Diseases and Conditions

Symptoms of Bronchitis


Acute bronchitis is a widespread respiratory illness. The condition is characterized by infected and inflamed bronchial tubes (the tubes which carry air to the lungs). Acute bronchitis is different from chronic bronchitis in that it lasts for a few weeks as opposed to months or years as is the case with chronic bronchitis. However, acute bronchitis can last for months in rare cases. Acute bronchitis is also caused mostly by viral infections as opposed to respiratory diseases like cystic fibrosis or COPD in the case of chronic bronchitis. Over 90% of all acute bronchitis cases can be linked to a viral infection which means antibiotics aren’t effective in treating the disease. The main purpose of treatment is managing symptoms to ensure the condition doesn’t worsen.

Approximately 14.2 million Americans are diagnosed with bronchitis every year. $3.5 billion is spent to treat the disease every year. Since bronchitis doesn’t respond to many treatments such as antibiotics, and the best treatments focus on managing symptoms, prevention is better than cure. However, you must first familiarize yourself with the symptoms. There are 8 common symptoms.

Dry Cough

This is a common symptom during the onset of bronchitis. The cough usually lasts for 5 days or more. It is a sure sign of bronchitis and warrants immediate medical attention. The cough is a defense mechanism deployed by the body to get rid of foreign substances in the airways. So, persistent coughs are not normal responses. Bronchitis starts in the upper respiratory tract before moving lower.

The disease affects the bronchial tube lining causing irritation and inflammation which eventually results in a cough. The cough can worsen and become very violent to the extent of collapsing the airways. The cough can persist even after a person gets well because it is usually the last symptom to go and can take 2-3 weeks or longer to disappear. The body also needs time to repair the damage caused inside the bronchi lining.