What Is Acute Bronchitis?

Did you know? There are technically two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is much more common and contagious, while chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD and is much more common among those who smoke.

It’s possible to develop both types of respiratory illness, but acute bronchitis is the one you should be on the lookout for as flu season begins to approach and the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Our AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte team further elaborates on acute bronchitis below, so keep reading!

What Exactly Is Acute Bronchitis?

Acute bronchitis is a contagious viral infection that causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that carry air into your lungs. When these tubes get infected, they swell and thick mucus forms inside them. This narrows the airways, making it harder for you to breathe.

Additionally, acute bronchitis lasts only a short time. Most cases get better in several days, though the cough can last for several weeks. We’ve listed the common symptoms of acute bronchitis below.

Acute Bronchitis Symptoms

  • Chest congestion or tightness
  • Cough that brings up clear, yellow or green mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches

What Are the Causes of Acute Bronchitis?

Most often, acute bronchitis is caused by a contagious virus, and usually the same ones that cause the common cold, influenza or COVID-19. When the virus is first introduced to your body, it affects the nose, sinuses and throat. Then, the infection travels to the lining of the bronchial tubes. As your body fights the virus, swelling occurs and mucus is produced.

Since most acute bronchitis cases are caused by viruses, this means antibiotics won’t help and the virus will need to run its course. It will almost always go away on its own, and luckily, there are things you can do at home to ease the symptoms.

Home Remedies

  • Drink fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and lower your fever. These could include acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to a child. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, which can affect the liver and brain.
  • Increase the humidity in your home or use a humidifier.

Dealing with a bout of acute bronchitis? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte team today if you have any questions or need additional medical care.