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Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the tubes that carry air into your lungs. (Read about "Respiratory System") As the tubes swell, they can also fill with mucus. As a result, you may experience:
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says acute bronchitis is almost always caused by viral infection. The viruses can be the same ones that cause colds. (Read about "The Common Cold") AAFP says that smokers have a higher risk, because their bronchial tubes are already damaged. (Read about "Quit Smoking") Infants, young children and older people are also more at risk. Acute bronchitis is also more common in winter. Acute bronchitis is not the same as chronic bronchitis, which is a more serious lung disease. (Read about "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease")
According to AAFP, most cases of acute bronchitis will go away on their own in about a week. During this time, you may want to:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say antibiotic treatment (Read about "Antibiotics") is not indicated for acute bronchitis, because the vast majority of cases are non-bacterial. In some cases, medications used to treat asthma (Read about "Asthma") may be appropriate. These inhaled medications can help open the bronchial tubes and clear out mucus. If the symptoms persist, if other symptoms such as fever are present or if your symptoms seem to be getting worse, see your doctor, who may want to evaluate you for more serious problems such as pneumonia. (Read about "Pneumonia")
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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