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Infectious (acute) Bronchitis is a chest infection causing inflammation and excess mucus in the bronchi of the lungs.


The bronchi are the airways connecting the windpipe to the lungs. The condition affects people of any age but is most common during winter, particular during an outbreak of influenza. Certain people may be predisposed to bronchitis such as those with asthma, chronic lung conditions or smokers. Irritants and chemical pollutants can also trigger an attack.


Bronchitis that occurs over the long term (more than three months) or is recurring (two years in a row) is known as chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis differs from acute bronchitis in that there is more mucus produced in the bronchial lining rather than an inflammation of the airways. It is most often diagnosed in smokers and if left untreated it can lead to emphysema and long term breathing difficulties.      



Symptoms are usually mild and do not require intensive treatment, however if left untreated, the condition can become worse and develop into pneumonia. The onset of illness usually starts off as a cold, then a cough and a fever if severe. Other symptoms may include:  

  • a sore throat,  
  • runny noise,  
  • audible ‘rattling’ sound when breathing, and  
  • muscular aches and pains.  



The majority of bronchitis cases are caused by virus infections which can be treated with antibiotics. Treatment generally requires bed rest, plenty of fluids and the use of pain killers to relieve any pain or fever. Cigarette smoking should also be stopped if this is applicable. Keep the body warm, particularly around the chest area, and sleep propped up rather than lying flat.      



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.   Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.      



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