Bronchitis

Alternative Names

Inflammation – bronchi; Acute bronchitis

Definition of Bronchitis

Bronchitis is inflammation of the main air passages to the lungs. Bronchitis may be short-lived (acute) or chronic, meaning that it lasts a long time and often recurs.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Acute bronchitis generally follows a viral respiratory infection. At first, it affects your nose, sinuses, and throat and then spreads to the lungs. Sometimes, you may get another (secondary) bacterial infection in the airways.This means that bacteria infect the airways, in addition to the virus.

Symptoms

The symptoms of either type of bronchitis may include:

Signs and tests

The health care provider will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. Abnormal sounds in the lungs called rales or other abnormal breathing sounds may be heard.

Treatment

You DO NOT need antibiotics for acute bronchitis caused by a virus. The infection will generally go away on its own within 1 week. Take the following steps for some relief:

Expectations (prognosis)

For acute bronchitis, symptoms usually go away within 7 to 10 days if you do not have an underlying lung disorder. However, a dry, hacking cough can linger for a number of months.

Review

Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, UMDNJ-NJMS, Attending Physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/27/2010

Lungs
Bronchitis
Lung anatomy
Bronchitis and Normal Condition in Tertiary Bronchus
Cause of Acute Bronchitis
Cause of Chronic Bronchitis
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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