of acute or chronic bronchitis can include any of the following:
- Shortness of breath, often made worse with exertion
- Slight fever and chills
- Chest discomfort
- Production of mucus (not always)
If you have chronic bronchitis, long-term inflammation can lead to scarring of the bronchial tubes, producing excessive mucus. Over time, the lining of the bronchial tubes thicken and your airways eventually may become scarred.
Signs and symptoms of chronic bronchitis:
- Cough that is worse in the mornings and in damp weather
- Frequent respiratory infections (such as colds or flu) with a worsening productive cough
Treatment for acute or chronic bronchitis requires the correct medical diagnosis.