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Bronchitis is when the tubes that carry air to the lungs (the bronchial tubes) become inflamed and irritated. When this happens, the tubes swell and produce mucus, and this causes a cough. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.


Acute bronchitis often develops from a cold or other respiratory infection and is usually caused by a virus. Some people get acute bronchitis after having an upper respiratory tract infection such as a cold. Acute bronchitis can also be caused by bacteria, in rare cases.

Chronic bronchitis, is a more serious condition and is a constant irritation or inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, often due to smoking. Chronic bronchitis keeps coming back and can last a long time.


Common symptoms of acute bronchitis include;

  • Dry cough that may bring up mucus
  • Low fever
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Slight fever and chills
  • Chest discomfort


  • Acute bronchitis can be treated with an over-the-counter cough medicine with an expectorant. Cough medicine should be used if a doctor prescribes it.
  • Drink lots of fluids as this helps prevent dehydration and thins the mucus in the lungs.
  • Treat headaches, fever, and aches and pains with paracetamol or ibuprofen (but ibuprofen is not recommended if you have asthma).

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