Acute Bronchitis: Signs and Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Man coughing

If you’ve had a persistent cough, you may have bronchitis. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are the tubes that carry air to and from the lungs. There are two types of bronchitis: acute, which is a short-term, sudden illness, and chronic, which is a long-term, sometimes recurring condition.

In this post, we are focusing on the first type of bronchitis – acute bronchitis, including the common signs and symptoms as well as the treatment options:

Acute Bronchitis: Signs and Symptoms

Acute bronchitis is a common respiratory condition characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • dry or productive cough
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • wheezing

Causes of Acute Bronchitis

Viral infection is the most common cause of acute bronchitis. The most common viruses that can result in acute bronchitis are the same viruses that cause the common cold, such as rhinovirus, coronavirus, and adenovirus. Other viruses that can cause acute bronchitis include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza virus, and influenza virus.

Bacterial infections can also cause acute bronchitis, although this is less common. The most common bacteria that can cause acute bronchitis are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

In some cases, acute bronchitis can be due to irritants in the air that are breathed in, such as smoke, dust, fumes, and other pollutants. This type of bronchitis is known as “irritant-induced” bronchitis.

In rare cases, acute bronchitis can be caused by a fungus. Fungal infections of the airways are most common in those with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or those receiving chemotherapy.

Finally, some people may develop acute bronchitis due to an underlying medical condition, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Treatment for Acute Bronchitis

When it comes to treating acute bronchitis, the goal is to reduce symptoms and prevent complications. This can be done through lifestyle changes, medications, and other treatments.

Lifestyle changes would likely be the first step in treating acute bronchitis. These include avoiding activities that can irritate the airways, such as smoking, avoiding air pollution, and avoiding people with colds or other respiratory infections. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids and getting adequate rest is essential.

Medications are also commonly used to treat acute bronchitis. Over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce symptoms and make breathing easier. Sometimes, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection causes bronchitis.

Inhaled medications are also sometimes used to treat acute bronchitis. These medications are delivered directly to the lungs through a nebulizer or inhaler. These medications can reduce inflammation, open airways, and make breathing easier.

In severe cases of acute bronchitis, other treatments may be necessary. This may include oxygen therapy, which can help improve breathing, or bronchodilators, which can open the airways and make it easier to breathe. Sometimes, a doctor may also recommend surgery to remove a blockage in the airways.

No matter what treatment is used, it is essential to follow the doctor’s instructions and take all medications as prescribed. This will help ensure that the condition is treated correctly and prevent any further complications.


Acute Bronchitis is a common condition typically caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The most common symptoms of Acute Bronchitis are a persistent cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. You must note that the symptoms of Acute Bronchitis may vary depending on the age and overall health of the individual.

If you are experiencing the symptoms above, it is highly recommended that you visit Agile Urgent Care for a diagnosis and treatment plan. With proper treatment, most people with Acute Bronchitis usually fully recover. Agile Urgent Care in New Jersey can provide you with reliable medical services for illnesses that need immediate attention but do not require an ER visit.

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